Sport

Capitalism and Sport

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Over the summer most of us will have been unable to ignore the tennis at Wimbledon, the IAAF athletics World Championships in Moscow and the start of the football season in August. During this period tens of millions of people will have tuned in to the media to share in the agony and ecstasy that accompany all sport.

Whether you like it or not, either participating, watching or both, sport plays an incredibly important role in society today. In reading this fascinating book, I could not but help recognise its link to my own experiences.

Strikes, soccer and sanctions: an interview with Mahmoud Sarsak

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Mahmoud Sarsak is a professional footballer who was arrested in 2009 and imprisoned in Israel for three years without charge. In April 2012 he joined the coordinated hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners. Riya Al'Sanah and Estelle Cooch interviewed him for Socialist Review.


Can you explain a bit about who you are and what you have been part of?

My name is Mahmoud Kemal Sarsak. I'm 26 years old and I was previously a player in the national Palestinian football team and I am now a released Palestinian prisoner. I was arrested on 22 July 2009 while travelling to join my new club at the time - Balata Youth in the West Bank. The Israeli secret services said they did not have enough evidence to send me to trial so I was held unlawfully for three years without charge.

Hamstrung by racism

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Why has racism returned to the "beautiful game"?

The beginning of a new year is traditionally regarded as one of the highlights of the football season. As we enter 2013 however, the self-proclaimed "beautiful game" limps on, hamstrung by a series of events which have exposed the racism that remains endemic and continues to leave an ugly stain. By the end of 2012 this had led to the resignation of former Commission for Racial Equality chair Herman Ouseley from the FA Council and the start of serious discussions about the establishment of a breakaway black players union.

Which Paralympian legacy?

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The Paralympics were, it is universally agreed, the most successful yet. All the venues sold out, and Channel 4's coverage reached just shy of 40 million people.

Almost eight million viewers in the UK watched the closing ceremony.

Organisers hailed "the seismic effect in shifting public attitudes" to disability sports, claiming the games had changed public perception of disabled people forever. A poll taken immediately afterwards found that eight out of ten British adults thought that Paralympics 2012 had had a positive impact on the way disabled people were viewed by the public.

The Olympics: a nation united?

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Now that the hysteria has subsided, Brian Richardson asks whether the Olympics lived up to their promise

"It just cannot get better than this! This is us, our time, our country, our Mo Farah. Crowd of our time; tears of our time. Hope for all time." Those were the words with which journalist Jon Snow greeted Mohammed Farah's victory in the Men's Olympic 5,000 metres final. Elsewhere there was similar hysteria as commentators rushed to celebrate "Team GB". London 2012 was, we were told, a triumph for the nation.

The decline and fall of Rangers FC

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Back in February Glasgow Rangers Football Club entered administration. The administrators claimed there were short-term problems and the club would be back to normal shortly. In the period since there have been almost daily revelations about toxic bank debt, tax avoidance, cheating on the football field and legal investigations that may result in charges of fraud and corruption. On 14 June Rangers' creditors refused to accept the administrators' offer of a 3p payment for every pound owed. The result was the liquidation of the club. How did this happen?

The politics of the Olympics

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The London 2012 Olympics look set to be a jamboree of profiteering and nationalism. Brian Richardson recalls how past Olympics have been the site of struggles against racism

The Olympic Games have been associated with three of the most inspirational moments in the struggle for black emancipation. In August 1936 Jesse Owens confounded and humiliated the Nazi dictator Hitler by winning an unprecedented four gold medals at the games in Berlin. Twenty four years later Cassius Clay was crowned as the light heavyweight boxing champion in Rome. He was lauded on his return to the US, but still found himself refused service in "whites only" restaurants and targeted by racist gangs.

Keep kicking

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If you thought racism in football was as outdated as Kevin Keegan's bubble perm or Chris Waddle's mullet haircut, then recent events will have been a real wake-up call.

Football has moved from the back pages of our daily papers to the front, and for all the wrong reasons. Once again racism is rearing its ugly head.

First there was the case of Liverpool player Luis Suarez racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011. The Football Association found Suarez guilty, gave him an eight-match ban and fined him £40,000. This was followed by England and Chelsea captain John Terry allegedly racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry has now been charged by the police and was stripped of his captaincy of England.

Pirates of the Bundesliga

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If you hate football with every fibre in your body, then read on. If you love football with a passion, then you need to read on too.

How can I square this circle, I hear you ask. The answer to this conundrum lies in Hamburg, Germany. There, nestling between the Reeperbahn (Hamburg's red-light district), the docks, and poor migrant and working class neighbourhoods is the Millerntor stadium, home to the football team St Pauli.

Tour de France: Chain Gang Convicts of the Road

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July sees the annual highlight of the cycling road-race calendar - the Tour de France.

It is one of the hardest endurance events in world sport and offers a chance to follow the team tactics of road racing, while marvelling at the riders' athleticism and will power. In 20 separate day long stage races 22 teams of nine riders will cover 2,283 miles, and in the process traverse some of the highest mountains in France.

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