Posts Tagged ‘world cup’

NHS overwhelmed as millions hallucinate England winning a penalty shootout

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 | Distractions

NHS mental services have admitted they are “overwhelmed” after millions of people sought voluntary admission to psychiatric hospitals, claiming they vividly experienced England winning a penalty shootout.

“It was so real,” explained Michelle Herbert. “I felt like I was actually happening. Obviously, it didn’t happen, because it’s England, so it seems like I am no longer able to tell the difference between imagination and reality.”

“Our services are already stretched beyond capacity,” an official for NHS primary care mental health. “Thankfully, we’ve received expert assistance from the Swedish medical authorities, who assured us that the episode would pass by the end of Saturday.”

Health secretary, Jeremy Cunt, released a statement confirming that the lack of capacity to deal with the current crisis had everything to do with the unpredictable nature of healthcare and nothing to do with him having cut 15,000 in-patient beds across England & Wales since 2012.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015

Sunday, July 12th, 2015 | Sport

I really enjoy international women’s football because it punishes countries with high gender inequality more than anything the UN could ever do.

The Ivory Coast’s 10-0 drubbing at the hands of Germany is a classic example.

It is interesting though that whenever I asked anyone whether they had “seen the world cup?” the response was usually “oh the women’s football?”. In fairness, most of them had seen it. And why not? England did brilliantly! We should really look at this as our best opportunity to win a trophy.

We were (as an Englishman, and a supporter, I’m part of the team of course) unlucky to have lost to Japan and could easily have been in the final. That showed with our first ever victory over Germany – 21st time lucky!

Picking which football team to support

Sunday, July 6th, 2014 | Sport, Thoughts

Like many football fans, I have an incredibly complex system of national prejustices to work out what football team to support. Take Iran v Argentina for example. Which team am I supposed to support in this match? Iran has a terrible human rights record. However, Argentina was the last country to invade British soil, and worse cheated their way to a World Cup win in 1986.

How is one supposed to decide?

Ideally, someone would come up with a formula for working it all out. Geographic proximity, ancestry in a certain country, what you think of their politics, and how cool you think their flags and shirts are are all potentially important factors in deciding.

Once England are out, Germany are usually my B team (it is an unfortunate reality that being English you have to have a B team for when England get knocked out, but that is also true of all but a handful of countries) as having a Germanic name, it is the closest thing I can trace my ancestry to.

After that it is a question of geographic proximity. I hope France do well for example. Of course, I am supposed to hate the French, but it is very difficult to maintain such levels of casual racism against them in the 21st century. This then expands out in a circle in a “kilometres from me” fashion working out who to support.

It’s not quite that simple however. There are exclusions. I would not support Saudi Arabia for example, at least until they de-classify atheism as terrorism. Nor will I be supporting Qatar until they stop executing gay people.

Then you have to factor in the underdog level as well. We have been conditioned by decades of Hollywood films to support the underdog. In many ways it just glory supporting as if these films have taught me anything, it is that the underdogs always win. Plus it is just nicer when they do. Of course this runs in direct contradiction to the geographic rules as most of the best football teams are in Europe whereas the underdogs are on the “edge of the world” – Australia, Japan, South Korea, USA, Costa Rica, etc.

How do you balance it all? These first world problems just seem to go on and on…

World Cup sticker book

Friday, June 20th, 2014 | Sport

How long would it take you to complete the World Cup sticker book?

The answer, as it turns out, is a long time. We did the maths in the office a few weeks ago and the value we came up with was £460. That is how much you need to spend on stickers, on average, to fill the entire book. This assumes a random distribution of each sticker with no rares.

James Offer has created an online tool which simulates the process. It opens up a random pack of stickers over and over again until you have filled the book. It reached 637 somewhere between £300-400 I think, then was still going for that last sticker at £600 when I turned it off after two hours.

Of course you can reduce this by having friends to swap with. However, as a 27 year old man, I do not know any of my friends that are collecting World Cup stickers (nor I am for the record).

