According to Tom Whipple in today's Times, a Swedish study has shown that footballers can be as clever as other people, sometimes even cleverer. Their conclusion was based on looking at 'creativity, cognitive flexibility, processing speed and working memory - elements known as "executive function"'. Further (£):
Torbjörn Vestberg, one of the paper's authors, was not surprised. "To be a footballer you must have physical ability and speed," he said. "But that doesn't help if you don't have a brain that knows what to do."
Why, then, do brainy footballers seem in short supply? Mr Vestberg says there is a simple answer. "They are not stupid. They are very clever. But they start to play soccer when young. They don't have time for education..."
You'd think the main conclusion would have been obvious even without this study: human intelligence is a flexible thing and can be applied in many different types of endeavour and many different ways. Perhaps there's a prejudice, put about in their own interest by people whose minds are on 'higher' things, that sport is not an area relevant to the exercise of intelligence. But that's an idea too stupid to be worth further comment. (See also here.)