Bringing back the joy of playing

World cup has become an obsession, an obsession for winning instead of playing. As the cup is only held all four years the pressure to win has reached astronomical heights, coaches speak of “national shame” if not winning the cup and governments are in danger to loose the next election if their team does not win. Sports events should be events for celebrating the sport, emphasizing play and winning just a minor aspect. This is for the fans, of course, just utopian. The organisation of the event can, however, bring more focus on the play and reduce the pressure for “victory-at-all-costs”. Here are my suggestions to solve the problem:

  • Hold world cup every two years instead of every four years This will reduce pressure for winning drastically as the next chance is already two years later. The additional advantage is that the massive investments for the infrastructure could be used twice. Four year after a cup the game is back at the same place—quasi as a return game.
  • Reduce the number of teams that play in order to reduce the number of games. The event as a public festival will be the same with less games.
  • With 24 groups playing, let only a third disqualify in the first round.
  • With only 24 groups playing, the games of the qualifying round will improve. This brings more world cup to the rest of the year.
  • Make the whole organisation less commercial[1] and more socially beneficial. Work with NGOs so that the event brings economic improvements for the large masses. If your team looses, you can say to yourself “It was at least good for the people there … “

With smaller events every two years, socially fair and economically beneficial for the population at large, we will be able to enjoy the games much more and digest loosing far better.

The other remedy is mental:

Germany, you played well and fair and you merited to win. Congratulations!


1 The current organisational form is a shameless money making machine for a few on the cost of the large population of the host country. Like the idea of the Olympic village (emphasize on idea) the games should improve the bottom line economy of the host country instead of draining tax payer money out of the country. This is truly possible but needs a change of paradigm on the organisational level.


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