Kurdish soccer team sparks Swedish FA ire over battle for Kobani, sparks debate on what is politics?

By James M. Dorsey When Ramazan Kizil established Dalkurd FF, one of Europe’s most successful immigrant soccer teams, in a remote town in northern Sweden, he dreamt of one day raising the Swedish and the Kurdish flag alongside one another in a European championship. These days, Mr. Kizil’s goals are more immediate: aiding embattled Kurdish … [Read more…]

Egyptian campuses and soccer emerge as flashpoint in resistance to President Al Sisi

By James M. Dorsey Soccer fans exploiting stadia as contested public space emerged more than three years ago as a key force in anti-government protests that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and opposition to subsequent military rule. With stadia closed to spectators for much of the period since then, protesting students backed by militant football … [Read more…]

Mounting Israeli-Palestinians tensions reverberate on the soccer pitch

By James M. Dorsey Mounting tension between Israel and Palestinians on the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem have spilt on to Israeli Palestinian soccer pitches in Israel proper as Israel swings towards ultra-nationalists that make Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu look like the best card in a bad hand. Israeli human rights and legal … [Read more…]

Bahrain rattled by UK court's opening of door to investigation of torture allegations

By James M. Dorsey A failed effort by a public relations company representing Bahrain and a UK law firm acting on behalf of Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the commander of Bahrain’s Royal Guard and head of its National Olympic Committee, to micromanage media coverage of this month’s lifting of the prince’s immunity by a … [Read more…]

Soccer and militant Islam intersect in incidents across the Middle East

By James M. Dorsey A successful soccer player near the peak of his career, 22-year Nidhal Selmi died last week a foreign fighter for the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq. His death followed that of Tunisian handball goalkeeper Ahmed Yassin and Ahmed El-Darawi, a former policeman and … [Read more…]

Woman´s sporting right put Saudi Arabia and Iran on the defense

all By James M. Dorsey The struggle for women’s rights to engage in sports and attend sporting events has commanded increased attention with the hunger strike of a British-Iranian national incarcerated in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, the expected arrival in Saudi Arabia of Australian women fans for the Asian Champions League final, and the rare … [Read more…]

Women’s sporting rights put Saudi Arabia and Iran on the defensive

all By James M. Dorsey The struggle for women’s rights to engage in sports and attend sporting events has commanded increased attention with the hunger strike of a British-Iranian national incarcerated in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, the expected arrival in Saudi Arabia of Australian women fans for the Asian Champions League final, and the rare … [Read more…]

Torture investigation of Bahraini prince puts IOC and AFC on the spot

By James M. Dorsey Scotland Yard has opened an investigation into allegations that Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the commander of Bahrain’s armed forces and head of its National Olympic Committee, was involved in the torture of political detainees, including three national team soccer players. The investigation could prove to be embarrassing for the president … [Read more…]