Freeman Cebu Sports

Why football is a popular sport

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

[email protected]

[email protected]

Over 1 million people travelled to Qatar for the 29 days of football during 2022 FIFA World Cup. The attendance during the finals upped the cumulative total of spectators to 3.4 million. It recorded an estimated 5 billion people watching the games in different media streaming platforms and devices. The final match between Argentina and France attracted a combined audience of 26 million, with Argentina recording 12 million viewers.

The world population is about 8 billion, so more than half of the world watched football’s greatest event. No other sport can unify the world than this game. Why is “the beautiful game” so popular?

Unless it’s an official game, football can be played anywhere – in the backyard, on the streets, on the beach. We see kids play barefoot and in slippers and in fact, during my yesteryears at Don Bosco, there were good barefooted players. It can be played 11-a side in a regulation field, 7-a side or 5-a side.  It’s a flexible sport that can be played in whatever place possible and a possible number of players.

There are football positions that don’t require exceptional skill and the basics are simple. In a regulation match, we have 90 minutes to score a goal with our feet and the team that scores the most wins. Only goalkeepers can use their hands. As we progress through the game, we learn the more complicated rules like corners, offsides, penalties, yellow and red cards.

Unlike other sports which are regional, football is an international game with FIFA having 211 member countries. Compare them to rugby which is mostly European but is also popular in New Zealand and the South Pacific. Baseball is mainly played in the Americas and some parts of Asia, American football is only in the US and cricket in Australia and in other commonwealth countries.

It’s a misnomer to call NBA champions as “world champions”, the baseball championship as the “World Series” as it is only played in the US with American teams. FIFA WC winners are the real world champions as they went thru several qualifiers against other countries.

Qualifying in a World Cup unites a country, the biggest example was, bashers and inggiteros aside, when our women’s national football team made it to the FIFA WFC and won a match. Even those who had never watched the game tuned in to our gritty ladies. The women’s WC is the biggest women’s sporting event.

Spread across the five continents, there are six football governing bodies – Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Union of European Football Associations (EUFA), Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CONMEBOL) and Oceana Football Confederation (OFC).

Leagues are year-round and unlike basketball, you don’t have to be exceptionally tall to play the game. It’s the vibe, the crowd and the mixed emotions, the teams, the grace and mastery of the players that makes the beautiful game the most popular sport in the league. And let’s not forget the all football jerseys on the market.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with