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What’s the Most Popular Sport in the World?
Much has been written on the subject and the question has not been definitively answered.
The problem is how to define celebrity. Researchers have based their analysis on various factors such as the most views, the most plays, the most talked about, the most money, the most television audience, the number of stadiums around the world, the festivals that are held and the sales. Because many methods have been used many lists of popular games have been published. However, the problem is easy because the ball is usually on top regardless of the methods used.
A study conducted by the International Football Federation (FIFA) in 2001, showed that more than 240 million people play the game in more than 200 countries around the world.
Football is older than most other sports. Its origin dates back 3000 years in ancient China where games were played with balls of animal skins filled with hair or feathers that were thrown between 10-meter trees and used for martial arts training. Evidence from other ancient Greek, Mayan, and Egyptian sites suggests that kicking games like soccer were played in those cultures. The modern game as we know it started in the 19th century in England and the London Football Association was founded in 1863 which established the first rules.
The ball spread easily. It originated in a country known for its culture and practices and imperial ownership and was easily exported.
Today, soccer is the highest paying team sport. The prize money for winning the 2010 World Cup was $30 million (Worlds Most Popular Sport- Most Popular Sports.net). The World Cup is the most watched sport; 715.1 million people watched the 2006 World Cup final in Germany (True Fact: World Cup: Why Soccer Is Famous Around the World by Cliff Potter, July 10, 2010).
The game is played as a team and each team has 11 players. The idea is that the team tries to score goals by hitting the ball between the opponent’s goals through a combination of passing and playing. Kicking, kicking or defending by causing opponents to fall is an abomination. At the end, the team with the most goals is the winner.
Football is very popular because it has certain attractions that attract men and women, young and old:
First, simplicity is fun. All you have to do is play football. There are no money restrictions and it can be played at any level, on a local street, beach or park. It gives hope to children especially in developing countries to use it as a stepping stone to a better life. They can play in the games that their heroes play which increases the popularity of the game.
Second, football is a team sport. Up to 22 people can play in one game. It helps to promote team spirit and unite people towards a common goal.
Football also creates social tensions and interests. Football has many international conflicts such as between Argentina and Brazil, England and Germany and the US and Mexico, as well as strong derbies such as between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Argentina, Manchester City and Manchester United in England, and Real Madrid. and Barcelona in Spain.
Third, football promotes national pride. It is a dream just to play for your country and people are very proud of their country when the national team wins. For example in Colombia when the national team played both sides in the civil war they laid down their weapons for 90 minutes and cheered for their team. On the other hand, this pride can be carried to extremes, so in 1969 El Salvador and Honduras went to war over a game of soccer (called soccer).
Fourth, only a few countries have other good sports that compete with football.
Finally, football is a good investment if you can find a team that goes far. This is why 5 billion dollars are spent by European clubs to buy the best talent available (Why Is Soccer Not Popular in the US? By Steve McCarthy, March 23, 2009). The goal is to win trophies that bring the most money.
There are different types of football such as futsal or indoor football and beach football that help to develop his interest. And there is women’s football that has grown since the 1990s and has a World Cup.
It is also interesting to note that on the list of the most popular games they are often second. This is surprising because it is only played in the British Commonwealth countries mainly, Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies, India and Pakistan.
Much has been written about the reasons why soccer has never been so popular in the US. In my opinion American sports fans are already busy with their sports such as baseball, basketball and American football so there is no room for other competitive sports.
Despite football’s success as an international sport, it has not been without its problems:
In recent years FIFA has been plagued by allegations of bribery, corruption and resignations. The most notable are the claims made by some officials of wrongdoing during the World Cup 2018 and 2022.
Second, football has been taken over by trade. Recently there has been money from wealthy businessmen in Eastern Europe, America and the Middle East buying top clubs and top players. The desire to win and make money has become the main goal and problems that arise from the use of additional drugs.
Third, Europol (European law enforcement agency) recently found evidence of match-fixing in more than 380 matches including Champions League and World Cup qualifiers between 2008 and 2011. More than 300 matches are being investigated, most of them from outside Europe.
Finally, the good name of football is seriously damaged by racism and violence between players or fans who only watch the players.
Adding to this is the long-standing problem of football violence not only between rival players but last week Paris St.Germain fans’ celebrations in Paris to celebrate their team’s league win were marred by violence.
In conclusion, football has come a long way since it was first invented and is found to provide a lot of entertainment to millions of sports fans around the world. But the meaning of the game is different from those days. These days the game has become a big business. It is losing its authenticity and may eventually lose its popularity. Then football will no longer be “King”.
Victor A. Dixon
May 20, 2013
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