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Sports and politics: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

In Larbi Sedki (ed), Handbook of Middle East Politics, London: Routledge, July 2020

Nowhere in the world has sports in general, and soccer in particular, played such a key role in the development of a region as it has in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet, the nexus of sports, politics and society is one area that Middle East studies—with few exceptions—have ignored. Similarly, sports studies have focused on all parts of the world, with one exception: the Middle East and North Africa. Nonetheless, sports—and particularly soccer—have been in various parts of the Middle East key to nation formation, nation building, regime formation, regime survival and the struggles for human, gender and labour rights.

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