Selling the Game Short: An Examination of the Role of Antiracism in British Football

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Jon GarlandUniversity of Leicester

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Michael RoweUniversity of Leicester

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During the last decades racism has been a persistent scar on British football, and yet the problem has often gone unacknowledged and unchallenged by the game’s authorities. However, in recent seasons, significant antiracist programs have been developed within the context of British football, and the situation has been drastically transformed. This study provides a critical review of these schemes and contests that they have limitations arising from simplistic assumptions about the nature of racism. It is argued that a tendency to conflate racism solely with fascism or with hooliganism provides too narrow a focus and that antiracist interventions should be more cognizant of the diversity of racisms within football. Despite the progress that has been made, it is suggested that the football authorities need to develop more concrete programs to ensure that racism is more effectively challenged and that the game is opened up to all members of society.

The authors are with the Scarman Centre for the Study of Public Order at the University of Leicester, Leicester, LEI 7QA, UK.

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