Association football and politics are connected in club identities, clashes, and footballers who choose a career in politics. Association football has played a role in maintaining the differences which give each European country a distinct identity, while strengthening the bonds that bind Europe together.According to Macon Benoit, European football underwent a massive transformation during the World War II era (1933–45). The game's sharp rise in popularity came at a time of high political intensity, leading to football's politicization. Benoit writes that during this period, European football began to embody four main characteristics: 1) an agent of international relations, in the sense that the foreign policies of European nations became articulated in matches; 2) a source of political propaganda, as football was used to build national pride and establish the legitimacy of political movements; 3) a tool for social pacification; football gave people a place to focus their energy that was not political, and 4) an avenue for protest; mass gatherings at matches gave spectators a forum for the expression of identity and political sentiments. European football stadiums have assumed other roles as places of refuge and sites of political uprisings and terrorist attacks. As European politics and relations have changed, football has remained a global means of political expression.
Three former footballers have led their countries: Ahmed Ben Bella, George Weah, and Kaj Leo Johannesen. Ben Bella played briefly for Marseille during the mid-1940s before leading Algeria in the aftermath of its war, first as prime minister and then as president. Weah, who played football for 18 years in Africa and Europe, was an unsuccessful candidate for the Liberian presidency in 2005 before his election in 2017.Johannesen, who played in goal four times for the Faroe Islands national football team during the 1990s, became prime minister of the Faroe Islands in 2008. Other footballers who have sought high political office include Albert Guðmundsson (who finished third in the 1980 Icelandic presidential election) and Oleg Malyshkin, who finished fifth in the 2004 Russian presidential elections.
Some clubs have a fan base which is religious, right- or left-wing, nationalist, unionist, or autonomist.
Although many clubs do not have a fixed political identity, some clubs have clear leanings. According to YouGov statistics, supporters of Sunderland AFC lean leftand often sing "The Red Flag" during marches. The hooligan firm Seaburn Casuals, on the other hand, is known for its far-right associations. When 26 Seaburn Casuals hooligans were arrested in a police raid before the 1998 FIFA World Cup, some were found to be involved with neo-Nazi groups such as Combat 18.
One of the largest and oldest football rivalries is the Old Firm rivalry between the Scottish clubs Celtic and Rangers in the Original Glasgow derby. The competition between the two clubs is rooted in more than a sporting rivalry;it has as much to do with Northern Ireland as Scotland, as seen in the flags, cultural symbols, and emblems of both clubs. It was infused with a series of complex disputes centered on religion (Catholic and Protestant), Northern Ireland-related politics (loyalism and republicanism), national identity (British or Irish-Scots), or social ideology (conservatism and socialism). Although most Rangers and Celtic supporters are not actively sectarian, serious incidents sometimes occur and the actions of a minority dominate the headlines. The Old Firm rivalry fueled many assaults on Derby days, and some deaths have been directly related to the aftermath of Old Firm matches. An activist group which monitors sectarian activity in Glasgow has reported that on Old Firm weekends, violent attacks increase nine-fold above normal levels. An increase in domestic abuse can also be attributed to Old Firm matches.
Many of the Spanish football rivalries outside the local derbies involve politics (ideological or geographical).The term morbo (roughly translating as morbid fascination and antagonism) has been used to describe attitudes to the complex network of identities and relationships between Spanish clubs. An informal system of alliances and enmities exists across the nation's hooligan groups, based on their political allegiance; the most prominent may be between Atlético Madrid's right-wing followers and the left-wing group attached to Sevilla. Sevilla is locally perceived as the middle-class club in the Seville derby, in contrast to working-class Real Betis. The largest ultras groups who follow Real Madrid and Barcelona (the two clubs in Spain's most famous rivalry, El Clásico ) are right-wing. The hostility between them springs from their profiles as the symbolic representatives of Castile and Catalonia, which escalated under the Madrid-based ruling fascist regime of Francisco Franco during the mid-20th century and continued into the 21st, with many Barcelona supporters visibly sympathetic to the Catalan independence movement. As a result, the team is met with anger by other clubs' fans when they visit. Barcelona's claimed position as the persecuted team in their relationship with Madrid contrasts with their city rivalry with Espanyol, who are aligned towards Spanish unionism and whose owners see Barça as the club unfairly favored by Catalonian lawmakers. Real Madrid's rivalry with Athletic Bilbao, the most successful team in the Basque region, involves differences in culture and ideology; its competitive element has diminished in an era of global exposure and recruitment, however, due to Athletic's policy of using local players to emphasize pride in their origins.
