The English Football Widows Association – which hopes one day to have its head office on Mars, or possibly Jupiter, which is cheaper but the schools aren't so good – is concerned this week by the news that many members have been taking performance de-enhancing drugs to decrease further their ability to sit through the games. As one member told us: "I take such drugs in the hope they'll knock me out, ideally until 12 July."
She then added that if this meant she would also have to miss the longest tennis match ever, then so be it. "Don't all tennis matches last for ever?" she said. "Really? I thought they did. Fancy."
Alcohol seems to be the main drug of choice, presumably because it is legal, readily available, does the job and is jolly nice. As another member told us: "Two bottles of wine and by the time the evening World Cup match comes on, I'm pretty much out of it, thank God and praise be. My husband has the TV and radio on all the time, in all the rooms in the house, and if it weren't for my extended periods of unconsciousness I don't know how I'd get through it."
This woman, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals – "who is to say that, next time my husband and sons go to fill in the wall chart, they won't 'accidentally' stab me with the pen that doesn't work, and then with the pen that does?" – says she cannot care about the World Cup even though she has tried.
"I tried to watch the England game. I knew how important it was for everybody. I knew that if Defoe were to come good, it would be good, and if he didn't, it would be bad, and headline writers would not be able to write 'Defoe Defies Defeat', and then go home and boast about it to their wives, even though that wife is bored witless as it is, and wishes he'd stop being a sports writer and get a job in a fish shop, so he could at least bring home some discounted fish. Who doesn't like discounted fish? I know I do."
EFWA – which is also considering Saturn (although it's not much to look at now, it's said to be up-and-coming) – has heard similar reports from across the country. As another widow said: "My drug of choice? Temazepam. I take it first thing and then hourly until I black out. It's fantastic. I was out for 17 hours yesterday and didn't hear or see one football-related thing. I didn't even have to endure one of those Radio 5 phone-ins although, credit where credit is due, if I were a stupid, mouthy, boring person who wanted to be taken seriously, I'd call in, too."
What, you may ask, is Fifa doing about all this? Well, it has said it plans to launch a full-scale investigation and will then come down on offenders hard. A spokesperson said: "At this point, we are not sure how many football widows are using narcotic substances to decrease their watching ability, but you can be sure these substances do reduce endurance considerably. And we are particularly worried for the children, who may not properly understand why mummy is 'very tired' all the time, does not move from Tuesday through to Thursday, and wants only to run off with Gareth Malone, whom she has the hots for, and who is actually doing something interesting with his life."
To prevent further substance abuse, Fifa plans to introduce random testing of widows for the following most commonly used performance-reducing drugs: alcohol, Temazepam, pot, Valium and hot, milky drinks. Fifa admits that hot, milky drinks will be hard to detect. "As of yet, we do not have a reliable test, and will have to rely on the white, frothy moustache which is often a tell-tale sign that Ovaltine has been drunk at some point, or Horlicks." When quizzed on the fact these moustaches are easily disguised by, say, balaclavas, Fifa said: "We will not allow balaclavas to fool us, and will certainly ask to look underneath." Thus far, they have questioned several of our members, "but we are now almost certain the moustaches are real."
Indeed, as one such member puts it: "What can you do? You get to a certain age; it happens. Now, clear off. Do you think I'm not busy? I can't remember the last time I had so much sport to ignore."