There’s a malevolent presence threatening to destroy football. It’s not corruption at FIFA, it’s not third-party ownership of players, it’s not managers taking bribes, it’s not even racism.
Oh no. Football as we know it is under siege… from eldritch conjurers.
Thankfully the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) is on top of it. After a bizarre incident during a league match that may or may not have swung the result, Rwandan football authorities have taken steps to officially ban the practice of witchcraft during any sanctioned match.
The incident in question happened earlier this month in a league fixture between Mukura Victory Sports and Rayon Sport. Mukura were up 1-0 in the dying minutes of the first half when Rayon striker Moussa Camara took a shot and hit the woodwork. While the Mukura goalkeeper went to grab the ball and regain possession, Camara ran up to the goalmouth and appeared to place an unidentified object next to the post while waving his hands a little. The goalkeeper chased Camara off while another Mukura played attempted to kick Camara in the backside while he was fleeing. Moments later, Camara was shown a yellow card for… unsporting behavior? I’m not actually sure how you punish something like that.
With four minutes of first-half stoppage time extended due to shenanigans, things got really weird. Soon after the apparent spell-casting incident and the ensuing fracas, Camara hit a towering header from a cross and sent the ball into the upper 90, just out of the goalkeeper’s reach. Rayon had their equalizer just before halftime, thanks to Camara’s, um, talents.
Was the goal the product of a magic spell? Who’s to say! Either way, Camara’s stunt was almost certainly not in the spirit of fair play. Even Quidditch has rules on the use of magic by players.
In any event, the FERWAFA is very concerned about the presence of sorcery in football and they’re taking a lead role in stamping it out before it threatens the entire sport. Per the Rwanda New Times, players and coaches now face steep fines and suspensions for casting spells during a match, while teams found guilty of supernatural interventions will be fined 500,000 Rwandan Francs (about $608 at press time) and hit with a points deduction.
FERWAFA vice president Vedaste Kayiranga had this to say:
”Since there is no scientific way to prove the use of witchcraft, these measures will base upon reports from match officials and anything that is deemed to incite witchcraft will be put under consideration.”
In other words, they’re leaving interpretation and enforcement of these new rules entirely at the referee’s discretion, with a “I’ll know it when I see it” standard of proof. If that sounds like justification for a witch hunt, well, it is. It literally is. I’m sure this will end well.
But on the bright side, we can all rest easy in the knowledge that football has been successfully defended from the dangerous influence of forces man was not meant to understand.
Then again, the logo for the German Football Federation does appear to draw some inspiration from the Elder Futhark...