Date: 21st July 2018
5 things we learned from the World Cup
1. No other sport will ever compete with football
In a few months time the official audience figures for the World Cup will be released and what we know it will show is that football at the top level is the greatest show on earth. This is nothing new and over the last few tournament cycles the audience figures have reached around 3.2 billion viewers which compares favourably to its only real competitor the multi sport Olympic Games.
No matter where you are in the world the beautiful game gets ordinary people excited and despite what many feared with the multi million (dollars/euros/sterling) deals of the star players, the honour of representing your country means that the best players in the world are on show.
2. Football Violence a thing of the past?
There was real fear that a World Cup in Russia would see the worst elements of our game (violence, bigotry racism and homophobia) come to the fore. Whilst we acknowledge that these elements still exist we have to say that overall the event was well policed and that there was little evidence of any of these unsavoury elements that spoil the beautiful game. What all the football authorities, governing bodies and supporters groups need to do is to remain vigilant and continue to keep these unsavoury elements from our game. In Scotland we know that there is still much work to be done to eradicate those we would rather not have at our grounds.
3. VAR is here to stay
Love it or loathe it the VAR experiment is over and there is no doubt that at the top of the game it will continue to be used. VAR has been trialled in English football and was used at the World Cup this summer. One former top Scottish Referee Steve Conroy thinks it will be coming to Scotland!
“I don’t think there’s any way of going back on it anyway,” Conroy told BBC Scotland.
“It’s like goal-line technology. It’s here, we need to embrace it and get on with it.”
Our view is that given the cost involved we can’t see it coming in Scotland anytime soon. We would expect goal line technology to be the priority and VAR maybe only featuring in international matches in the foreseeable future.
4. No Scots at the World Cup
In years gone by when the national team failed to qualify we could always enjoy the fact that a team of Scots referees usually graced the World Cup. This time around we even failed to have any whistlers representing the nation. Having seen the excellent standard set by the World Cup officials you have to conclude that it is just not the fans opinions that our referee standards in Scotland need improved but also that of FIFA. More work for the very busy in- tray on Mr Maxwell’s desk.
5. Small nations can compete – a message to the SFA
We saw at the Euro Championships two years ago that Iceland, Northern Ireland and Wales could compete at the top international level and of course the excitement generated by Croatia, with just 4 million citizens, at this World Cup shows that size need not matter. What is essential that a style of play and a tight team work ethic that suits the players can deliver results. What we as a nation need to do is to start to believe in ourselves and hopefully find a few gems out that that can galvanise the team and give it that extra edge. All we can do as supporters is get behind the national team and hope that all the work being done behind the scenes over the past 20 years will begin to deliver the results that our supporters deserve.
P.S. Football did come home
Football did indeed come home when the French won as the man behind the creation of the original World Cup was of course Jules Remit. Heo was the 3rd President of FIFA, serving from 1921 to 1954. He is FIFA’s longest-serving president, in office for 33 years. He also served as the president of the French Football Federation from 1919 to 1942.
On Rimet’s initiative, the first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930. The Jules Rimet Trophy was named in his honour. He also founded the French football club Red Star Saint-Ouen.
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