Football (or ‘soccer’) is often called the ‘beautiful game’. Just behold the top-notch players strutting on the field, displaying their dandy footwork and handling skills in front of thousands of amazed spectators in the stadium (and millions more enthusiastically watching on screen), and you will understand why it is a ‘beautiful’ game with the most universal appeal of any sports.
Unfortunately, with every long-anticipated FIFA World Cup season comes the distressing news of many people who lost their peace and fortunes on gambling. Betting on winners and losers has long been the culture in many sports. But the World Cup always seems to send gamblers to a heightened feverish pitch!
Increasingly, younger adults, teenagers and even children are turning out to be ‘football gamblers’ due to the advent of internet and many gambling sites. Instead of admiring and focusing on the ‘beautiful’ skills of 22 players in the field, these gamblers are only concerned with the outcome of the game – who won, who lost, and by how much. Thus the 90 minutes of the ‘beautiful game’ matter less than a single moment when the final whistle is blown and the score is known.
At ‘mamak stalls’ and places where the public gather to watch World Cup matches, you can hear collective cheers and sighs with every shot and missed attempt at the goal post. Indeed football can be an enjoyable and unifying sport. Let us rejoice at the ‘beauty’ of this game. And let us not reduce its ‘beauty’ by betting and gambling on matches. Without gambling, the game is even more ‘beautiful’!