Sport and Politics in the Arab World

Authored by: Mahfoud Amara

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792548
eBook ISBN: 9781315761930
Adobe ISBN: 9781317646679


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This chapter examines the interaction between sport and politics in the Arab World. In post-independence, in the 1950s and 1960s, sport was an arena for the consolidation of national unity, at least the way it was defined by the one-party, military-led regimes and royal families. Sport has been a terrain of ethno-nationalists rivalries within and between Arab countries despite the institutional (top-down) discourse on Arab unity and all Arab-nation (Arab Ummah). Sport is also a tool for international relations and diplomacy. Countries in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Bahrain, are adopting sport today as part of their strategy to build alliances with the world of finance and repositioning the region in the global sporting arena. Finally, sport in general, and football in particular, is at the centre of the political turmoil and multifaceted transitions occurring today in Arab countries.

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