Saudi soccer crisis: A microcosm of what reform means for the kingdom James M. Dorsey A match fixing scandal and a financial crisis in Saudi soccer provide a microcosm of the daunting task and pitfalls involved in Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s plans to reform and diversify the kingdom’s oil dependent economy, streamline its governance, and upgrade its autocracy. The Saud Arabian Football Federation’s handling of … [Read more…]

Religious conservatism redefines symbolism of national sports teams

By James M. Dorsey Over the past decade, religiosity and religious intolerance have seeped into national sports teams in Pakistan and Egypt, societies that have been wracked by faith-based narrow-mindedness and political fanaticism. The trend is exemplified by two national team managers, a controversial Pakistani cricket captain and a storied Egyptian midfielder-turned-glorified-soccer coach. The trend … [Read more…]