The Politics of Football in Latin America

By Will Flaherty, Langley King, Courtney Ginn, David Levine and David Nammour

Football has dominated South American culture ever since it arrived on the continent, and in turn has led to a worldwide domination of the sport by South Americans by many measures. South American nations have won half of the 18 World Cup titles all-time, produced perhaps two of the most transcendent players of all time in Pele and Maradona, and captured the creative imagination of soccer fans worldwide who glowingly admire the flair of the Brazilian Seleção or the talent of Argentina’s Albicelestes.

In each South American country, players and fans have worked to create distinctively national styles of football.  In South America, however, football is so much a part of life that it is often closely intertwined in the greater political and social fabric of each nation.  This website highlights the history of four key South American footballing nations—Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay—and explores this fascinating intersection between football and politics in 20th century South America.  We hope this website allows you to look at football in South America in a new way, and causes you to think about the role football, or other sports, plays in your own country’s politics.

To start, click on a country from the map below.  We look forward to your comments!

Image obtained from, photoillustration by Will Flaherty

7 thoughts on “The Politics of Football in Latin America


    I’m uncertain as to why the article discusses Colombia as a “key nation”, with respect to South America? Understandably, the article focuses on politics, as such Colombia would produce a valid connection between football and politics in the region. However, listing Colombia seems more so only for the purpose of content. Realistically Colombia is not, and have never been a key nation in South American football. No World cup titles, only one copa, and no olympic titles.

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  3. Hec

    There’s more teams there on that map. And not just south america…you have central america, and the Caribbean..

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  6. ulei

    You know those are not the only “football fanatic” countries in Latin America:)

  7. Justin Horowitz

    What about Bolivia , Paraguay , Ecuador , Peru , Venezuela, and Chile?


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