Why don’t football ads talk about football anymore? | Sports


A few days ago, the Spanish Football Federation expressed its condolences for the death of Ángel Franco Martínez from Murcia, whom Alfredo Relaño describes as the great Spanish referee of his time. He even whistled two games at the 1978 World Cup and he is the reason why we call his colleagues by both surnames, his father’s and his mother’s. In the midst of the dictatorship, Franco could not make a mistake, leave a stadium under escort, get in the way or steal. Not in the headlines, not in the stands, not in sports broadcasts. There could only be one Franco and he had to be infallible. So Ángel became Franco Martínez and, just in case, he was never called upon to referee the final of the Generalissimo Cup – today the King’s Cup – while the other Franco was alive. In December 1970, in a curious intervention by National Catholicism on sport, the referee with the wrong surname was summoned to the canon’s floor of the Murcia cathedral, where the personal secretary of the Minister of the Interior was also waiting for him. Since he did not have it all with him, he came with an escort, the president of his school, Manolo Cerezuela. There they explained to him that he had to get sick so as not to whistle in the Basque derby. “The atmosphere was very agitated by the Burgos trial and they were hoping to start a Zapatiesta around my last name,” said Franco himself, who, as he had been ordered, the next day injured training. He did not tell the truth even to his wife until years later. At the same time, the newspapers also received the instruction – the dictatorship did not make suggestions – to always quote the referees by both surnames. And so he stayed.

Football generates states of mind and therefore, opinions. That transcends and crosses everything, even the dictator knew. Since Spain stopped broadcasting in black and white and became a democratic country in full color, many things have changed, but not that one. That’s why football ads often don’t talk about football. In it spot Atleti’s Christmas Day, not a single player came out of the team, only a Colchonero taxi driver who rescued a disoriented old man who had forgotten the name of his street, but not Di Stefano. An advertisement from the League showed some nervous children on Twelfth Night: “There are emotions that are only experienced one day a year. Or day after day”, was the message. Another featured a series of men who remembered sentimental or professional anniversaries because they coincided with grand finals. The voice in off, Full of reason, he said at the end: “There is a lot of football in your life.”

Another advertisement from TNT Sports and Fox Sports that offers “all Argentine football” without a single field scene has recently been widely celebrated on social networks. It reproduces scenes from everyday life, from the world of propriety and appearances, and subjects them to a hilarious contrast test against the passions unleashed by the beautiful sport: two friends at a dinner threaten to take out their wallets. Next, in a taxi, watching a game on his cell phone, one of them is heard saying: “He finally got the card!” ; In a car workshop, the mechanic tells his client the large amount of some parts that he had to change. “Well, if that’s what it’s worth…”, the owner of the car responds, resigned. In the next scene, watching his team in his living room, he shouts at the screen: “What? you charge, thief? Offender!”; A driving school teacher patiently asks his student: “Are you listening to the engine? What is he asking you?” Already at home, in front of the television, he bellows: “But put a change, for God’s sake!”; A man asks her lover, as she finishes dressing: “Did you have a good time?” She smiles laconically. In the next shot, in front of another television, the girl laments: “Are there just three minutes left? “At least five!” What does the channel promise to Argentine soccer fans? “A place where you can say what you feel.”

Whoever manages a passion has power. With an arsenal of jokes – a whistle, some colored cards and a spray – men in black like Franco Martínez have the enormous capacity to brighten or make our existence miserable. Like a boss, a teacher or a partner. Football refers to life, but it would be counterproductive to incorporate a VAR into day-to-day plays. If anything, it would be interesting to have a referee on hand to add minutes, that is, give opportunities for a comeback. Sometimes a girl needs two more minutes.

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