“The players can have sex with their wives and girlfriends during the World Cup. Players are not Martians. But it should not be at 2 a.m. with champagne and Havana cigars.”
—Dr. Donato Vallani, Argentina’s team doctor, The Associated Press, May 27, 2010
With these very words, the good doctor from Argentina put his finger squarely on one of sports’ great dilemmas: Just how much sex—and with whom—should the players have during the month-long World Cup tournament? Every four years, the issue gets raised again in a way that it never seems to be with, say, the Olympics or the NBA finals. (We take it for granted that there’ll be some hooking-up in the Olympic Village, and we already know way too much about Kobe’s past troubles on the road.) But the World Cup is different. Teams have been known to travel with their own chefs to prepare food just the way the players like it back at home. Should the same go for booty calls?
Well, naturally, attitudes and approaches vary from country to country. Take the English, for example: their entourages are legion. Not only are there the beer-swilling lads (“hooligans” seems such a dated term), there are also the “WAGS”—the wives and girlfriends of the players. In England, where the WAGS are often as much tabloid fodder as their mates, the women have their own pecking order of starpower and brand recognition. (David Beckham and Posh Spice are the Brangelina of the beautiful game.) During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the WAGs were said to have spent over a million dollars on shopping sprees in the sleepy town of Baden-Baden; in South Africa, the ladies will almost certainly touch down with all the glitz and fanfare of a Sex in the City location shoot.