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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The rules of soccer: the true form of international law

    While there’s a fair amount of argument and debate surrounding the issue of American hegemony in the realm of international politics and economics, there’s a fact that nearly all individuals can agree with: the United States lacks potency in the realm of international sports. If this notion weren’t fully evinced by the nation’s paltry performance in the 2006 winter Olympics, this summer’s World Cup competition will certainly help reinforce the notion that America’s wealth and power can’t be used to purchase athletic victory.

    The beauty of international sporting events is that they force competition to occur in a regulated context, in which the rules every nation is required to follow are the same. When the maxims and rules in a competition are consistent, the only factor distinguishing victory from defeat is the character of the human beings competing – how they play the game, not the amount of money and resources available to them. Ultimately, the fact that soccer is the world’s most popular sport implies that its rules may be the world’s closest thing to codified international law. So, what would soccer would be like if it were adjudicated in a manner similar to that in which international political and ideological disputes are addressed?

    If the United States were permitted to play soccer in a manner analogous to the way they “”play”” the game of foreign policy, they’d probably dominate the World Cup competition too. First, their “”scouts”” wouldn’t merely sit in the stands watching the strategies of the opposing teams in order to formulate plays; they’d infiltrate the teams themselves, gathering “”intelligence”” and mounting destabilizing campaigns from within. These scouts would be members of an organization called the CIA (the Competition Insurance Association), which would also serve as a conduit through which aid and support could flow to foreign “”coaching staffs”” sympathetic to the American global agenda. Such tactics would be consistently employed in dealing with Latin American nations like Chile (imagine it: coach Pinochet), Nicaragua and Guatemala.

    If Saudi Arabia and Iran were permitted to play soccer the same way they play the game of foreign policy, they would form a cartel with other middle eastern and north African teams for the purpose of regulating the cost and supply of natural resources – let’s say the petroleum American lawn mowers require in order to groom the practice field – that their competitors demand. Moreover, certain players, enraged by the presence of U.S. soccer camps in the country, might relocate to Afghanistan and form their own team, promising players something like 72 virgins as incentive for defeating infidel teams.

    If Serbia-Montenegro was granted the ability to play soccer in a way similar to the way they play politically, the coaches would relentlessly assail the countrymen who didn’t make the cut until being chided by the other nations in the competition.

    Ultimately, the fact that soccer is the world’s most popular sport implies that its rules may be the world’s closest thing to codified international law.

    At that point, one coach would go into hiding and the other would be consigned to a place in the stands where he would ultimately die of a heart attack while awaiting FIFA’s judgment in regards to the matter.

    In many ways, one might even say that FIFA is a lot like the UN, but more effective. In mitigating conflict in soccer, the rules are obdurate, inflexible and, most importantly, the same for all nations; consequently, things are fair, and only the nation with the best athletes and the most forcible will to win claims victory. If only the nations of the world could eschew utilitarianism – the belief that the most pleasurable actions are ideal – for a set of concrete “”rules”” of appropriate conduct in international relations. Perhaps these new rules of play would make for a greater degree of world peace.

    Andrew McGhee is a physics sophmore. He can be reached at

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