World Cup Sex: Maradona Takes a Stand
Will Maradona’s Sex Policy Influence the World Cup?
Will sex influence this summer’s World Cup games? Probably not when only fans are involved (it’s a low marker on the superstition totem pole) but a debate has swirled for years on whether player sex or abstinence brings better results in the universe of consensual soccer.
In 1994 the Swiss coach, Roy Hodgson (an Englishman) was reported to have outlawed bonking during the World Cup tournament. Pele weighed in the on side of “l’amour” recasting in moderate terms the philosophy of his late coach, Joao Saldhana, who had famously encouraged the great 1970 Brazil team to “enjoy themselves” but limited this indulgence to one woman per week-unless the women were exceptionally beautiful, in which place the player could find his own limits. Four years earlier, in 1990, Italy’s management put a ban on sex until the team had been eliminated from the finals. Bobby Gould, manager of a less than glamorous English team, Wimbledon, cheekily asked if Italy could provide his players with the home phone numbers of the neglected Italian wives and girlfriends. Walter Zenga, Italy’s goalkeeper supreme retorted, “The average English footballer could not tell the difference between an attractive woman and a corner flag.” (I bring you this courtesy of the excellent Umbro Book of Football Quotations.)
And now, on the eve of World Cup 2010, no less a personage than Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, has stepped into the act to scoff at the Argentina manager Diego Maradona whose open policy allows his players to have sex with their partners while the team is in South Africa.
Da Silva, according to the BBC, is convinced that Maradona’s largesse will undermine Argentina’s chances of winning. “I want,” he said, “to see the Argentines arrive staggering and exhausted to their games.” Clearly, he knows something about Argentinean women. Fabio Capello, the England manager, in an attempt to curb the extramural enthusiasm of his players, has banned the famously demanding English WAGS (wives and girlfriend) from his team’s sporting arena. This is probably a good idea as England have already lost a player, albeit a small cog in the machine, Wayne Bridge, who refused to join the team because a few months ago he learned, through the kind offices of a concerned tabloid, that England’s captain, John Terry, had been making the beast with two backs with his ex-girlfriend, supermodel Vanessa Perroncel, at a time when the two of them were still affiliated. When Capello (and everyone else) found out he stripped Terry of his captaincy.
The proof is in the pudding. If Argentina wins the World Cup this summer we can assume that in 2014 there will be a Dionysian free for all in training camps all over Brazil.
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