Soccer Diplomacy

Soccer Diplomacy

International Relations and Football since 1914


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Although the game of soccer is known by many names around the world -- football, fútbol, Fußball, voetbal -- the sport is a universal language. Throughout the past century, governments have used soccer to further their diplomatic aims through a range of actions including boycotts, carefully orchestrated displays at matches, and more. In turn, soccer organizations have leveraged their power over membership and tournament decisions to play a role in international relations.

In Soccer Diplomacy, an international group of experts analyzes the relationship between soccer and diplomacy. Together, they investigate topics such as the use of soccer as a tool of nation-state--based diplomacy, soccer as a non-state actor, and the relationship between soccer and diplomatic actors in subnational, national, and transnational contexts. They also examine the sport as a conduit for representation, communication, and negotiation.

Drawing on a wealth of historical examples, the contributors demonstrate that governments must frequently address soccer as part of their diplomatic affairs. They argue that this single sport -- more than the Olympics, other regional multisport competitions, or even any other sport -- reveals much about international relations, how states attempt to influence foreign views, and regional power dynamics.