There are people who have a problem with association football being referred to as “soccer”. Then there are people, like me, who have a problem with people having a problem with it being referred to as “soccer”. There are probably also people who have a problem with people like me who have a problem with people who have a problem with it being referred to as “soccer”.
On top of all that, it’s sometimes difficult to know what people are talking about. For instance, when an Australian fan of soccer says “football” do they mean soccer or Australian Rules football? Well here on the Peninsula we hate ambiguity almost as much as we are disgusted by nuance, so here’s a handy one-stop lexicon that clears up the confusion once and for all.
From now on it will work like this. Association football will be referred to in the UK as association football in the first instance, and as soccer or foot-ball thereafter. This works in much the same way as addressing the Queen – one calls her “Your Majesty” in the first instance, and “Ma’am” thereafter. A typical exchange, then, might transpire as follows:
Cuthbert: I’ve rather a fancy to take in a game of Association Football this pee-em. What say you?
Tarquin: Corking! I shall instruct Whitstable-Oswestry to rustle up a brace of toffee-apples for the interval.
Cuthbert: A mustard wheeze! You surely agree it’s been the devil of a time since we cheered on our boys in a good old jaunt of “foot-ball”. I hear Old Carthusians have porked out five sterling for a Scotch inside-half with moustaches from here to Saffron Walden.
Tarquin: I say, has the withdrawn forward been pioneered yet?
Cuthbert: Not half!
American football – for example, the NFL – will be referred to as American soccer. However, when the game is played in the UK it will be referred to as gridiron. When association football is played in the United States it will be called soccerball, hopefully putting paid to that totally hilarious joke. In Canada the games will be referred to as English football (le foot anglais in Québec) and American football (le foot americain). Canadian football will be called football (football).
Anglophone Africa will use the terms soccer and football interchangeably. Countries with both Anglophone and Francophone populations, such as Cameroon, will refer to the game as calcio.
Brazil will continue to use the term la joga bonito. The rest of South America will call it fútbol except for Bolivia and Ecuador which will use aerofoot.
Australia gave up the sport’s name during Harry Kewell’s contract negotiations. He will name it Megakewelltastic. Australian Rules will become known as Australian Rules American Soccer (le foot americain avec les règles australiennes in Québec). New Zealand will carry on being really really good at other things.
The Benelux countries will adopt Euroball. Switzerland will annexe Liechtenstein and turn it into FIFA’s headquarters. Japan will travel forward in time and, on returning, refer to the game as the sport that we win in 2022. Everyone else will call it futebol except north London which will rename it footBale after a Tottenham player does a pretty good cross in a European match.
A short pass will be referred to only as the Scottish play. Baseball and test cricket will be bought by Joleon Lescott and merged into one intensely statistical sport. Tennis will be played with light sabres, hockey will be renamed the Dutch game and rugby will eat itself.