It is indeed the 8th wonder of the world, that an entire nation can be gripped by a fever so severe and so furious – that the people afflicted with it become totally oblivious to the existence of routine, mundane things, and even ignores all those things that they once loved with all their hearts. FIFA World Cup 2010 is the name of the fever – and its intensity is such that anyone and everyone, with access to a TV or even a mobile phone or newspaper, are glued on to it. Chain mails, all instructing wives and girlfriends to put up with brutish, selfish behaviour of their partners over the TV for a month are being circulated, employees in offices sneakily use their proxy server to access the internet and check the score – and text the results to their bosses. Teenage kids have postponed all their games and other activities. A privileged few, have taken a month off, and have actually flown down to South Africa to witness the great event live.
FIFA – stands for Federation for International Football Association was formed on 21st May, 1904 in the romantic city of Paris, when it had become evident that an international body was necessary to oversee the sport that was taking over the world. The founding members were Belgium, France, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Soon, all other nations joined the bandwagon, and now, FIFA is one of the world’s largest known associations with 208 member countries. FIFA has survived through 2 world wars, when the confidence on its continued existence seemed most shaky. FIFA works on Swiss laws and its headquarters are at Zurich.
The most unique aspect of FIFA is that unlike other tournaments, the players here represent a particular country, rather than a league. It gives a chance to amateurs to showcase their talent and establish themselves. FIFA is also extremely well known for its upsets – the most famous being France losing to Italy in the last FIFA cup, when a key French player lost his temper and head-butted an opponent on International Camera. FIFA 2010 is already playing up to this tune – Spain lost miserably to Switzerland a few days ago, much to the disappointment and shock of the viewers.
The key element here is that FIFA is one of the most celebrated sporting events in India – even when India’s own team stopped being qualified long ago. No one even seems to remember now, that an International cricket tournament by the name Asia Cup is being held, and nobody seems to care either. Is it because cricket in India has been so over marketed, that viewers are gladly jumping at any change that comes by? Or is it because unacknowledged by the Indian government and businessmen in the field of sports, there is a market for football in India too? Perhaps it’s time that they start taking football seriously, instead of pretending that no sport other than cricket exists.