“I am president of everyone!” cried Sepp Blatter before resigning – but not straightaway – in a manner that Nigel Farage must have marvelled at. I loathe football, and the bureaucratic cesspool that is Fifa did nothing to endear me to the “beautiful game”. I was thrilled that the guilty parties appeared to be finally getting their just deserts. But last week, in my household, Fifa was still managing to wreak havoc.
My son has been obsessed with a computer game called Minecraft for a couple of years. Of all games to be obsessed with, at least it is creative and stimulating. Then Minecraft faded and there was a new kid on the block – Fifa 14… or, at least, there was until January, and then we had to get Fifa 15.
This fully endorsed football video game is very good. The graphics are amazing, gameplay is spectacular, and the commentary often hilarious. The problem is that it doesn’t stop at having to purchase the same game every year. By earning points, you can buy “star” players to form an ultimate team. This would be fine if everyone did this, as it would be a worthy test of skill. But there is corruption at the heart of Fifa 15. If you go online, you can buy coins that allow you to purchase these special players without doing the skill part. According to my son, all his friends are purchasing these players, meaning that if he doesn’t, then he can’t compete.
I started to discover illicit purchases being made as he tried to keep up. To be fair to my son, he pays up with his savings and leaves the cash guiltily on my bed. It’s so sweet but it angers me greatly that he has to spend all his chore-earned money on the video-game equivalent of EPO. He is basically suffering from the cheating athlete conundrum. If everybody else is doing it, then how can I compete if I’m not?
In real life, I tend to think that we should have a Total Olympics in which, as long as you are not using a motor, you can do whatever you like medically. I’m fine with seeing sprinters on the sideline having something injected into their arses as the gun goes off. It’ll simply become a pharmaceutical equivalent to Formula One, and people still watch that for some unknown reason.
Back in the world of 11-year-old boys and their video games, however, my son is being fleeced by this Fifa-endorsed game, and it seriously p***es me off. The whole world of football appears to be one, enormous money vacuum that sucks up cash from over-priced tickets, shirts and video games to pay overly hyped players and the shady cabal that runs Fifa itself.
Until this is all sorted out, I’m going to have take action of my own. I will be forced to venture online into the murky dealing rooms where coins are purchased and players acquired and wage war with these charlatans. Or… alternatively, I could get that cricket net I always wanted to install, and my boy and I could play a truly beautiful game in the real world.