23.03.20 (or, ‘The Beautiful Game’)

The game has been suspended, ‘temporarily, I promise’,
Because serious aid is required.
The referee was supposed to be the
First-aider, primus inter pares,
But what can he really do about an injury? –
Or so they argue for the broadcast.
The fourth official scrambles the refunds,
But still the small stadium cafe will close, ‘altogether now’.
Don’t worry, though. The commentators can use their speakwrites blindfolded,
Actually, it makes the whistle easier to hear.
The linesmen again adjust to 0.1%, in a desperate attempt to
keep the rules intact – (?) – these being the only numbers that really matter.
In more pressing news, we have lost.
But the managers steal the headlines back, with their posted bails.
You can watch them applauding on parole
(Don’t mention the limited-edition home kit).
The referee ‘can do no more’ and makes for the screen,
Where he keeps the fans guilty, ‘anger’ – or is it violence? – ‘never solved anything’.
The one we loved, however, remains on the field,
Forgotten, but offered (thrown) the sanitising magic-spray by
The referee, who shouts at him from the stands (coughing):
‘It was your responsibility; you didn’t follow the rules!’

Having lowered their quality, at the pitch’s edge, the cameras remain,
Still obediently recording and capturing
The fallout. Still hoping for that money-shot,
For that number supposed to fall,
For that own-goal to be edited.
The ‘beautiful game’ brought to its knees.
At long last, yes – but please no more red cards, no more send-offs.

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