ISIS Turns to Soccer for Recruitment

August 18, 2016

With mosques under increasing surveillance, the Islamic State has identified soccer as a recruiting ground. Abu Otaiba, the nom du guerre of a self-taught imam and Islamic State (IS) recruiter in Jordan, uses soccer to attract recruits. “We take them to farms, or private homes. There we...

Saudi-Iranian Diplomatic Row Moves to Soccer

January 05, 2016

Saudi soccer clubs are embroiled in the diplomatic breakdown between Riyadh and Tehran. Saudi Arabia and Iran, highlighting the domestic drivers of mounting tension that threatens to deepen sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, have taken their fierce tit-for-tat battle from the realm of...

Israel Struggles With Racist Underground

August 05, 2015

Government investigations over Beitar Jerusalem and La Familia suggest that Israel might seriously tackle racist soccer fans. Israel is struggling with groups linked to a banned nationalist party. The movements in question are at the forefront of racist, anti-Palestinian incidents. These include...

Blatter Reveals Shady World of Sport and Politics

July 05, 2015

Sepp Blatter admits that sports and politics are intertwined, as a shadow falls on European and Middle Eastern dealings. Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter unwittingly put his finger on two fundamental issues that underlie a corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer governance: the...

You Think Playing Like a Girl is Easy?

June 30, 2015

What it takes to play football like a girl. There’s money in women’s football, but not much of it, so you might need an extra job. You have to be your own biggest fan because media coverage is minimal. And you’d have to listen to suggestions like wearing tighter shorts to attract a...

A Brief History of Women’s Football

June 28, 2015

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup in full swing, Ariel Hessayon reflects on women’s surprisingly long involvement with football. While medieval girls and women played and were entertained by a variety of bat and ball games, the earliest specific association I know of comes from a mid-15th...

Blatter Helps AFC to Keep its Skeletons in the Closet

June 01, 2015

Amid FIFA corruption allegations, the Asian Football Confederation has ensured its own skeletons remain under lock and key. Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter has spun the world soccer body’s crisis as a public relations and reputation management issue, and a problem caused by individuals...

FIFA Arrests Put Corruption on the Agenda

May 27, 2015

FIFA and Sepp Blatter are used to annual meetings that run like clockwork. But US and Swiss police have made sure this time it’s different. FIFA’s annual meetings are normally formulaic affairs where everything goes to plan: grand speeches are held; pats on the back are summarily dished out;...

Israel Chides Soccer Club For Racism

April 21, 2015

The failure to confront Beitar Jerusalem and La Familia has entrenched Palestinian perceptions of an Israeli society that is inherently racist. Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has demanded that Beitar Jerusalem, a racist soccer club, retract recent statements that it...

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Moves to Soccer

March 30, 2015

Allegations of war crimes and calls to suspend Israel from FIFA dominate Palestinian and Israeli soccer. Legal and diplomatic battles in United Nations (UN) organizations and international sport associations are likely to shape Israeli-Palestinian ties following Binyamin Netanyahu’s electoral...

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