Will El Salvador Be In World Cup 2022 What’s the Most Popular Sport in the World?

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What’s the Most Popular Sport in the World?

Much has been written on this subject and the question has never been settled.

The problem is how to define popular. Analysts have based their ratings on various criteria such as the most watched, the most played, the most talked about, the biggest revenue generator, the biggest TV audience, the number of stadiums and facilities around the world, the tournaments held and goods sold. Because many criteria are used, numerous lists of the most popular sports have been published. However, the problem is made easier by the fact that football is often at the top, regardless of the criteria used.

A 2001 survey by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) shows that more than 240 million people play the sport in over 200 countries around the globe.

Soccer is older than most other games. Its origins go back 3,000 years to ancient China where a game was played with an animal skin ball filled with hair or feathers which was kicked between 10 meter high poles and used for military training. Evidence from other ancient Greek, Mayan, and Egyptian societies indicates that kicking games like soccer were played in those cultures. The modern game as we know it began in 19th century England and the London Football Association started in 1863 which established the first set of rules.

Football spread very easily. It started in a country known for its culture and systems and for owning an empire and was easily exportable.

Today, soccer is the highest paid professional team sport. The prize money for winning the 2010 World Cup was $30 million (Most Popular Sports in the World – Most Popular Sports.net). The World Cup is the most watched sporting event; 715.1 million people watched the 2006 World Cup final in Germany (The Real Truth: The World Cup: Why Soccer Is So Popular Around the World by Cliff Potter, July 10, 2010).

The game is played in a team format and each team has 11 players. The idea is that one team tries to score goals by hitting the ball between the opponent’s posts through a combination of passing and dribbling. Pushing, shoving or defending causing opponents to fall is a foul. In the end, the team that scores more goals wins.

Soccer is very popular because it has several attractions that appeal to both men and women, young and old:

First, simplicity is attractive. All you need to play is a ball. There are no money barriers and it can be played on any surface, on the street of the neighborhood, on the beach or in the park. It offers hope to children, especially in developing countries, to use as a stepping stone to a better life. They can play in a sport 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 promote team spirit and unite people around a common goal.

Soccer also creates team rivalries and passion. Soccer has some of the strongest international rivalries such as between Argentina and Brazil, England and Germany and the USA and Mexico, and intense 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 stimulates national pride. It is a dream to play for your country and people take more pride in their country when the national team is successful. For example in Colombia, when the national team plays both sides in the civil war, they lay down their arms for 90 minutes and cheer for their team. On the other hand, this pride can be taken to the other extreme, so in 1969 El Salvador and Honduras went to war over a football game (called the football war).

Fourth, few countries have another viable sport to rival soccer.

Finally, football is a good investment if you can get a team that goes far. That’s why $5 billion is spent by European clubs to buy the best talent available (Why isn’t soccer popular in the US? By Steve McCarthy, March 23, 2009). The goal is to win trophies which in turn bring big prize money.

There are different types of football, e.g. futsal or indoor soccer and beach soccer that help broaden its appeal. And there is women’s football which has expanded since the 1990s and there are also World Cup competitions.

It is also interesting to note that in most of the most popular sports cricket lists it is often ranked second. This is surprising as it is only played in mainly British Commonwealth countries, Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies, India and Pakistan.

Much has been written about the reasons why soccer has not become more popular in the US. In my opinion, American sports fans are already preoccupied with their sports like baseball, basketball and American football, so there is no room for another competitive sport.

Despite the success of football as a world sport, it has not been without its problems:

In recent years, FIFA has been hit by accusations of bribery, corruption scandals and resignations. Most notable are allegations against several senior officials of wrongdoing during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid campaigns.

Second, football has been taken over by commercialization. Recently there has been an influx of money from wealthy businessmen in Eastern Europe, America and the Middle East buying up top clubs and players. The desire to win and make money has become the main objective with the accompanying problems associated with the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Third, Europol (a 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. Over 300 more matches are under investigation, most from outside Europe.

Finally, the good name of football is increasingly damaged by racism and racial abuse between players or by fans directed at players.

Added to this is the long-standing problem of violence in football, not just between rival fans, but last week’s celebrations by Paris St.Germain fans in Paris celebrating their team’s league triumph were marred by outbursts of violence.

In conclusion, football has come a long way since it was first invented and has been found to provide a lot of entertainment to millions of fans around the world. But the essence of the game is different from those days. Today the game has become big business. It is losing its originality and may eventually lose its popularity. Then football will no longer be “King”.

Victor A. Dixon

May 20, 2013

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