"Historically football and politics only coincided when there were photo opportunities or bandwagon-jumping in relation to a World Cup bid or appearance. In recent years football’s ever increasing impact has moved from the back to the front pages of newspapers, and people from the industry with large social media followings, such as Gary Neville and Marcus Rashford, have helped to highlight issues and influence policy decisions. Wyn Grant’s Political Football is therefore essential reading, looking at the impact of the game as a microcosm of both national and international political and social developments. Issues such as governance, abuse of power, wealth distribution, racism, corruption, misogyny and homophobia cannot be solved by the industry itself, and the self-regulation mantra of those in control helps to preserve the status quo. This book is a thought-provoking summary of where football presently stands in relation to these issues and offers some suggestions as to how to help the football world make progress." – Kieran Maguire, author of The Price of Football
Football has been largely exempt from the development of the regulatory state and has been left to govern itself. However, new media have raised the profile of the game and globalization has created new pressures as football clubs become pawns in the ambitions of states, consortia and wealthy individuals. Clubs offer an important sense of identity for fans, but the impersonality and distance of ownership can set up new tensions. In addition, corruption in the international governing body has been a significant problem and the sport’s symbiotic relationship with gambling continues to be a concern.
Wyn Grant examines the political economy of football and its uneasy relationship with the market. There are no off-the-shelf solutions for regulation, he argues, but the complexities of the game and its economic size demand more attention from government.
1. Introduction 2. Globalization 3. Football as a business 4. Labour, migration and racism 5. Football and gambling 6. Women's football 7. Regulation 8. Finding solutions: a new regulatory framework
Wyn Grant is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick.