“Football, like life and people, has to adapt to the times we live in. 40% of young people between 16 and 20 years old no longer have an interest in this sport ”. The diagnosis, grim indeed, was made by Florentino Pérez on April 18 at the time of launching the European Super League, a baby who was born dead, since only 48 hours had already buried her by UEFA, the media, the fans and even the same English clubs that were listed as founders. But it did not work, basically, because it was a legal absurdity: they were still affiliated with UEFA, but they had a tournament apart from this one. As if Mbappé said “I still belong to PSG, but from now on I am going to play a championship for Chelsea and another for Bayern Munich.”
By way of justification to support the idea, Florentino Pérez and Andrea Agnelli, captains of that ill-fated boat, reported on a study commissioned from a world-renowned consultancy that produced this and other conclusions: that the boys, who should be the new consumers of the spectacle, do not exactly like the spectacle: it bores them and they cannot bear to spend two hours in front of the television. And that this endangers this industry that moves hundreds of billions of dollars annually. “For this reason, it must be improved or shortened,” Florentino said. Agnelli contributed more elements: “Football is experiencing a huge crisis that affects the new generations. Only 40% of young people between 15 and 24 years of age are interested in football ”.
In truth, the explanations of the presidents of Real Madrid and Juventus sounded like a childish excuse to whitewash the Super League, an elitist and completely unsupportive tournament, a circle of ultra-millionaires who met to be a little richer and “save football from its ruin”. And they knocked them down. Good. But the study alluded to does not lie: Today young people see other activities more exciting, they are with the influencers, the youtubers, the cell phone, social networks, music, etc. several, football comes fifth and hitting. And at any moment other competitors pass it. It should also be added that in the 60s, 70s, 80s, football reigned at will, it was alone or almost, today there are dozens of entertainment that rival it.
If young people lose their loyalty, the future of football falters. The foundation of his leadership is, above all, the passion of the public. That is why a Boca-River was a national event in 1930, in the 50s, in the 70s, with better or worse actors.. If that unconditional love disappears, watch out … And the pandemic has wreaked considerable damage when played with empty stands.
The report that one added that the boys of the whole planet now have two clubs: one in their country and another on an international scale, which are the great European teams. True. And that they are more fans of the individual figures than of the teams. That explains why Messi has 240 million followers on Instagram and FC Barcelona barely 99. Soon it will be tripling it. Therefore, if you leave the 10th, you will lose several sponsorship contracts, contingent on your permanence there. And no other figure of that category appears. Neither that nor other lower ones: they do not appear. The cases of Haaland, Luis Díaz, Federico Chiesa, are encouraging exceptions.
Now, it did not occur to Pérez and Agnelli that their teams improve the quality of the game to attract the boys, but rather to create a private club of twelve potentates who play with each other, promoting interest with the name, with new structures, not through of the ball. But what needs to improve is the game. Not a month ago, a European Championship and a Copa América ended, and they will not be among our fondest memories. They passed by. Soccer has advanced in dozens of aspects, everything has evolved compared to the past, there is greater efficiency, dynamics and tactics, but he left home without combing his hair, grooming himself and looking handsome. He forgot to be cute, to like and attract. Be careful, because there are fewer devotees of this faith.
In addition to the football oversupply that exists 365 days a year, the matches – not all of them – are lacking interest. They are generally close, with few goals, well studied … Before, you sat in front of the television and did not even get up to go to the bathroom, not to miss a single incident; Now he goes, makes a coffee or some mates, comes back, picks up the phone, posts a tweet and he may even take out the garbage while the first half is played. When the national team plays, we are very aware, nationality continues to exercise a strong commitment of loyalty and belonging, but if the clash is between two foreign representatives, the result is hardly asked. “How did Paraguay and Uruguay come out …?” At most, he asks himself: “Who scored the goal …?”
For years I told my children about the wonders of soccer from the past. I permeated them with my admiration for past players and teams. That everything was great, beautiful, epic. One unexpected day the castle collapsed: we saw a color film, on film shoot, of a classic between Boca and San Lorenzo from 1971. How extraordinary, I said, that is how they will be able to see those phenomena. It was a tremendous disappointment. It was a slow game, rather rough, those of Boca passed the ball to those of San Lorenzo and those of San Lorenzo to those of Boca. It was not the memory I had (memory is treacherous). My children looked at each other in surprise; the eldest asked me a question that I do not forget: “Daddy, what is this …?”
They were right, I had overrated yesterday. I did not make that mistake again, I learned to value the present. Now I perceive it differently: without worshiping the past it’s clear there’s a show crisis. Football is not generating expectations. Arsene Wenger says something true: you have to make the game more attractive. And be passionate again. (OR)