independent

Saturday 17 August 2019

Sport and the threat of money

AIDAN DELANEY

SPORT has been played for thousands of years and has always been an important part of history. For example, Cú Chulainn is said to have played a game that evolved into the popular game of hurling.

The earliest record of the game of soccer is in the year 1170, and the oldest known sport was said to have been played 3,000 years ago by the Mesoamericans. All these great stats and what do we have to show for it? We now value one man at a massive £180,000 for just showing up to a football game. You have to remember that Mr Ronaldo will be given that money even if he does not play.

What is this money doing to these so-called 'superstars'? It has given them egos and they have lost all loyalty to their employers, bosses and fans. Wayne Rooney is a good example of this. On October 19, 2010, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson stated that Rooney 'wishes to leave the club'. It was only after Rooney was handed a contract worth £200,000 a week did he finally ' think the situation through'. I think that most of us would also ' think the situation through' if we were offered that amount of money. What did we learn from this little story? Even one of the world's most famous footballers can have his opinions changed at the chance of a bit more money.

It's not just football that suffers at the hands of money. Other sports are just as bad. Horse racing is also a victim. Horse racing is a sport that simply involves two or more horses racing against each other to reach a post before the other horse. This simple idea generated $115bn in 2008 alone. But where does this money come from? That's right – another one of sport's flaws is the use of gambling. Everyone knows that gambling happens at race courses, but does everyone know what also happens at race courses? With gambling comes cheating. Numerous people have been caught cheating in highstake races just so that they could increase their own earnings for a hard day's work.

Horse racing isn't only a culprit of this deception. In February there were reports of match fixing in the ancient sport of Sumo wrestling. The allegations are so serious that the Grand Tournament had to be called off. In cricket three players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, were all suspended for at least five years for being involved in a match-fixing scandal which included vast amounts of money to win and lose games when they pleased.

But I believe that not all players and not even all sports are giving in to the temptation of money. For good examples you can just look at your own parishes to see that the love and passion for a certain sport itself, and not just the extra few euro that comes with playing sport.

Gaelic football and hurling are two of the few sports where players aren't paid or given massive wages, but they play for the love of the game, the thrill of playing in a county final against the next parish, the exhilarating roars of the crowd as you put over the winning point in an All-Ireland final.

This is what most sports are missing – actual love and loyalty to the game itself and not just the wage packet at the end of it.

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