With the world cup taking place right now, the world is shaking with football fever. We’ve seen employers let employees take days off, pubs selling cheaper pints, and supporters going wild in the streets. Many people question why sport seems to let almost anything go, as long as it’s in the name of patriotism. Seeing it as nothing more than 90 minutes of rubbish, some believe that sports should be watched at home, and not disturb the world outside, where normal things are happening. However, with so many people getting behind their national flag there are many who would love to blare their national anthem from their houses all day. And with these events being so few and far between, what’s the issue with a day off to watch your team do you proud?
It is understandable why people get annoyed at the supporters. It will always differ from person to person, country to country, but there will always be fanatics. English fans in Nottingham managed to destroy an emergency response vehicle over their quarter-final win, and shut down tram lines after crowding the streets. Marseille FC of France were sued by Lyon after their stadium was trashed by fans. It is in instances like these which justify the anger and annoyance towards fans. It makes it difficult to argue that support is only that, when property is destroyed and disruptions occur throughout the country.
It also affects the workplace, with many fans skiving off their jobs to go watch a match, or being entirely unproductive yet still expecting to be paid. Whilst this may be a minor inconvenience for a single match, fans may watch every game of a 4-week tournament, taking up a lot of their working time. The culture behind football often includes heavy amounts of alcohol, watching the game at the pub, or inviting friends over, “as long as they bring a good case.” This often leaves half of the working population hungover and tired for the next day.
However, many experts argue that, by letting the football supporters off for the matches and claiming back that time, actually leads to a growth in long term productivity. By allowing short breaks in their working day to watch the games, it then means that they will be happier to work when they return. It also means that they are less likely to try and sneakily watch their team play during work anyway.
Furthermore, many see large sporting events as an alternative distraction. A study in 2014 revealed that over 60% of workers spend more than an hour a week on social media. Although this may not sound like a great deal, but 90 minutes of time checking on a score every now and then will probably replace the urge to do something other than work. In addition, many of these events take a while to come back around. The World Cup, the Olympics, The Euros all only come once every 4 years. It’d be somewhat unfair to take away the opportunity to watch these big events in order to gain a small amount of work out of them.
It is entirely understandable as to why some people aren’t keen to support their teams in sports they don’t care about. And with the stir it causes, you can see why those who don’t care wished it wouldn’t happen. But with an estimated 3.4Bn to watch at least one game of the World Cup, there’s no point in trying to deny nearly half the world to enjoy the games, revel in their patriotism, and support their flag.