FIFA and the World Cup

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 | Sport, Thoughts

I could write about this, but John Oliver can do a much better job of it:

It’s shocking. I knew about a lot of the crap that FIFA do, such as exclusion zones to make sure that no local businesses can earn a living while the international sponsors rake it in. I had heard about issues with workers being mistreated in Qatar. However, the video really puts it all in perspective. And it is not a good perspective. Tax exemptions, enforced drinking, World Cup courts, a coffin a day going back to India, the list goes on.

Everyone knows that FIFA is rife with bribery and corruption. Every year there is a new story, usually several times a year.

As Oliver points out, it is too hot to play football in Qatar! It’s actually impossible to do the World Cup there! When the Daily Mash ran the headline “Qatar to host Winter Olympics“, it was only marginally more ridiculous. Who would rationally vote for that? Even FIFA know it, which is why they are talking about moving the whole tournament to the winter.

It’s all very well Greg Dyke telling him he probably should step down, but surely it is time to take some actual action. If UEFA told them they wouldn’t stand for Blatter continuing as FIFA’s head, what would they do? They would be fucked. Most of the top teams in the world are from Europe, FIFA would have to listen.

I am going to watch the World Cup. Because as an individual there is basically nothing I can do about these state of affairs. However, surely given the latest round of allegations, supported by a mountain of evidence, it is time for those with the power to act.

Inclusivity at the World Cup

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Most of us reading this will live in 2011, in the Western World. We’re used to living in a civilised society, summer riots aside. But thanks to globalisation, we’re increasingly finding a clash of cultures on many issues.

A good example of this is the World Cup hosting duties being awarded to Qatar.

The problem with this is that being an Islamic nation, homosexuality (well, homosexual acts, but it amounts to the same thing) is actually illegal there. These are enforced, including against people just on holiday there[1].

Yet, in 2022, thousands of footballers, and several hundred thousand fans will travel to the country. And many of them will be gay. Even if you take a conservative estimate that 1% of people are gay, that puts at least 1,000 gay people in a country where just being themselves – is illegal.

That’s mental. I really don’t think we should be OK with this situation.

Luckily, everyone’s favourite football character Sepp Blatter stepped in to offer some advice. He explained “I’d say they [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities.”[2]. Problem solved, I guess. Of course, this is from the same man who doesn’t seem to have a problem with racism[3] and is constantly dogged by allegations of corruption[4].

So what do we do about it? Well, we could get all the major countries to boycott it. Or at least Western countries, who knows how much control His Holiness commands over South America’s attitudes, and the answer is probably quite a lot. We could certainly give it a try though, and it would be a worthy cause. As Bryan Goldberg points out, Qatar also has a terrible human rights record, and that’s just the start of it.

Of course, we probably won’t do that, not because missing the World Cup would be mega rubbish (which it would be, that would be the biggest draw back of not taking part), but because it would be politically insensitive for us to call a nation out on the fact that their state religion is the most intolerant faiths currently practiced in the modern world (then again, maybe I’m just being over critical – it’s easy to take 534 verses out of context5).

Instead, our fearless leader David Cameron hopes that bringing the World Cup to Qatar will show them that homosexuality is actually fine[6]. Apparently, “football can be a great engine for social change and a change of attitudes” and, when it comes down to it, at least there is such a thing as an Islamic soup kitchen.

So, eleven years from now, in an attempt to change social attitudes, we will send hundreds of our citizens into a country where making love to their spouse is a crime punishable by execution. Wonderful.

[6]: http://www.insideworldfootball.biz/worldcup/bids/qatar/8894-cameron-believes-qatar-world-cup-can-change-attitudes-towards-homosexuality – this resource is no longer available

Football gets everywhere

Monday, July 12th, 2010 | Events, Humanism, Thoughts

The World Cup manages to get everywhere – and arguably so it should – though it was surprising to find that it even made it as far as the Humanist Community of Leeds with Gijsbert dressing up in all orange to support his home country, The Netherlands.