Written in 2009 by Danny Mammo, Risa Isard, Velihan Erdogdu and Brian Kim
Edited and Updated in 2013 by Maggie Lin and Patricia Spears
June 17, 2009. Several players of the Iranian National Football Team wore green wristbands to make a political statement against the June 12th elections.
Welcome to our pages on soccer and politics in the Middle East. Here, we’ve explored how soccer has played a role in Turkish-European relations, has showed promising signs for a rebuilding Iraq while evoking memories of the past, has served as a platform for protesting the 2009 Iranian presidential elections and is creating social change for women in an otherwise paternal environment.
In all of these spaces, soccer has served as a tool that can navigate these difficulties and help express national and individual identity. National teams should represent entire countries. It is not a new concept, but it has not always true. Often times, teams are made of select individuals with whom the public cannot identify. However, there have been a few occasions when a national soccer team has come to symbolize an entire country; in which, citizens felt the ecstasy of each triumph and the crushing blow of each defeat collectively. In this way, soccer can be a transformative medium for identity. Both national and club teams can take on this significance. Similarly, people must individually navigate the tensions among the various components of their identities, and soccer is a platform in which they can do this. This website will illustrate ways in which individuals, as well as collective groups, have used soccer as a tool to reconcile tensions and to assert themselves and their respective identities.
The Galatasaray Logo.
Iranian national team wearing green wristbands
Palestinian-Jordanian Women’s National Team Game
How to cite this article: “An Exploration of Politics & The Beautiful Game in the Middle East,” Written by Velihan Erdogdu, Risa Isard, Danny Mammo and Brian Kim (2009), Edited and Updated by Maggie Lin and Patricia Spears (2013), Soccer Politics Pages, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp (accessed on (date)).
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