In Italy, the Derby della Capitale in Rome is often characterized by political tension. Some of Lazio's ultras used swastikas and fascist symbols on their banners, and they have engaged in racist behavior during the derbies. At a derby during the 1998–99 season, some laziali unfurled a 50-meter banner which read, "Auschwitz is your town, the ovens are your houses". Black players from A.S. Roma have often experienced racist and other offensive behavior.During the late 1970s, Lazio developed a strong rivalry with Pescara Calcio. The far-right Lazio ultras consider A.S. Livorno Calcio and Atalanta, both with strong left-wing leanings, to be among their ideological antagonists. Livorno also clashes with opposing right-wing supporter groups, especially those of Inter Milan and Verona. Lazio player Paolo Di Canio and his Livorno counterpart, Cristiano Lucarelli, have given controversial, ideological salutes to fans during matches.
The Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem F.C. has far-right leanings, and are known for their refusal to allow Muslim-Arab players onto the club. Their most vocal supporters are the controversial, nationalist La Familia group.Fans chant anti-Arab and racist slogans in and outside the stadium, and the club has been penalized a number of times for their behavior. Their chief rival is the Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C., known for its left-wing leanings, and politics is the main impetus for their rivalry. Fans of the clubs often clash violently.
A number of matches have ended in disputes and skirmishes.
The most infamous combination of politics and sport was the Football War between El Salvador and Honduras. Although the build-up to the war involved socioeconomic issues such as immigration and land reform, its impetus was hostility by rioters during the second North American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. Disturbances broke out during the first game in Tegucigalpa, and the second leg saw the situation worsen in San Salvador. Honduran fans were roughed up, the Honduran flag and national anthem were insulted, and the emotions of both nations ran high. In retaliation, violence against Salvadoran residents in Honduras (including several vice-consuls) increased. An unknown number of Salvadorans were killed or injured, and tens of thousands began to flee the country. The press of both countries contributed to a climate of near-hysteria and, on June 27, 1969, an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on July 20, with Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August.
Israel was one of the founding members of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) after it became independent in 1948; before then, it played as Mandatory Palestine/ Eretz Israel .After Israel's tense 0–1 loss to Iran in the final of the 1974 Asian Games in Iran, Kuwait and other Muslim and Arab countries refused to play them. Expelled from the confederation, Israel spent several years trying to qualify for the OFC (Oceania) before joining UEFA (Europe).
In the 1986 Mexico World Cup, after the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, Argentina and England met in the quarter-finals and Diego Maradona scored both goals in a 2–1 victory for the South Americans. Maradona attributed his first goal to the hand of God; his second goal has been called the Goal of the Century, and he said that the win was revenge for Argentina's defeat in the Falklands.
At the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, Iran recorded their first World Cup victory in the second game; they defeated the United States 2–1, with Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia scoring the Iranian goals. Although tension was expected because of each country's political stance after the Iranian Revolution, both sides presented one another with gifts and flowers and stood together for a photograph before the match.
The 2004 AFC Asian Cup in China made headlines due to events during the final between China and Japan, apparently because of relations between the countries dating back to the World War II era which included the Nanjing Massacre.As the Japanese national anthem was played, home fans expressed anti-Japanese sentiment by drowning out the anthem with chants. Chinese fans booed the players, visiting fans, and officials as Japan defeated China 3–1, rioting after the match outside the Beijing Workers' Stadium.
Despite ethnic factionalism in their country, Iraq won the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. After a previous-round win, Iraqi military spokesman Qassim Moussawi said that they wanted to stop "terrorists, Sunni extremists, and criminals from targeting the joy of the people." ...this is more important than that ...This has brought great happiness to the whole country. This is not about a team, this is about human beings." Saudi coach Hélio dos Anjossaid, "Iraq deserved to win today ...They were very motivated and we knew the whole world was supporting this team."Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said that it was disappointing that they could not celebrate at home with the fans. Many, however, hailed the victory as a show of unity; according to Iraq's Brazilian coach, Jorvan Vieira, "This is not just about football
On September 6, 2008, Armenia and Turkey again faced each other in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification match in Yerevan. Turkish president Abdullah Gül was invited to watch the match, and he and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan sat together behind bullet-proof glass. The Turkish national anthem was almost drowned out by booing from 35,000 Armenian fans, however, indicating continued mistrust between the countries. However, the gesture "between the presidents showed that they believed 'football diplomacy' had achieved the most important result."[ This quote needs a citation ] This was a first for the countries, which have been divided after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
In 2009, France and the Republic of Ireland met in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification play-off; the winner of the two-legged tie progressed to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. After a 1–1 aggregate draw, the match went into extra time at France's National Stadium. The winning goal came from France's William Gallas, but Thierry Henry twice handled the ball before passing to Gallas to score. It was called a "hand of Frog" goal, referring to Diego Maradona's "hand of God" goal in the 1986 World Cup match between Argentina and England. It then became an international incident with Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen demanding a replay and the French President telling him to "stick to politics".
