Football is often described as 'the beautiful game.' I must admit the aesthetics have escaped me thus far and I find it an incredibly boring game. (Heap coals of fire on my head if you must!)
I object to it being called England's national sport. Cricket definitely comes into that category and I would wish rugby to be placed far above football. The refereeing of football is appallingly badly received by players, management and crowd. In fact, I'm surprised that anyone volunteers to become a referee, for the way they are treated is quite dreadful. In any other sport a player being disciplined would be more stringently punished for arguing with the referee but in football the players seem free to intimidate the poor man in supposed charge of proceedings.
An item in the news amused me and neatly encapsulates the general lack of fair play in football, albeit in Sweden.
During a match a Danish goalkeeper playing for the Swedish team Gothenburg kicked the moveable goalposts, moving them inwards by several centimetres. The referee was told of this after thirty minutes of the match had been played and though the goalkeeper's actions were caught on film no sanctions were imposed later. The reason was that this would have been a yellow card incident had he been noticed by the referee while he was moving the goalposts. The Danish player stated that he had effected the same manoeuvre on other occasions after he had seen another goalkeeper doing it – and presumably getting away with it - some years previously.
Fair play? What's that? The beautiful game? I think not.