Politicization In Football

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Football, undoubtedly being the world’s game, has a long history of politicization. Since the dawn of the organized game, world leaders and governments have found ways to manipulate the game for their own benefit, whether it be promoting a national identity or suppressing marginalized minorities. The games immense popularity has made it an easy avenue for politicization, both by governments and by resistance groups. It has served as a means of communication, propaganda, and organization. Matthias Marschik argues “football really was non-political because the attempts at both resistance and manipulation balanced each other out.” While governments and citizens have both politicized the game, the extent is far from equal in terms of the…show more content…
With the bloody toll of the war becoming evident, Lord Horatio Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, devised a new recruitment strategy. In recruiting for his so called “New Armies”, Kitchener advertised that groups of men who enlisted together would be allowed to serve and fight together. These “Pals Battalions” would be composed of men from the same school, block, or even football club. This tactic worked exceedingly well, with entire clubs registering for the service. The unintended effect of this strategy was that when a ship sank or a regiment was obliterated by an artillery barrage, the grief and tragedy was centered in one community rather than spread across the nation. While the government control over the game during World War One was not explicit, military officials used football as a crucial tool for recruitment and…show more content…
In March on 1938, Austria voted on the Aschluss, or incorporation into Nazi Germany. In a rigged election, the proposal passed with a resounding 99.75 percent in favor of unification. In order to propagate the idea of a united Reich, Hitler mandated that the 1938 German World Cup side include at lease five Austrians on the pitch at all times. Hitler determined that a world championship would demonstrate the power and unity of the Aryan people in the Third Reich. This blatant manipulation of the game in order to influence public opinion proved to be unsuccessful. Rather than dominate the field, this ‘wunderteam’ succumbed to infighting, causing an international embarrassment. While not as successful as Mussolini, Hitler extensively manipulated the game of football in order to enhance public perception of the Third Reich and promote domestic

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