Sports and Politics

| July 5, 2019

Question:

The Term paper is basically about sports and politics, mainly in the Arab world. It has to be a problem solution type essay.

Answer:

Sports and Politics

 

Introduction

In the Arab world, various aspects of sports are used to promote and safeguard national identities. In the political environment, they are also used as a representation of Arab nationalism. Through sports, various pan-Islamic and pan-Arab identities have been brought together.  Sports in the Arab world also present an excellent platform for people to communicate political messages as well as to assert ethnic and sectarian allegiance.

However, many problems have persisted as far as the relationship between sports and politics in the Arab world is concerned. One of the most serious problems is football-related violence that tends to be inspired by politics. This paper examines the problem of football violence and the role politics plays in it. This investigation forms the basis for suggesting solutions.

Overview of football violence and politics in the Arab world

In many Arab countries, there is a lack of democracy as well as freedom of expression (Stepan, 2003). Many people perceive sports to be an excellent platform for communicating political messages. Some Arab countries are divided along sectarian or ethnic lines. In such countries, it is common for sports activities to be transformed into opportunities for individuals to display antagonisms. For instance, a sectarian or political chant in football stadiums easily turns into riots that degenerate into sectarian violence along city streets.

During the Arab Spring Uprising of 2011, sporting organizations acted as crucial channels through which political messages are communicated to supporters, particularly the youth. In Egypt, for instance, leaders of the uprising mobilized the supporters of the biggest football clubs in the country to participate in street battles against the country’s security forces (Asseburg, 2012). Such political mobilization, which brought the Egyptian demonstrations to a climax, was made possible through the various organizational structures provided by football clubs (Asseburg, 2012).

Suggested solutions

The best way to avoid football-related violence is to discourage political affiliations in sports organizations. When such affiliation is discouraged, players and fans are greatly discouraged from participating in deadly political protests both within sporting stadiums and in the streets.  The supporters should also be banned from chanting political slogans. Demonstrations that started in football stadiums during the Arab Spring Uprising, led to commotions and needless deaths of many Egyptians whose objective was to  enjoy football matches.

In case the solution of banning the chanting of political slogans does not succeed, the best alternative is to ban sports fans from attending sporting competitions. This radical solution should be adopted only when the authorities suspect that the political mood does warrant the entry of thousands of spectators in a stadium. In such stadiums, protests, demonstrations, commotion, and subsequent confrontations may lead to deaths of hundreds of innocent citizens.

In case sports organizations continue to propagate political goals in a manner that is detrimental to peaceful coexistence, it may be necessary to ban them altogether. This is particularly an appropriate course of action for football clubs whose majority membership is drawn from certain ethnic and sectarian groups.

Conclusion

In summary, it is evident that in the Arab world, there is a close relationship between sports violence, particularly in football, and politics. Through sports, many people in the Arab world get an opportunity to communicate political messages. This was evident in Egypt during the Arab Spring Uprising. During the uprising, young football fans were a major target for the leaders of the Egyptian revolution. In this way, the revolution seemed to reach the climax right inside football stadiums. In conclusion, Arab countries need to entrench democracy. When proper democratic channels are in place, people are less likely to resort to sports as a way of communicating political messages.

 

References

Asseburg, M. (Ed.) (2012). Protest, Revolt, and Regime Change in the Arab World: Actors, Challenges, Implications, and Policy Options. Berlin: German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

Stepan, A. (2003). An “Arab” More Than “Muslim” Electoral Gap. Journal of Democracy, 14(3), 30-44.

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