In any professional sport it is the fans who directly or indirectly fund the individuals and organisations concerned. Without the fans there is no professional sport so why does it always seem that they are the very last consideration in any decisions? I love sport and like so many others my ticket purchases, expenditure on merchandise and television subscriptions are underwriting my favourites. I would be happy with this situation if my wishes were considered but they are not. I am beginning to think that sports fans across the world should vote with their feet or rather the lack of them to engender a force for change. The 5th Ashes test of 2013 was the perfect illustration as to why.
I am no great follower of cricket, particularly test cricket, but even I get caught up in the excitement of the Ashes especially when there is a cliff hanger of a finish. This weekend I was watching the conclusion of the fifth test with great excitement as England were in the midst of a thrilling run chase that must have had people across the nation soiling their denim. At the worst possible moment the umpires then suddenly took the players off for bad light thereby concluding the match. I Know that they were only acting according to the rules but in this case the rules are an ass and there simply has to flexibility to accommodate the fans. After five days of cricket the match was abandoned without ceremony in an instant rendering the time and money spent by the fans entirely pointless. I was angry enough just watching the thing on television and so I can only imagine how incandescent the fans in the ground were.
Surely this was a classic example of where common sense should have prevailed and the feelings of the fans considered. With the finish so close they should have carried on and played with a white ball if necessary in order to reach a conclusion. The rules must be changed and the paramount consideration should be the fans. Cricket purists bemoan the fact that test cricket is threatened by the popularity of both the one day game and T20 but with test matches ending in such an unsatisfactory way they should not be surprised at people’s attitude.
Cricket is not alone in stabbing the fans in the back. The football authorities are past masters at doing just that and things are getting worse. In what way could a World Cup in Qatar be remotely good for the people who fund the game? I wouldn’t attend that tournament on principle and I hope everyone else feels the same. Even if I wanted to go I probably wouldn’t get a ticket anyway and ticket allocation is a subject that makes me want to explode. I could write a book on the atrocities here but suffice to say the fans are at the bottom of the pecking order with little sign of change on the horizon.
Too many poor decisions are made in sport because of crazy rules and blatant greed. The trouble is that the fans love their sports so much that that keep throwing their money at them anyway and until we all stop doing that and look the other way in protest nothing is going to change.
Article by football fan Sally Stacey