How to Save the Beautiful Game

Published by Dodsy.

Watching England’s opener at the Six Nations served as a painful and obvious reminder: there is another way. A better way. Whilst I would never describe myself as an avid supporter of rugby, I have always admired the game. What has always captured my attention, however, is the bold-faced audacity to mic up the referee and allow us to hear their interactions with the players! The often diminutive figure of the referee can just be seen between the gargantuan hulks of flesh around him and yet time and again the players take their dressing downs like mischievous schoolboys, with respect and reverence. They listen in silence. They nod and apologise. They hardly ever tell him to fuck off.

Can you imagine this happening in a football match? Before Jürgen Klopp had even risen from his technical area, the viewing public would have been subjected to more swearwords than Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef. Instead of casting covetous glances at rugby but refusing to change, how does football get from here to there?

There is a way: The Twat-Jar. Stay with me on this.

You must have heard of a swear jar, the idea being that poor behaviour or language results in someone putting a quid in a jar as punishment. This is a swear-jar on steroids. Any behaviour that is petulant, annoying or downright twat-ish is recorded and results in a fine collected in the metaphorical Twat-Jar.

Take the lying about possession after the ball goes out for a throw. A) it’s cheating and b) it’s pathetic. Grow up and be honest. Sadly, the days of being able to trust the integrity of the footballer has long gone and so drastic measures are in order. Twat-jar. Every time a player gesticulates wildly, trying to influence the referee he gets hit with a fine.

And it doesn’t just work with throw-ins. Diving, time-wasting, goalkeepers who catch an easy ball before falling to the ground like they’ve been shot, knobheads who roll the ball forwards five yards when placing a free kick, going to the corner five minutes from the end of play. And, of course, the big one. Dissent or swearing at the referee. Mic them up and fine them accordingly.

But it won’t work, I hear you cry.

Of course it will, I contradict. But it needs structure. Employ a fifth official to review the information and set out punishments. In fact, scratch that, as the fourth officials do less than nothing at the moment, make them do it. 

But the players are so rich, they won’t care, I hear you chime in.

Of course they will, I reply once more. But it needs scale. Fine them 5% of their weekly wages and it will slow down. Fine them 10% and it stops overnight. Donate it to a chosen charity and either the game improves or potentially thousands of lives are improved. It is the classic win-win situation. Either these blights on the game are removed or we gather so much in fines, Great Ormond Street gets a new wing.

The logical solution would be for the powers that be to introduce laws to fix the problems. However, in the absence of a strong governing body that sets out clear rules and actually applies punishment for breaking them, there is only one option.

The Twat-Jar: How we save our beautiful game.

In the absence of a strong governing body that sets out clear rules and actually applies punishment for breaking them, there is only one option. Click To Tweet

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Shin Pads & Angry Dads

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