In 2010, relations between Iran and the United Arab Emirates took a turn for the worse when the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran sent a letter to the Asian Football Confederation complaining about the misuse of the Persian Gulf name. "The move was made after the UAE misrepresented the name Persian Gulf during a match between Iran's Sepahan and the UAE's Al Ain. The Emirate television displayed various banners showing a fictitious name for the Persian Gulf during the match between Iran's Sepahan and the UAE's Al Ain. In addition to comments from the UAE comparing the three disputed islands (Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, held by Iran) to the occupation of Palestine, calls were made to downgrade ties.This also comes after the Islamic Solidarity Games, to be held in Iran, were canceled over the dispute of the Persian Gulf label.
The Netherlands saw riots after the 11 March 2017 game against Turkey by its Turkish community and in Turkey against the Dutch embassy.
For the UEFA European Championship qualification, Gibraltar and Spain cannot be drawn together because of the disputed status of Gibraltar. The same rule is in place for Azerbaijan and Armenia because of poor relations between two countries, and it was imposed for Russia and Georgia after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. However, it was lifted for the Euro 2016 tournament when Gibraltar and Spain agreed to play each other again.
Former Russian anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov said that he recognized one of the players on Russia's 2018 World Cup team from his doping program, when he reportedly hid positive tests.
|Camille Dimmer||Luxembourg||Luxembourg (1957–1964)||Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg (1989–1994)|
General Secretary of the Christian Social People's Party (1990–1995)
New York Cosmos (1975–1977)
|Extraordinary Minister of Sport (1995–1998)|
|Mustafa Mansour||Egypt|| Egypt |
General Secretary of CAF (1958–1961)
|Ahmed Ben Bella||Algeria||Olympique Marseille (1939–1940)|| Prime Minister of Algeria (1962–1963)|
President of Algeria (1963–1965)
|George Weah||Liberia|| Liberia |
|Presidential candidate in the 2005 Liberian general election |
President of Liberia (January 2018–present)
|Don Rossiter||England||Leyton Orient||Mayor of Rochester, Kent|
|Garan Fabou Kouyate||Mali||Referee|
|Albert Guðmundsson||Iceland|| Arsenal |
|Candidate in the 1980 Icelandic presidential election |
Member of the Althing
Minister of Finance
Minister of Industry
Ambassador to France
|Father of Ingi Björn Albertsson|
|Ingi Björn Albertsson||Iceland||Iceland||Member of the Althing (1987–1995)||Son of Albert Guðmundsson|
|Oleg Blokhin||Soviet Union, Ukraine|| Soviet Union |
|Member of the Parliament of Ukraine|
|Carlos Bilardo||Argentina|| San Lorenzo de Almagro |
|Buenos Aires Province Secretary of Sports|
|József Bozsik||Hungary|| Hungary |
Budapest Honvéd FC
|Member of the National Assembly of Hungary (1953–1957)|
|Toshiro Tomochika||Japan||Ehime FC||Diet of Japan (2007–present)|
|Danny Jordaan||South Africa||Member of the Parliament of South Africa (1994–1997)|
|Randy Horton||Bermuda|| Bermuda |
New York Cosmos
|Member of the Parliament of Bermuda (1998–present)|
|Éric Di Meco||France|| France |
|William Clegg||England|| England |
|Lord Mayor of Sheffield (1898)|
|Roberto Dinamite||Brazil|| Brazil |
Vasco da Gama
|State Assembly of Rio de Janeiro (1994–present)|
|Romário||Brazil||Brazil||Senate of Brazil (2010–present)|
|Bebeto||Brazil|| Brazil |
Deportivo La Coruña
|Gianni Rivera||Italy|| Italy |
|Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy (1994–2001)|
Undersecretary for Defense (2000–2001)
Member of the European Parliament (2005–2009)
|Kakha Kaladze||Georgia|| Georgia |
|Minister of Energy |
Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia
Mayor of Tbilisi
|José Francisco Cevallos||Ecuador|| Ecuador |
|Ecuadorian Minister of Sports (2011–present)|
|Roman Kosecki||Poland||Poland (1998–1995)||Member of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland (2007–?)|
|Roman Pavlyuchenko||Russia|| Russia |
|Member of Stavropol regional council|
|Kaj Leo Johannesen||Faroe Islands||Faroe Islands||Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands|
|Titi Camara||Guinea|| Guinea |
West Ham United
|Minister of Sport||[ citation needed ]|
|Detlef Irrgang||Germany||Energie Cottbus||Councillor in Cottbus for the CDU|
|Zico (footballer)||Brazil||Brazil||Minister of Sport (1990)|
|Lawrie McKinna||Scotland, Australia||Kilmarnock||Mayor of the City of Gosford (2012–present)|
|Alistair Edwards||Australia||Australia (1991–1997)||Councillor of City of Cockburn (2000–2005)|
|Hakan Şükür||Turkey|| Turkey |
|Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (2011–2015)|
