Fake soc­cer fans

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

The Foot­ball­World Cup has made Chi­nese soc­cer fans cra­zier de­spite the ab­sence of China from the “great­est show on Earth”.

Apart from soc­cer fa­nat­ics who are will­ing to sac­ri­fice their sleep to watchWorld Cup games live— which start at mid­night Bei­jing time and con­tinue up to 8 in the morn­ing— there are also a num­ber of people who have taken tem­po­rary in­ter­est in the game be­cause of the fad gen­er­ated by the glit­ter­ing stars who are out to stamp their author­ity on the soc­cer field. These people are known as “fake soc­cer fans”.

Ac­cord­ing to an opin­ion pool con­ducted by Hori­zon Re­search Con­sul­tancy Group in 2010, more than half of the Chi­nese re­spon­dents iden­ti­fied them­selves as “fake soc­cer fans” whose mo­ti­va­tion (and fre­quency) for watch­ing the game was dif­fer­ent from those of soc­cer fa­nat­ics. So­cial con­tact ini­ti­ated by soc­cer­re­lated small talk is one of the rea­sons why some people have be­come “fake soc­cer fans”. But one thing is for cer­tain, that the­World Cup is source of gen­uine hap­pi­ness both for true soc­cer fa­nat­ics and “fake soc­cer fans”.

The­World Cup has not only mo­bi­lized “true fans”, but also pro­duced a large num­ber of “fake fans”, or those who al­most never watch soc­cer dur­ing other times and are not well versed in soc­cer rules or aware of the play­ers’ iden­ti­ties or the strength of the teams. Such people only watch soc­cer dur­ing the­World Cup and will not make soc­cer a part of their life.

The Hori­zon Re­search poll also showed that “fake soc­cer fans” did not feel em­bar­rassed with their la­bel. In fact, 53.6 per­cent of the re­spon­dents were frank enough to ad­mit that they were “fake fans”. Among the “fake soc­cer fans”, the pro­por­tion of women (64.9 per­cent) who iden­ti­fied them­selves as such was higher than that of men (45.8 per­cent).

The­World Cup has also given rise to “soc­cer so­cial con­tact”: 22.4 per­cent of the so-called fake fans watch games for fear of hav­ing no com­mon topic to dis­cuss be­cause most of the people around them only talk about the­World Cup for one full month. This shows that the­World Cup is not only a tour­na­ment in which the top soc­cer-play­ing coun­tries com­pete for glory, but also a cat­a­lyst of so­cial con­tact.

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