Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wait, I just thought of two more

After a little more thought, I’ve just come up with two more books that I want to write.

1) A History of Cheating. There are so many ways to cheat in football. Players can break the rules, players can simulate. Referees can be bought and matches can be thrown, either by teams themselves (see Italy’s recent calciopoli scandal, or the Marseille scandal of 1993) or by gambling syndicates (see innumerable scandals in China, Russia, Finland, etc.). In Africa, massive disputed have arisen over the unfair advantages brought by juju techniques, such as the burial of certain items beneath the pitch. How much of the game’s history is “real”, in the sense that it reflected the results of two teams playing on even terms, and how much has been the result of pre-arranged chicanery. Are there moral differences between different types of cheating? If, as is alleged, Juve players did not know that referees were being bought on their behalf, does that make them innocent of cheating? This book would examine all of these questions.

2) Religion and Football. Forget the clichés about football being a religion and stadia being churches; there is a serious story to tell about how religion has influenced the development of the sport around the world. In Europe and Latin America, the church’s views on the relationship between the body and the spirit had a serious influence on the development of the game. The Muslim world has had massively different reactions to football, ranging from the ecstatic to the horrified. The Buddhist world, never really one for team sports, has yet to produce a decent football squad: why? Hinduism seems to have little against football, yet the subcontinent has embraced another eleven-player game instead. The African animist sensibility (which also exists among descendents of African slaves in Brazil) has brought a whole unique culture of superstition and luck to the game – though the role of prayer and its modern equivalent of sports psychology has a long history in more developed countries, too. In a game where the outcome so often smacks of luck, the favour of a deity can in theory make all the difference; this book would show how varieties of religious belief around the world has contributed to the variation in football culture around the world.

Come on, book editors! Give me advances, dammit!


Blogger Richard Whittall said...

ARGGH! You stole a post idea on that religion...I've always been fascinated with the idea of 'muscular Christianity', and I'm really curious if there are any Premier League Scientologists. Also, it seems like a huge buzzkill when the entire Brazil squad goes the route of the Jesus shirt after the WC win.

12:25 PM  
Blogger ursus arctos said...

Geez, you wait for ages for a post and then two come along at once . . .

They are all good ideas (though I have my doubts about the contention that there is a single "Latin" school of football).

So get to it, son.

8:03 AM  
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Football worldcup counter

Thanks for sharing such a nice blog...

9:35 AM  
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7:43 AM  

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