Opinion (Boris Yakimenko, historian, member of the Public Chamber, head of the Nashi [Ours] Movement): “Transformation, which in the past 10-15 years has experienced all socially significant phenomena of life, touched sport, primarily this large-scale phenomenon of soccer. There are plenty of reasons for this transformation.
“First, human physical capacities have reached their limit. The inability to advance brings to the foreground not the result, but the process of participation, both athletes and spectators alike. Thus, sports (especially soccer) becomes more a ritual.
“The second reason – sports turns into a business process. The player, as well as everything connected with him, becomes a commodity.
“The third reason – is that sport (primarily soccer) sphere is made sacred, when not the result but the process and the experience of oneness with the environment come to the fore. Researchers have drawn parallels between soccer and religious practices. Self-identification with the soccer club or team is stronger than with religion and family. Fanatic movements are booming mostly in religious countries – Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Russia.
“The business component of sports definitively destroys national sports teams and brings to the fore merchants, financiers, club owners, etc. those who own the technology of promotion and sale of spectacles, while the player and the game will fall to the background and lose their uniqueness.
“The fans’ environment that turns players into pop stars sooner or later will inevitably force the latter to expand their roles – besides their main occupation, they will become models, will sing, dance, play in movies, walk on tightrope with a pole or start to juggle.
“The process, but not the result, will take another step towards becoming a target. That is, sports will turn into a special sphere of social life where it would be possible to escape from the problems of the surrounding world, have fun, refresh, and in which the sport component itself is almost irrelevant.”
My Comment: Records do not matter if they are so far from ordinary people being able to repeat them; the main thing is the spectacle, the show and everything else; the participants and the results do not matter. While this will not turn into the usual “home sports,” but professional sports will disappear.