Sports events celebrating physical culture and competition have long had underpinnings in political and social motives. From the ancient Greek Olympics and Gladiator tournaments in Rome to the elitist polo fields and underground bare knuckle boxing rings of Victorian Britain. All realms have served to uphold a certain image of that society and its core values. With the dawn of international sports events within the last 150 years, there has been a new set of principles attached to the underlying political motives; one of ethnic, religious and political parity in an emerging global civil society. In order to engage in this civil society, the nation state must adhere to its rules of fair play and tolerance. This year Israel will be hosting the Under 21 Euro Championship. The decision of UEFA to award this to Israel comes 4 years after the state attempted to bomb the Gaza strip back to the Stone Age. Despite the evaluation of this attack as tantamount for war crimes, Israel has side stepped international condemnation and has since attempted to flatten Gaza again, amidst the rapturous applause of mainstream Israeli political activists. Meanwhile illegal settlement activity in the West Bank develops in earnest and Arabs living in Israel experience growing trends of racism and discrimination. But what happens if a state like Israel attempts to use these international spectacles like the Euro Championship to portray a sanitised version of themselves, in turn whitewashing their policies of racism and warlike belligerence? The international sports boycott of South Africa provides the reader with an interesting insight into the tactics and methods which can be used.
Israel and a Sports Boycott: Lessons from South Africa
- 03 May 2013
- Middle East Monitor
Gaza Resumes Sporting Activities
- 23 April 2013
- Middle East Monitor
Sports activities in the Gaza Strip resumed two months ago following the most recent Israeli military escalation against the region in November of last year. During last year’s attacks, several sports playing fields were devastated by rocket fire.
Over the Wall: A UK football team's journey into Egypt and Occupied Palestine
- 07 October 2012
- Amelia Smith
It begun with about 123 hours of footage, smuggled past suspicious border guards, and Jasper's kitchen floor for a studio: "Terrible for our backs and postures," Matthew explains. As the crowd disperses from the sold out cinema at the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation in London, I chat to the co-directors about their debut documentary 'Over the Wall.'
Matthew Kay is a graduate of Film from Queen Mary's in London and Jasper Kain studied Politics and Anthropology at SOAS. In the documentary they follow a lively British football team from the University of SOAS, London as they travel from Egypt and through Israel to become the first UK team to play in Palestine. The film is about far more than just football; it's September 2011 and the Arab Spring is still fresh. The story begins in Cairo. The shots portray tanks and the smell of tear gas is in the air.
Premier League football to return in Egypt, but behind closed doors
- 05 September 2012
- Samira Shackle
Seven months after a ban on domestic football was implemented in Egypt, the country's Ministry of Sport has announced that the Premier League will return on 17 September.
The ban was put in place after Egypt's worst ever football violence left 74 people dead. It happened at Port Said after Cairo club Al-Ahly lost 3-1 to local team Al-Masry and fans stormed the pitch, chasing and attacking players. Most deaths were caused by the stampede, and television cameras captured riot police doing little to stem the violence.