Egyptian soccer fans put youth disillusion with elections on public display

By James M. Dorsey As Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi struggled this week to get Egyptians to cast their vote in parliamentary elections, militant soccer fans put widespread youth disillusionment with the president’s autocratic rule on public display. More than 10,000 fans rushed in response to a call by Ultras Ahlawy, the militant support … [Read more…]

Israel suspends Israeli-Palestinian encounters on the pitch

By James M. Dorsey The Israel Football Association (IFA) acting on orders of the police has suspended what it calls ‘sensitive’ matches, a reference to professional and amateur games between Israeli Jewish and Israeli Palestinian squads. Police said the suspension on soccer pitches that have long signalled mounting tensions, violence, and racism in Israeli society … [Read more…]

OECD holds FIFA responsible for Qatari World Cup-related labour conditions

By James M. Dorsey A Swiss government-sponsored unit of the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has defined world soccer body FIFA as a multi-national bound by the group’s guidelines. As a result, the group concluded that FIFA is responsible for the upholding of the human and labour rights of workers employed in … [Read more…]

Racist Israeli soccer fans in the firing line

By James M. Dorsey Israel’s most notorious soccer fan group, La Familia, known for its militant racism against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, has put itself in the firing line as Israeli-Palestinian confrontations threaten to spark a third Intifada or popular Palestinian uprising on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Members of La Familia, … [Read more…]

Syrian soccer: Succeeding against the odds

Despite civil war, Syria’s tightly-controlled national team remains on course to qualify for its first ever World Cup October 9, 2015 10:16AM ET by James M. Dorsey   @mideastsoccer Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s political fortunes are looking up on more than one battlefield. Even as Russian military intervention appears to have given Assad’s government a new lease on life, … [Read more…]

Staunch Sisi supporter calls for opening of stadia and dialogue with ultras

By James M. Dorsey A staunch supporter of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, has called on the government to allow soccer fans, a pillar of anti-government protest, back into stadia that have largely been closed to the public for nearly five years. Mr. Sawiri’s request on the eve of two African Confederation … [Read more…]