Soccer vs. the State
284 pages

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284 pages

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Soccer has turned into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Professionalism and commercialization dominate its global image. Yet the game retains a rebellious side, maybe more so than any other sport co-opted by moneymakers and corrupt politicians. From its roots in working-class England to political protests by players and fans, and a current radical soccer underground, the notion of football as the “people’s game” has been kept alive by numerous individuals, teams, and communities.

This book not only traces this history but also reflects on common criticisms—that soccer ferments nationalism, serves right-wing powers, and fosters competitiveness—exploring alternative perspectives and practical examples of egalitarian DIY soccer. Soccer vs. the State serves both as an orientation for the politically conscious football supporter and as an inspiration for those who try to pursue the love of the game away from televisions and big stadiums, bringing it to back alleys and muddy pastures.

This second edition has been expanded to cover events of recent years, including the involvement of soccer fans in the Middle Eastern uprisings of 2011–2013, the FIFA scandal of 2015, and the 2017 strike by the Danish women’s team.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 février 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781629635897
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


There is no sport that reflects the place where sports and politics collide quite like soccer. Athlete-activist Gabriel Kuhn has captured that by going to a place where other sports writers fear to tread. Here is the book that will tell you how soccer explains the world while offering means to improve it.
-Dave Zirin, author of Bad Sports
In an era when football appears captured by the forces of money and power, straitjacketed by the needs of corporations and international bureaucracies, Gabriel Kuhn s Soccer vs. the State is a wondrous reminder of all the times and ways and places where football has slipped its chains and offers what it always promised: new solidarities and identities a site of resistance, a celebration of spontaneity and play.
-David Goldblatt, author of The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer
The personal commitment and experiences that Kuhn brings to the text, combined with his accessible prose, make this book appealing to a large and diverse audience of sports academics from multiple disciplines and to a general public of radical fans and non-fans alike.
-Melissa M. Forbis in Journal of Sport History
Kuhn is impressive in his global and historical scope, and in acknowledging gender and sexuality questions as well as those of class and race, as he looks at issues ranging from the exploitation of African players to the way the World Cup has been abused politically.
-Tom Davies in When Saturday Comes
In 1971, my sister Meredith and I successfully disrupted the Australia vs. South Africa rugby encounter at the Sydney Cricket Ground as anti-apartheid activists. This demonstrated not only the intrinsic relationship between sport and politics but also the significance of sport as a vehicle for political protest. Soccer vs. the State shows how activists and players alike have made use of this in football, the world s most popular and most beautiful game-an encouraging and inspiring read!
-Verity Burgmann, professor of political science, Melbourne University
Gabriel Kuhn has written the program notes for the most important match of all, The People s Game vs. Modern Football.
-Mark Perryman, cofounder of Philosophy Football
If you are a soccer fan, this book is a must, especially if your politics lean left.
-Ron Jacobs in Counterpunch
if, for example, you consider yourself part of Occupy movement, but are also wondering where you can catch the Arsenal game, you ll truly enjoy this book.
-Mark Dober in Maximumrocknroll
What writer Dave Zirin has done to reclaim US sports as a radical issue, Gabriel Kuhn has done for the most popular sport in the world.
-Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
One to pick up if you think there s more to footy than replica kits and official snackfoods.
- Sport Magazine
Amazing journey through the history and politics of football from a radical perspective.
- Canny Little Library
This is a passionate book with an intriguing angle that adds importantly to the new literature on the sociology of the game. A funny, extremely informative and highly recommendable read!
-Aina Tollefsen, Institute for Social and Economic Geography, Ume University
An indispensable, global guide to radical football and radical politics. At a time when so much about the beautiful game has become ugly, Kuhn provides us with a timely reminder that indeed, football can be part of the revolution. Read it and resist!
-Dale T. McKinley, cofounder of South Africa s Anti-Privatisation Forum
Soccer vs. the State is an informative and thought provoking read that could be easily read by those with or without in-depth knowledge of football. It is essential reading for the football fan with an interest in politics, or the radical political thinker with an interest in football. Highly recommended.
- Hereford Heckler
Kuhn knows soccer and is a fan of the game. His book will help you understand why soccer is and can be more than simply a corporate spectacle . Another soccer is possible!
-Shaun Harkin in Socialist Worker
I d just read a book by Gabriel Kuhn called Soccer vs. the State and I d realized that we d been running our brewery as an anarchist collective for nearly five years.
-Donavan Hall

Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics
Gabriel Kuhn
PM Press 2019
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published by:
PM Press
PO Box 23912
Oakland, CA 94623
Cover by John Yates/Stealworks
Interior design by briandesign
ISBN: 978-1-62963-572-9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2018931524
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
This edition first published in Canada in 2018 by Between the Lines
401 Richmond Street West, Studio 281, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3A8, Canada 1-800-718-7201
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be photocopied, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher or (for photocopying in Canada only) Access Copyright .
Canadian cataloguing information is available from Library and Archives Canada.
ISBN 978-1-77113-380-7 Soccer vs. the State paperback
ISBN 978-1-77113-381-4 Soccer vs. the State epub
ISBN 978-1-77113-382-1 Soccer vs. the State pdf
Printed in the USA by the Employee Owners of Thomson-Shore in Dexter, Michigan.
Preface to the Second Edition
Foreword by Boff Whalley
History: Truths and Myths about Football as a Working-Class Sport
Radical Debates on Football Football and Politics
Football s Role as an Opiate of the Masses
Nationalism and Sectarianism
Fan Violence
The Commercialization of the Game and the New Football Economy
Bigotry in Football Culture
Radical Interventions in the Professional Game
A Stage for Protests
Social Justice Campaigns
Clubs as Cooperatives, Not as Corporations
Alternative Football Culture
Grassroots and Underground Football Culture
Football for Radicals
Extra Time: Appendix to the Second Edition
Ultras in Middle East Uprisings: 2011-2013
Protest, Intervention, Change: Activism in Soccer
The FIFA Scandal of 2015
Keeping It Real: Alternative Football Cont.
Challenging Male Dominance One Strike at a Time: The Women s Soccer Rebellion
Reflections and Outlook: Three Interviews
About the author
Preface to the Second Edition
The first edition of this book came out eight years ago. In broad strokes, the world of soccer still looks the same: there is an increasingly commercialized game of professionals at the top, managed by corrupt administrators and greedy corporations, and a grassroots game at the bottom that provides millions of people with joy, confidence, and a sense of community. This book looks at the contradictions within the world of soccer and the efforts to bring out the best in it. Football occupies the minds and hearts of millions of people, and even for those who don t share this passion, the sport is too big and influential to be ignored. Football is a beautiful game, but the dreadful economic, social, and political realities we live under cast dark shadows over it. Football cannot change the world, but it can be part of the process.
Except for the correction of a few factual errors and misspellings, no changes have been made to the original text. The notes have been updated. A 67-page appendix covers important developments since 2011. Further bits of information are woven into the outline of the chapters below.
I owe great thanks to everyone who contributed texts, photos, and artwork to this book. All interviews and reprints are listed under Inserts ; all photographers and artists, as well as relevant information about their contributions and their work, can be found under Images. Resources includes information about books, magazines, films, music, and online resources of relevance for the political soccer fan. The section has been updated for this edition.
Soccer vs. the State starts with a chapter on political soccer history, Truths and Myths about Football as a Working-Class Sport. In the last few years, researchers have unearthed formerly neglected material, most notably on the role that the club Acad mica de Coimbra played in the struggle against the Portuguese military dictatorship and colonial empire in the 1960s and early 1970s, and on the organized soccer leagues of South African freedom fighters incarcerated on Robben Island.
Chapter 2 , Radical Debates on Football, discusses relevant questions for the politically inclined football fan: Is soccer an opiate for the masses? How does it relate to nationalism? Is fan violence a problem? How far has commercialization come? How widespread is bigotry? How does soccer relate to realpolitik?

Concerning the latter, the recent past has provided some telling examples. In Turkey, president Recep Tayyip Erdo an has been trying to influence the football league to gain political advantage for many years. In Liberia, former world-class striker George Weah s second bid for presidency was successful when he won the 2017 presidential elections.
Numerous examples have proven how big a factor nationalism still is in soccer. In Kurdistan, Amed SK, playing in the third T

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