Bury Free Press, 5th June 2015
I’m finding it rather difficult to understand the football leadership crisis that’s sweeping the globe. I think that’s because, at the same time, I’m desperately trying to learn exactly how football itself works. As far as I understand it, there are some men who kick a ball about on a field. Some other men then shout things at them to make them run faster, or kick the ball further, or more accurately. Then there are some more men who own the ball, who argue about where exactly it should be when it’s being kicked, and then there are even more men who vote for the men who decide where the ball goes. Too many men, too many balls, it seems.
On the other side of the world from all that drama, the women are getting on with their World Cup in Canada in what seems to be a much more dignified, sensible and less corrupt way. And nobody seems to be interested. Not once have I seen or heard it advertised, nor witnessed any fans on Twitter frothing with sheer joy at the prospect of football-based television. Not once have I been offered a vuvuzela, a ‘come on England’ cupcake or a part in a humble sweepstake. In actuality, all the attention’s been on – you guessed it – some men.
I’ve long had an issue with the sort of power that sporting officials hold. I think the World Cup was ethically shambolic, I think the voting’s politicised, I think it lends itself to corruption from the first minute. But even if you think Fifa’s worth the trouble, surely you’ll agree that female sport is just as important, exciting and worthy of note. Perhaps I just don’t understand it. After all, I’m still trying to get my head around the offside rule.