Tag Archive: Soccer

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Egyptian President Promises Change to Ease Pressure

Faced with a drop in popularity, intermittent protests against rising prices, and calls for a mass anti-government demonstration, Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, is seeking to appease the country’s youth, soccer fans and activists with promises of change.

Soft Power Strategy: Iceland and Qatar

The soccer soft power contrast between Qatar and Iceland speaks volumes. A comparison of the strategies of both countries demonstrates that it takes more than money to leverage soccer to create political, geopolitical and economic opportunity. Money and world soccer body FIFA’s desire to take one of the world’s foremost sporting events beyond Europe and the Americas helped Qatar win the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Six years after the awarding, Qatar is a nation under fire by human rights and labour activists for its controversial labour regime, has yet to convincingly counter widespread suspicions of wrongdoing in…
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Jihad Versus Soccer: Islamic State’s Convoluted Love-Hate Relationship

If the Islamic State (IS) was serious about attacking Euro 2016, its plans clearly never materialized. Leaked transcripts of the interrogation of one of the attackers of Brussels Airport in March leave little doubt however that soccer figures prominently on the group’s target list. So does this month’s beheading in Raqqa of four Syrian players. Yet, what emerges from analysis of IS’s policies is a convoluted love-hate relationship with the world’s most widespread expression of popular culture. Mohammed Abrini, a Belgian of Moroccan, descent, gained notoriety as the man with a white hat, after he was seen walking away in…
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Egyptian fans carry placards and the national flag (AFP)

Egypt Inches Towards Return of Militant Fans to Stadium Terraces

Egypt may be inching towards a return to the stands of soccer fans, who played a key role in the 2011 toppling of President Hosni Mubarak and have been barred entry into stadiums for much of the last five years. Clubs, players and fans see a June 28 CAF Champions League match between storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC and Ivory Coast’s ASEC Mimosas Abidjan as a dry run for a gradual lifting of the ban that has repeatedly sparked at times deadly clashes between militant, street battle-hardened fans and security forces. International matches have been largely exempted from the…
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Turkey and Egypt: Battle to Control Dissent Pitches Fans Against Autocrats

Battles for control of stadiums and other public spaces in Turkey and Egypt have pitched militant soccer fans against authoritarian leaders determined to limit the supporters’ ability to challenge their authority. As a result, a struggle that comes on the back of years of confrontation in the stadiums and mass, watershed anti-government protests that in 2011 toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and in 2013 rocked Turkey and reinforced President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s autocratic instincts, has moved beyond stadiums. In Egypt, general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated a new office of the Interior Ministry at the Police Academy in New Cairo, east…
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