In Susan Dun, Mo’tasem Kalaji and Marion Stell (eds.) It’s How the Game is Played, Perspectives on the Studies of Sports. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press 2013
Soccer for much of the past decades constituted the only major battleground that rivalled Islam in the creation of alternative public space in a swath of land stretching from the energy-rich Middle Eastern Gulf states to the Atlantic coast of Africa. Away from the glare of the international media, soccer provided a venue to release pent-up anger and frustration and struggle for political, gender, economic, social, ethnic and national rights. By the time the Arab revolt erupted in December 2010, soccer had emerged as a key non-religious, non-governmental institution capable of successfully confronting security force-dominated repressive regimes and militant Islamists.