FIFA Fair(er) Play

It was the beautiful game played out in spectacular fashion by the fairer sex, and those who watched had no doubt that this was a tournament played at the highest level.

When Japan’s Saki Kamagai blasted her penalty past the US’s Hope Solo to give Japan victory, the world applauded. This year’s Women’s World Cup has been a breath of fresh air. Pundits from all over the world were talking about the quality of football on display.

There was no Suarez-like ‘Hand-of-God-part-two’, there were no incidents when the referees were mobbed for calling the games how they saw them, and apart from one incident in the Brazil – USA match, there weren’t any theatrical dives and attempts to con the referee.

If the Women’s World Cup final was on at the same time as the men’s final, it would be a no brainer which one I would watch.

The women’s game is played at a slower pace, the passing is not as accurate, and the goal keeping and defending would have most first division coaches fuming.

But that is not the point. What the point is, is that it was such a change of pace to simply watch a football match for what it was, without having to wait for Ronaldo or Robben to stop writhing on the ground as if they had just been hit with a battle axe.

A recent study by German sports scientist Martin Lomas confirmed that women do indeed play with more integrity than the men do. He found that men spend an average of 30 seconds longer on the ground than women, and that they take almost 12 seconds longer to leave the field when substituted.

Perhaps it is the obscene amount of money that is poured into the men’s game, resulting in inflated egos. One only has to look at Mario Balotelli’s antics against LA Galaxy (seriously, Youtube it). Others might argue that there is less at stake in the woman’s game. I, however, feel that in the women’s game, the true spirit of football shines through much brighter, and sincerely hope that the Ronaldos of the world were watching and taking notes.