The World Cup that wasn’t

A proper cup.

Make sure you are sitting safely and have sedatives at hand because this modest-looking post will expose the biggest fraud in the not-so-pristine history of global football business. The quadrennial extravaganza known as the FIFA World Cup is not really taking place this summer!

Yes, you read it right, no FIFA World Cup can possibly take place in Russia or anywhere else, for that matter. Indeed, no FIFA World Cup has been held since I learnt to deliver a free kick.

Just for the record, I am not a big fan of the French philosopher famous for his Gulf-War-did-not-take-place thesis. My discovery has nothing to do with obscure concepts such as simulacra; it is based on incontrovertible facts that reveal, among other things, that the saga of the FIFA World Cup ended back in 1970.

You see, a ’cup’ tends to have a specific meaning in any human language. Cups are small containers (this is Wikipedia speaking) used for drinking and carrying drinks. They can also be used in certain cultural rituals. In ancient times, for example, hunters were equipped with not only the bow and arrow. The springy, athletic hunters carried homemade cups to taste the sacrificial blood of their kill, and this ritual happens to explain the handing over of cups, plates and spoons in modern contests (kudos to Michael Sansone for his Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport).

Now, the original FIFA World Cup trophy was indeed a cup. After Brazil won it outright, a replacement was introduced in 1974, a robust replacement called the FIFA World Cup Trophy. The problem is, it looks anything but a cup unless the Earth held up by the human figures is split and hollowed out.

Why should the FIFA insist on a blatant misnomer? Is it a case of sloppiness or something else? Why should anybody still accept such a mockery of proper language use? Over to you, soccer scholars and other sleuths keen on preserving the legacy of ancient hunters!

In the meantime, let the curse of the Stone Age proto-athletes turn the unavoidable champagne shower at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow this Sunday into a thick tasty reddish liquid.


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