Soccer.

a word that summons up images of permatanned American sportscasters gabbering on about Sir Wayne Lineker’s famous goal in the 1984 World Cup final. (link)

The Guardian’s football section on their Australian edition is called, umm, soccer. Sports editor Tom Lutz of the Guardian says:

we think it avoids confusion with football as in Aussie Rules. Or football as in rugby league. Or, possibly, football as in sepak takraw.

Of course, Australia has its own football – there are four different versions of it. But…

In 2010 Craig Foster, our chief football evangelist, wrote in his book that “we can stop talking about the ‘four football codes’, since there is only one football code. The others are handball codes.” (link)

But this is insane. Trust Americans to do this (underlines put by me).

I own an American copy of Simon Kuper’s Soccer Against the Enemy. The word “football” has been cleansed from the book, autocorrected to “soccer” by the editors.

Even when Kuper is writing about American football – as in gridiron – his words have been changed to “American soccer“, which is just downright confusing. Taking the silliness to another level, Cameroon is described as “the most successful soccering nation in Africa”, surely one of the greatest grammar crimes in sports writing ever. (link)

Time to call John Cleese to close the debate.

 

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