I promise you, there’s not only a reason this question was asked, there’s a reason it’s a story, if only a whimsical one. As each World Cup approaches, the debate always begins anew: Should players be allowed to have sex during the tournament?
Yes, that’s what we’re talking about. As absurd as the question sounds, it’s become part of the ritual pre-World Cup ritual. Maybe some coach in the past was able to insert the notion into conventional wisdom. Maybe us media types just have an immature streak that comes out once every four years. For some reason, once the World Cup approaches, some head coaches get to go on record about whether their players will be ordered to abstain during the summer tournament.
Today in Brazil, Luiz Felipe Scolari — a former World Cup winning coach and the man who will lead the home country into this summer’s tournament — was asked for his policy. Would the likes of Neymar, Hulk, Thiago Silva and Júlio César be allowed to take part in their worldly activities, or would they be asked to make the ultimate quadrennial sacrifice?
“Sex before matches? If it is normal, yes,” said Scolari in a press conference in Portugal. “If done ‘normally’. (But) there are certain ways to do it that are acrobatic and that will tire you.”
The most interesting part of that: “in a press conference.” Imagine a dais, a world champions coach at your disposal, and a room of your peers. You raise your hand, probably following a question on Brazil’s chances this summer, and add your name to the long list of souls that have kept this debate alive. “Mr. Scolari, do you plan to ask your players to abstain during the World Cup?”
Within reason, no. While some people are looking into the “acrobatic” part of his comments, that only feeds into the juvenile nature of this whole discussion. This isn’t Elmore City, Okla., nor is it your kid’s sex education class. As long as players aren’t being ridiculous about it, sexual activity will be allowed.
So go ahead and add ‘sex’ to the list of normal human activity Brazil’s players won’t be barred from doing. What else comprises that list? We don’t know. Presumably, Scolari was only asked about sex, an extension of the absurd debate that seems to get new life before every World Cup.
For more on this ritual, you can check out Mary Carmichael’s Newsweek piece, published before the last World Cup – one which highlights why a sex ban may be more about control than any physicality deleterious side effects.