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FIFA To Add Therapist to Referee Roster?

Last updated on March 7, 2024

In a move that underscores just how emotionally turbulent the world’s most popular sport can be, FIFA has announced a radical addition to its referee roster: therapists. These on-field mental health professionals will roam the pitch armed with calming essential oils and a deep understanding of the human psyche.

“We recognize that in the heat of the moment, players sometimes lose control,” admits Bartholomew Figg, FIFA’s perpetually exasperated head official. “A poorly timed tackle, a missed goal…these are deeply traumatic events. We must address the emotional turmoil head-on.”

The new therapist-referees will be identifiable by their bright yellow tracksuits and a clipboard for logging “emotional outbursts.” Their responsibilities include de-escalating tantrums, offering time-outs for existential pondering, and mediating on-field existential crises triggered by the sudden, crippling realization of the fleeting nature of sporting glory.

Naturally, this shift is controversial. “Football is meant to be passionate!” grumbles a retired star striker known for his hair-trigger temper. “What’s next, group hugs instead of corner kicks?” Traditionalists worry the sport will soften, turning into a glorified therapy session rather than a thrilling contest of skill and occasional brawls.

Yet, the incident that sparked this change was undeniable. Last month’s World Cup qualifier ended not with a trophy ceremony, but a sobbing heap of players from both teams, locked in a collective existential meltdown. It took hours, and eventually a small army of concerned relatives, to coax them off the pitch.

Therapist-referees are undergoing intensive training, learning how to differentiate between gamesmanship and a genuine nervous breakdown. They’ll master soothing phrases like, “tell me more about your feelings toward that red card,” along with tactical deployment of comforting stuffed animals for particularly distraught superstars.

The potential for meme-worthy absurdity is high. Imagine a red-faced player arguing about his inner demons instead of a foul call, or a coach screaming for a substitution because his midfielder is questioning his entire life purpose.

Whether therapists on the field will usher in a new era of emotionally well-adjusted football, or simply add another layer of chaos to an already unpredictable game, remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure: get ready for even more dramatic dives and some truly bizarre additions to the post-match interview lineup.

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