How corrupt is international football?

Transfer sums of hundreds of millions, arrogant players, corruption scandals: with the barrage of negative headlines many wonder whether international football is at all about athletic achievements nowadays. Commentators also discuss the dark sides of the sport but at the same time explain why it still deserves to be loved.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Golden boy with bad manners

The behaviour of superstar Neymar highlights the extent of the moral decay in top-level football, Der Standard complains:

“Two years ago the Brazilian was looking forward to winning titles with Paris Saint-Germain, above all in the Champions League. That didn't work out and now the 27-year-old will be glad if he doesn't have to play in Paris anymore. ... The golden boy is making his dissatisfaction clear by not turning up at his workplace and insulting the fans of the team he still plays for. Now they just want to get rid of Neymar - and that goal has been achieved: it looks like he'll be transferred back to Spain and consoled with a bigger pay check from Real Madrid to boot. ... How long the gold-filled goblet that is top-level football will keep flowing before the paying public grows tired and casts it aside remains to be seen. The sooner the better, one would hope.” (PL) /

A gift that brings us together

The globalisation of football is a gift to everyone, counters journalist Kamil Sikora on the website

“'Més que un club' ['More than a club'] is FC Barcelona's motto. This slogan, which has taken a battering in recent years, perfectly illustrates the changes that have taken place in the minds of the football institutions. Up to a certain point the team was a representation of the local community. That's how the stories of all the big clubs began. Only with the passage of time did it emerge that someone who lives on a different continent can identify just as strongly with a team as someone who lives three streets away from the stadium. ... Technological advances have turned the ball into a wonderfully packaged gift which we can open every day and enjoy in ever better quality.”

Les Echos (FR) /

World champion shouldn't disdain football

Compared with other countries French football has fewer fans, clubs with less money and weaker teams, Les Echos laments, urging the Fifa world champion to stop neglecting the sport:

“Football deserves much more than our disdain. ... Because in an entertainment-loving society like our own, football is the best kind of series, both long and unpredictable. What's more, League 1 isn't just a game. It's also big business with the potential to generate colossal profits in all regions, profits from which more than just football benefits. ... On top of that, football can improve our nation's image at the national and international levels. Victories can engender a feeling of pride and help create a sense of community.”