SATIRE: The World Cup is a danger to… writer and humorist Brandon Hicks checks warns that the World Cup is a danger to your health, the economy and the future of the nation.
Lots of drinking will take place during the World Cup, leading to the killing of millions of brain cells. ((THOMAS LOHNES/AFP/Getty Images))

The World Cup is by far the most exciting sporting event on the planet, uniting people all over the globe in its riveting drama and glorious spectacle.

But that doesn't mean it's not without its hazards to the general populace, which is why this week's exploration into ridiculousness is titled:

The World Cup is a danger to…

Productivity (and by extension, the economy)

When you have a tournament that is beloved across the world, there will inevitably be games scheduled during normal work hours somewhere. This is a problem, as soccer-inclined people have trouble concentrating on their job when a crucial free kick is happening or a naked streaker is running across the pitch. And that's if they even show up to work at all.

Example: Millions called in sick to work in England during match-days at the 2006 World Cup, costing the economy billions of dollars. This time around, trade unions in Britain are asking companies to be flexible and let employees watch World Cup matches at work, so they won't call in sick or get demoralized (and let's be honest, the English side has a tendency make their fans feel like this all on its own).

*A quick note: here in Canada, there will be no World Cup matches that start later than 2:30 p.m. ET. Let's hope you still have some vacation days saved up!

Your health

How, you ask? Two words: penalty kicks. When watching this extremely tense post-extra time session, you'll likely over-hear (or say) something like, "This is so nerve-wracking, I am going to have a heart attack."

Well, watch out, because you actually might. When England went to penalties against Argentina in the now classic 1998 round of 16 match, hospital admissions for cardiac arrests went up 25 per cent in the country and neighbouring Wales that day, and also for two days after.

On the day that the Netherlands fell to France in the Euro 1996 quarter-final, the death rate from a heart attack or stroke went up 50 per cent in the country.

The internet

Thanks to this technological marvel that has finally found its way to computers, anyone with a fast enough connection can watch every single World Cup match on his or her desktop or laptop (and yes, is offering this service).

Here's the problem: with so many people logging on, the soccer-mad overload might strain the "series of tubes" to its limit.

OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration (and a poor attempt at reviving an old joke) but all this live streaming could definitely over load workplace servers, especially if you take England as a benchmark, where it's estimated that half of the overall workforce plan to watch matches on office computers.

Your brain cells

This will be as good an excuse as you will ever get to justify drinking at 7:30 in the morning. Which could be a very bad thing indeed.

Back to the U.K. we go, as alcohol education group Drinkaware recently released a report saying that the average Brit comes to work hung-over three times a month, a tally expected to increase when the World Cup begins.

You don't think we could follow their lead over here in Canada, right? I mean, it's not as if a few Canadian cities like, say, Toronto, are loosening up their liquor laws to allow bars to serve drinks earlier.

...Oh wait.


Possibly the direst World Cup danger out there — the very existence of the human race could be at stake!

That is, if you believe a recent German survey (and I do) that a whopping 95 per cent of respondents would rather watch Germany play in the World Cup final than be intimate with their loved one.

But amazingly, the World Cup could also lead to the opposite problem...


The same German survey noted a flood of newborn babies in the country after the team finished third in the 2006 World Cup. So there you go.