|Marc Wilmots||Belgium|| Belgium (1990–2002)|
Belgium manager (2012–2016)
|Member of Belgian Senate (2003–2005)|
|Thomas Bodström||Sweden||AIK (1987–1989)||Minister for Justice (2000–2006)|
|William Kennedy Gibson||Northern Ireland|| Ireland (1894–1902)|
Irish League XI (1894–1902)
Bishop Auckland (1902)
Sunderland Royal Rovers (1903)
|Member of Belfast City Council (1909–Unknown), 1929 Northern Ireland general election candidate|
|Oleg Malyshkin||Russia|| Torpedo Taganrog |
|Head of Tatsinsky District (1997–2001), Chief of Staff of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (2001–2003), Member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia State Duma (2003–2007), 2004 Russian presidential election candidate|
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, commonly referred to as Real Madrid, is a Spanish professional football club based in Madrid.
Iran national football team, stylized as IR Iran by FIFA since 2018, represents Iran in international football and is controlled by the Iran Football Federation. Between December 2014 until May 2018, Iran was the highest-ranked team in Asia, the longest continuous period of time that a team has held that distinction.
Millwall Football Club is a professional football club in Bermondsey, South East London, England. They compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. Founded as Millwall Rovers in 1885, the club has retained its name despite having last played in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in 1910. From then until 1993, the club played at what is now called The Old Den in New Cross, before moving to its current home stadium nearby, called The Den. The traditional club crest is a lion rampant, referred to in the team's nickname 'The Lions'. Millwall's traditional kit consists of dark blue shirts, white shorts, and blue socks.
The Croatia national football team represents Croatia in men's international football matches and is controlled by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS). Most home matches are played at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb while other smaller venues are also used. The team was recognised by both FIFA and UEFA following dissolution of Yugoslavia. Sides were active during periods of political upheaval, representing sovereign states such as the Banovina of Croatia from 1939 to 1941 or the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to 1944.
Association football culture refers to the cultural aspects surrounding the game of association football. As the sport is global, the culture of the game is diverse, with varying degrees of overlap and distinctiveness in each country. In many countries, football has ingrained itself into the national culture, and parts of life may revolve around it. Many countries have daily football newspapers, as well as football magazines. Football players, especially in the top levels of the game, have become role models.
Ultras are a type of association football fans who are renowned for their fanatical support. The term originated in Italy but it is used worldwide to describe predominantly organised fans of association football teams. The behavioural tendency of ultras groups includes their use of flares, vocal support in large groups and the displaying of banners at football stadiums, all of which are designed to create an atmosphere which encourages their own team and intimidates the opposing players and their supporters. The frequent use of elaborate displays in stadiums is also common.
Football hooliganism or soccer hooliganism constitutes violent or belligerent behaviour perpetrated by spectators at association football events. Football hooliganism normally involves conflict between gangs, in English known as football firms, formed to intimidate and attack supporters of other teams. Other English-language terms commonly used in connection with hooligan firms include "army", "boys", "bods", "casuals", and "crew". Certain clubs have long-standing rivalries with other clubs and hooliganism associated with matches between them is likely to be more severe.
Hapoel Haifa Football Club is an Israeli football club located in Haifa. The club won one championship (1998–99) and 4 Israeli cups. The team is also known as "The Sharks". The club's home is the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, in which they have played since their departure from Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in 2014 and Kiryat Haim's Thomas D'Alesandro Stadium in 1955. The colours of the team's home kit are red throughout. The away colours are white shirts, and black shorts and socks.
De Klassieker is the main football rivalry of the Netherlands, between Ajax and Feyenoord. The record attendance was on 9 January 1966, when 65,562 watched in Rotterdam.
