Sport

Women's Fightback: Don't trust the "ethics committees"

Rogério Caboclo, the Brazilian Football Confederation president, has been suspended after accusations of “sexual and moral harassment”. The suspension comes just days after the announcement that Brazil will host the Copa America, Brazil was chosen at the last minute after Colombia was forced to withdraw because of anti-government protests and co-host Argentina was ruled out due to coronavirus infection rates. The worker alleges Caboclo called her into his office and asked her to remove her mask and offered her alcohol. The employee messaged two CBF directors who came and “rescued” her. However...

Super League? An absolute shocker

Europe’s richest football clubs have announced an exclusive Super League, but have met with near-unanimous opposition. This is a move by Europe’s richest clubs, not its best clubs. One of England’s “Big Six” founding this Super League, Tottenham Hotspur, has not won the domestic league title for sixty years! Of the three clubs involved from Italy’s Serie A, one (AC Milan) has not qualified for the Champions League for the past eight seasons. These clubs would be the only members of this “Super League”. With no promotion into or relegation out of it, they would not have to play to a decent...

Abuse in football: more reckoning to come

On 17 March, Clive Sheldon QC reported on the investigation he chaired into the sexual abuse of boys in football between 1970 and 2005. Five days later, the BBC began broadcasting its three-part documentary on the subject. Both the report and the documentary revealed the horrifying extent of abuse, the authorities’ failure to protect the boys, and the long struggle for justice. Many working-class lads dream of becoming footballers. They love the beautiful game, they know they are good at it while doubting they are good at anything else, and they aspire to be the heroes they cheer from the...

Brutality as beautiful

The Morning Star aspires to being a left-wing alternative to mainstream tabloids. Thus the paper includes sports pages, arts reviews, a crossword, a gardening column, and even a cookery spot (“The Commie Chef”). The paper’s boxing coverage is by one John Wight, a failed Hollywood screenwriter and well-known figure on the Scottish left. The title of his book This Boxing Game: A Journey in Beautiful Brutality gives a strong clue as to how he regards the “sport”. A recent Wight column in the Morning Star (“Boxing as violence”) purports to examine what he calls the “contradiction that many writers...

Semenya: a cruel decision

An abridged version of this appeared in Solidarity505. I started in athletics as a 15 year old middle distance runner in 2009, meaning Caster Semenya was incredibly formative to me, serving as a huge inspiration and becoming one of my heroes. I watched the Berlin World Championships, so famous for Usain Bolt’s world record display, but while I greatly admired the best sprinter of all time, it was Caster Semenya that made me fall in love with athletics. It was recently announced that the IAAF have found evidence that highly elevated levels of testosterone in women is correlated with greater...

Lily Parr, a footballing great

Lily Parr (26 April 1905 – 24 May 1978) is a working class LGBT icon and was one of the greatest footballers of all time. The upheaval of the social order during and after the First World War is well documented, but less known is its profound effect on football. There was a major surge of participation and interest in women’s football when large numbers of working-class women entered the workplace, including munitions factories in which Parr worked during the war. In those factories in places such as Coventry, women lived in on-site houses and football teams emerged, organised on a factory-by...

LETTER: A terrain of struggle

I agreed with much of Omar Raii’s article about the political content of football. I’d like to suggest some friendly amendments to his argument. Firstly, while he is clearly right that nationalism plays into and feeds off tournaments like the World Cup, I’m not convinced that this is as mechanical a relationship as is sometimes suggested. England’s unexpectedly brilliant performance doesn’t seem to have given any kind of electoral filip for Brexit or the government. Similarly, despite Emanuel Macron’s embarrassing theatrics at the final, France’s World Cup win has done nothing to bolster his...

Football is a sport, and is neither progressive nor reactionary

Knowing all the words to an aria by Puccini or being obsessed with the poems of Chaucer are much less likely to invite political analysis onto its possible progressive or reactionary implications than supporting a football team in the World Cup does. And it would be silly to ignore the at least superficially progressive or inspiring things that come about every four years when a World Cup is on. This time we saw countries whose football teams have historically been laughing stocks doing incredibly well thanks to their immigrant players — think Belgium or Switzerland. We saw small countries...

Football versus fat-cat developers

A dispute between Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and the owners of their stadium in south London sharply escalated in the week beginning 5 March. Property developer Meadow Residential has evicted the club from their Champion Hill ground. A subsidiary of the company also wrote claiming to have trademarked “Dulwich Hamlet”, demanding the club no longer use the name. Five years ago, US property developers Meadow Residential bought the Champion Hill ground for £5.6 million. They promised that their plans to redevelop the land would include a decent provision of social housing, as well as...

Standing together in football

In 1986, Middlesbrough Football Club was on the verge of being thrown into administration. It was Friday 22 August — the eve of the season, and the gates had been padlocked. Cleveland Police had advised Middlesbrough that they were unable to play their first home game at their then home ground, Ayresome Park. The Football League stated that if Boro were unable to fulfil this fixture then they would face expulsion from the Football League. At the eleventh hour, a lifeline was thrown to our club from our neighbours and footballing rivals, Hartlepool United who offered Boro the opportunity to...

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