Football – the beautiful game played in bad weather
Football is a very British game, which has a global impact. FIFA, the world football body, has become one of the biggest sporting brands in the world, and every little boy and many little girls, spend all their time honing their football skills.
The weather has a dramatic effect on football, which – in most of the Western world – is played in the winter months.
Bad weather tends to favour the weaker team as it allows for more passing. This is usually due to bad weather, such as rain, making the pitch unsuitable for long runs requiring high levels of ball control. Passes are easier to intercept than long runs.
It has been said that referees may give a little more leeway in poor weather – which again means a less polished team will be less penalised for failures.
That said, certain bad weather, such as stormy weather or high winds appear to favour the better team. Their great technical superiority will reward them with better passes and shots on goal in spite of the poor weather.
Overall, bad weather makes for less exciting games as players focus on defensive behaviour. Naturally, football players fear additional injury in poor weather conditions. Wet grass increases the risk of slipping and frosty conditions can lead to an increase in fractures when falling on frozen ground.
Standard weather conditions tend to favour home teams. So a team that usually plays in hot weather, like Mexico, will love to play in Equatorial countries. Temperate region teams like Germany usually do well in Northern Europe but may struggle when playing in Africa.
Weather stops play
In 1979, before the advent of closed football stadiums, a cup tie match between Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club and Falkirk Football Club was postponed 29 times owing to bad weather conditions.
Scotland are really disadvantaged by their weather – in 1998, a game between Dundee Football Club and Dunfermline Athletic Football Club was abandoned as a result of high winds after just a minute and a half of play when the ball blew away not just from the pitch but from the football ground!
Why did they lose? Blame the weather!
Bad weather has often been used as an excuse for poor performance. When the North Korean women’s football team lost to the USA in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, their manager claimed it was because five of the players had been struck by lightning during training, leaving five of them hospitalised and not fully match fit.
In early December 2013, at Morumbi in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the stadium was flooded by the rain. It didn’t put fans off though, they literally swam in the aisles! As the upper tiers of seating filled with water, fans were seen to be using the stairways as water slides.
Football fans – never fair weather friends
Five top facts about football fans:
- Ever wondered what those fans are chanting? There’s a site dedicated to football chants and two PhD theses have been written around the football chant as modern poetry and protest song.
- It’s easy to choose who to support in the Isles of Scilly – there are only two teams and they play each other every single week of the season!
- The unluckiest football fan, Pedro Gatica cycled from Argentina to Mexico for the ’86 World Cup, but when he arrived he didn’t have enough money for a ticket to the final. As he argued with the ticket office staff, his bike was stolen leaving him at the football stadium without both ticket and bike.
- Manchester United is one of the biggest brands in the world and made it onto the Deloitte Annual Rich List.
- If you’d like to play the beautiful game, rather than just be a fan, you can put your postcode into the FA’s Find a Football Club website and discover which teams in your area are looking for players!