The Millwall Bushwackers are the most notorious football firm associated with Millwall Football Club. The club and fans of Millwall have a historic association with football hooliganism, which came to prevalence in the 1970s and 1980s with a firm known originally as F-Troop, eventually becoming more widely known as the Millwall Bushwackers, who were one of the most notorious hooligan gangs in England. On five occasions The Den was closed by the Football Association and the club has received numerous fines for crowd disorder. Millwall's hooligans are regarded by their rivals as amongst the stiffest competition, with Manchester United hooligan Colin Blaney describing them as being within the 'top four' firms in his autobiography 'Undesirables' and West Ham hooligan Cass Pennant featuring them on his Top Boys TV YouTube channel, on which this fearsome reputation for violence was described. Additionally, Millwall Bushwackers were heavily affiliated with far-right political party National Front during their respective peak in the 1980s.
El Clásico or el clásico is the name given in football to any match between fierce rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Originally it referred only to those competitions held in the Spanish championship, but nowadays the term has been generalized, and tends to include every single match between the two clubs: UEFA Champions League, Copa del Rey, etc. Other than the UEFA Champions League Final, it is considered one of the biggest club football games in the world, and is among the most viewed annual sporting events. A fixture known for its intensity, it has featured memorable goal celebrations from both teams, often involving mocking the opposition.
The South Wales derby is a local derby between Welsh association football clubs Cardiff City and Swansea City. The fixture has been described by The Independent as one of the fiercest rivalries in British football. Although based in Wales, both clubs play in the English football league system and have won English honours: Cardiff the FA Cup in 1927 and Swansea the Football League Cup in 2013.
The Derby of the eternal rivals, also called Mother of all battles, is a football local derby in the Athens - Piraeus urban area between the most successful clubs of Greece, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. The rivalry between the clubs and their fans is intense, thus this derby has always been a classic for the Greek capital, as well as the whole of Greece, the most prestigious in the country. The derby is traditionally included among the world's top 10 greatest football derbies by the international media, along with rivalries such as Real Madrid–Barcelona, Liverpool–Manchester United and Boca Juniors–River Plate. American network CNN has ranked the Olympiacos – Panathinaikos derby among the ten greatest football rivalries of all-time In October 2014, BBC named the Olympiacos – Panathinaikos derby as "Europe's maddest derby" and in September 2019, Daily Mirror ranked the derby of the eternal enemies as the fifth most important derby in the world.
The rivalry between Millwall and West Ham United is one of the longest-standing and most bitter in English football. The two teams, then known as Millwall Athletic and Thames Ironworks, both originated in the East End of London, and were located less than three miles apart. They first played each other in the 1899–1900 FA Cup. The match was historically known as the Dockers derby, as both sets of supporters were predominantly dockers at shipyards on either side of the River Thames. Consequently, each set of fans worked for rival firms who were competing for the same business; this intensified the tension between the teams. In 1904, West Ham moved to the Boleyn Ground which was then part of Essex until a London boundary change in 1965. In 1910, Millwall moved across the River Thames to New Cross in South London and the teams were no longer East London neighbours. Both sides have relocated since, but remain just under four miles apart. Millwall moved to The Den in Bermondsey in 1993 and West Ham to the London Stadium in Stratford in 2016.
Galatasaray Spor Kulübü is a professional football club based on the European side of the city of Istanbul in Turkey. It is the association football branch of the larger Galatasaray Sports Club of the same name, itself a part of the Galatasaray Community Cooperation Committee which includes Galatasaray High School where the football club was founded in October 1905 consisting entirely of student members. The team traditionally play in dark shades of red and yellow at home, with the shirts split down the middle between the two colours.
Beşiktaş–Galatasaray is a Turkish football rivalry involving two of the most successful clubs in the Süper Lig. It is also a local derby, one of many involving Istanbul clubs.
Beginning in at least the 1960s, the United Kingdom gained a reputation worldwide for football hooliganism; the phenomenon was often dubbed the British or English Disease. However, since the 1980s and well into the 1990s the UK government has led a widescale crackdown on football related violence. While football hooliganism has been a growing concern in some continental European countries in recent years, British football fans now tend to have a better reputation abroad. Although reports of British football hooliganism still surface, the instances now tend to occur at pre-arranged locations rather than at the matches themselves.
The Iran and Saudi Arabia national football teams are sporting rivals who have played each other since 1975.
There are several notable football rivalries in Spain, some of which attract worldwide attention.