Andy's 'Ammer

We’ve just witnessed a glorious World Cup in Russia, arguably the best ever.

Great weather, great stadia, no trouble… some excellent games, only one scoreless draw, some outstanding individual and team performances, tears of joy, tears of heartbreak and no shortage of talking points, even controVARsy.

My brother George and I looked at it all and now we want to look at just one instant in one game for a microcosmic look at the time, lost time, lost football time.

It’s the World Cup Final, remember that, the World Cup Final!!!

There’s a French appeal for a penalty.

We look at the clock… 31 minutes and 17 seconds.

When Griezmann finally slots it home… it’s 38 minutes and 35 seconds.

Time taken, 7 minutes and 18 seconds… we could have brewed up and made a sandwich, maybe some did given the length of time some of these situations have taken to resolve in this World Cup.

Seven long minutes are taken up with arguing, the ref listening to whatever was said into his earpiece and then, then deciding to take the advice and go watch the VAR.

Whether you/we/I agree with his call for the penalty is largely, no totally irrelevant.

Only the loss – to the World Cup Final, to the paying customers, to the watching public {how MANY worldwide??} and, worst, to the Croatian team – of those seven minutes is relevant, and begs one simple question.

Why?

Why is it that FIFA, or whoever’s decision this might be, doesn’t ever seem to consider simply stopping the clock?

Croatia for prime example could have usefully used those seven minutes searching for an equaliser.

Why is this seemingly, not even considered?

It works in other sports, rugby, basketball, ice hockey, American football, so why not football, the world game, the beautiful game, our, the fans, game?

And let’s expand the idea that you could stop the clock each and every time the ball is not in play?

Thus providing spectators with much closer to if not a full ninety minutes of play? Of football? Of value for their hard-earned ticket money?

We wish we knew the answer, but we don’t, so all we have is speculation and it isn’t particularly jolly…

FIFA may be the organising body – worldwide – the ones polishing the goldfish bowls some legend will pull the painted, screw-top, ping-pong balls from; it may be the one organising the cash carnival that rewards a country as vile and corrupt and inappropriate as Qatar; feel free to call us sceptic – but as the song lyrics from Cabaret go… “it’s money makes the world go around, that clinking, clanking sound…”

Same money bribing to let the World Cup cash-cow graze next time on sand ffs, and the same cash-cow that must lobby not to interfere with a system that at the moment sees the paying public and the streaming public, and the full pubs and fan parks, get an average of less than an hour of the ball in play???

Isn’t this cheating?

Isn’t this lunacy?

Isn’t this the action of organisations who, having paid for and bought the sport, and oh so richly rewarded the participants – the clubs – that they have neutered them – and bought the game to such an extent that they and not the clubs nor their leagues decide which games get played when – these organisations cannot allow football to be randomly disruptive to their viewing schedules, so, basically, less than an hour is what you get for your money?

If there is another, better reason, even then let’s hear it, we would absolutely love to hear it.

And the game would gain, it truly would as the positive by-products of a full ninety minutes played MUST surely be some or all of the following…

There becomes no such thing as time-wasting.

Foul committed, the clock stops; all the bollocks of lining up the wall etc e.g. becomes nothing at all.

The ugly ritual of I-have-just-suffered-a-life-threating-injury acting – in order to waste time, getting trainers on and off, rolling about before, during and after, taking a quarter of an hour to stand up knowing any added time never has and never will accurately reflect the amount of actual time lost – would become a thing of the past.

Who would weep? Not I, not us, not you (?) not for one millisecond.

The longer the players play – by simple maths – at least a third more than they are doing – the more tired they would become, and so surely the more chances for late goals.

Also, the serious strategic use of fresh legs for substitutions rather than signalling off the player furthest from the dug-out and wait while he trudges, hand-shaking all the way, To Waste Time, couldn’t happen.

Well, it could, but what on earth would be the point?

Also, perish the thought, the customer would get value for money.

If the argument is about tv scheduling – here’s a simple enough plan… Bin the pre-match, post-match waffle.

If anyone is dense enough to imagine someone watches footy broadcasting for Gary Neville et al and their pontificating – er – they are wrong. Not saying everything he and the other pundits says is irrelevant, of course, it isn’t – but necessary? Nah, not really.

In Sundays’ Final of The World Cup, the issue was never clearer shown.

Stop The Clock… Stop the Damned Clock… Give us back value for money.

And while we’re here ranting, it has to, needs to start at domestic level…
Any camera that proves a player has dived – dock the club three points.
In a cup match – award the opposition a goal.

Who would weep if such behaviour stopped?
Cheats, that’s who. Only the cheats and those that condone it.

Any player gesturing for a yellow to be given – gets a yellow.
Any player gesturing before they’ve actually hit the ground – a red.

And the nonsense would stop, literally overnight, with the first points deduction, goal awarded, red card issued.

What we mean is…

Play the damned game, the world game, the beautiful game… our, the fans, game.