Written by Joe Leff
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Thursday, 1 March 2012

At last night's Annual General Meeting of the Football Association (F.A.), there was heated discussion about whether to abolish penalty shoot-outs at the end of major cup final games.

Penalty shoot-outs were originally used to give strikers and goal-keepers much-needed extra practice in front of hostile crowds. But when TV companies started ruling the roost, they adapted them for dramatic effect in an attempt to decide drawn games.

The F.A., however, has become increasingly concerned about the damaging psychological effects of penalty shoot-outs on top footballers (and their families). Non-stop crying and life-long shame feature prominently in the emotional aftermath - as well as nightmares.

"I've had weeks of hell," said one captain's wife. "After that miss, he keeps waking up in the middle of the night and re-taking the penalty kick. My legs are black and blue all over. Anyway, I think his run-up's all wrong."

Penalty shoot-outs at the end of extra time also have world-wide effects. The BBC News can be delayed by up to an hour, bringing the country to a stand-still.

At the end of their scheduled 2-hour meeting, the 10-man board of the F.A. were split with 5 for and 5 against the proposal. They had a quick coffee break, then re-assembled for further discussion, but after half-an-hour of extra-time the result was still undecided.

The F.A. did decide, however, to debate this proposal every year at their A.G.M., comprising the same 10 committee members.

"We'll just keep going," said an F.A. spokesman, "until one of us dies."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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