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Analysis and Comment (36)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left), pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was booed at the World Cup final because he continues to be the face of what is wrong with FIFA. FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left), pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was booed at the World Cup final because he continues to be the face of what is wrong with FIFA. EPA/Alexey Nikolsky

FIFA is back to its core business – but Platini should replace Blatter

Delays in stadium construction. Poor working conditions for World Cup workers. Massive budget blowouts. Nationwide protests. Ignoring the needs of millions of struggling Brazilian families. All of these…
Spain’s golden generation, featuring players such as Torres, Iniesta and Casillas, crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil, perhaps marking an end to their dominance of world football. Spain’s golden generation, featuring players such as Torres, Iniesta and Casillas, crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil, perhaps marking an end to their dominance of world football. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Capitalism or golden generations? Explaining success in World Cups

As the World Cup reaches its climax, with Brazil, Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands to fight it out for a spot in the final, can we explain why some countries have been successful at the highest level…
The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Forget the players, World Cup referees are feeling the heat

There has been much hand-wringing over the problems that World Cup players are facing due to the environmental extremes they are exposed to in Brazil. There has been little sympathy for the men in black…
Australia first qualified for the World Cup in 1974, when a group of part-timers under captain Peter Wilson (far right) went to West Germany. Australia first qualified for the World Cup in 1974, when a group of part-timers under captain Peter Wilson (far right) went to West Germany. Anton Cernak

Qualifying is never easy: Australia’s World Cup history

Australia will soon begin its fourth football World Cup finals campaign – the third successive tournament it has qualified for – with group stage matches against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain. While…
The cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain serve to emphasise that sport – and society – still has work to do to combat racism. The cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain serve to emphasise that sport – and society – still has work to do to combat racism. EPA/Paul Buck

Sterling, Alves and why racism continues to dog sport worldwide

Two recent instances of sports-related racial abuse have seen athletes take strong, united stands against the scourge of racism. While the cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain are…
Media commentary is not a reliable indicator of the severity of fan violence in Australian soccer – but policing approaches do need to improve. Media commentary is not a reliable indicator of the severity of fan violence in Australian soccer – but policing approaches do need to improve. AAP/David Crosling

Australia has no ‘soccer hooligan’ problem – but we need a smarter policing approach

The A-League soccer game between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers late last year attracted national media headlines for all the wrong reasons: brawls between opposing fans outside a city…
Football, with its passion, drama and larger-than-life characters, has all the elements for a good literary genre. Football, with its passion, drama and larger-than-life characters, has all the elements for a good literary genre. Boris Roessler/EPA

From stadium to page: why football deserves more fiction

A great football novel is like a perfectly executed bicycle-kick goal, like players such as Argentine legends Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi; they come along once in a generation. Against the accumulated…
Ultras: a fireman’s worst nightmare. Ultras: a fireman’s worst nightmare. MJwho

Italy’s ultras: death threats, local pride and footballing farce

The derby match between Salernitana and Nocerina started strangely. Played in the third tier of Italian football, the match saw three Nocerina substitutions after just three minutes. Soon, another Nocerina…
The man touted as the next Socceroos coach, Angle Postecoglou, meets Australian soccer’s greatest export Craig Johnston. Should we have local coaches for our national teams? The man touted as the next Socceroos coach, Angle Postecoglou, meets Australian soccer’s greatest export Craig Johnston. Should we have local coaches for our national teams? AAP/Hamish Blair

The case for a home-grown coach in a global sports market

Another foreign coach of an Australian national sports team has been ushered to the overseas departure terminal. Having overseen the team’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Socceroos…
Shoot fast before the window closes. Shoot fast before the window closes. Bronski beat

Little known Joe Yoffe could close football transfer window

You probably haven’t heard of English footballer Joe Yoffe. Why would you? Until recently, he played for UMF Selfoss in the second tier of the Icelandic league. But Yoffe could be about to change the way…
QPR’s Joey Barton wore rainbow laces in a recent match. QPR’s Joey Barton wore rainbow laces in a recent match. John Walton/PA

Solving homophobia in football? Don’t bet on it

Last week, world football was shocked by a match-fixing scandal that swallowed a minor league Australian club and cast it into a world of international betting intrigue. As allegations were levelled at…
Spurs fans: language reclaimers? Spurs fans: language reclaimers? Peter Byrne/PA

Tackle antisemitism, not the ‘Yid Army’ chants

Is it always wrong to use racial epithets, regardless of the context? It’s an old debate, recently revived and applied to football fans. The Football Association (FA), anti-racism campaigners and Jewish…
Victorian soccer club Southern Stars has been caught up in the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Australian sport. What can be done to prevent further instances of corruption? Victorian soccer club Southern Stars has been caught up in the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Australian sport. What can be done to prevent further instances of corruption? ABC News

Falling Stars: Australian soccer scandal shines bright

Since taking over as chief executive of the Football Federation Australia (FFA), Australian soccer’s governing body, David Gallop would have “sold his arse” (to paraphrase Tony Abbott) to have the sport…
Gareth Bale: keeping bargaining theorists busy. Gareth Bale: keeping bargaining theorists busy. Chris Radburn/PA

Clever bargaining strategy may lead to record transfer for Bale

The Gareth Bale transfer saga drags on, as Real Madrid consider buying Tottenham Hotspur’s star player for a world record transfer fee of around £100m. For those of us who have studied the process of bargaining…
Rooney: rumoured to have once been bald. Rooney: rumoured to have once been bald. Martin Rickett/PA

The science behind football transfer rumours

Summer’s football transfer rumour season is in full swing; an annual activity as predictable as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon or suntans and sports cars at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. World Cup years…
Chinese youngsters are keen to associate themselves with global football brands. Chinese youngsters are keen to associate themselves with global football brands. ivanwalsh

Global brands follow football’s silk road to China

The football clubs of Western Europe are off to Asia this summer in the hope of engaging fans and building relationships with some of their target customers. For example, China plays host to the Barclays…
When you’re going for goals, seeing is believing. When you’re going for goals, seeing is believing. Johnson Cameraface

RoboCup 2013: new moves to keep players on the ball

In just a few weeks, soccer-playing robots from around the world will converge on Eindhoven in the Netherlands to compete for the prestigious RoboCup 2013. With around 2,500 particpants, competition is…
Manchester City: soon to be celebrating global domination? Manchester City: soon to be celebrating global domination? Dave Thompson/PA

Do you want franchise with that? McDonald’s model for football

Walk down the high streets of Britain, through the shopping malls of the United States or around the retail complexes of East Asia, and you will inevitably be confronted with a McDonald’s food outlet…
The Western Sydney Wanderers have had a ‘fairytale’ debut season in the A-League - but does this say more about how the league is run than the team itself? The Western Sydney Wanderers have had a ‘fairytale’ debut season in the A-League - but does this say more about how the league is run than the team itself? AAP/Dean Lewins

The A-League’s Western Sydney Wanderers: the fairytale in context

Western Sydney Wanderers’ inaugural A-League season is the feel-good sports story of the year. The team is undefeated in 13 matches, won the league (generally regarded as the “real” championship in soccer…
The Herald Sun has described fans of A-League soccer club Melbourne Victory as ‘soccer hooligans’, a label many fans feel is unfair. The Herald Sun has described fans of A-League soccer club Melbourne Victory as ‘soccer hooligans’, a label many fans feel is unfair. AAP/Martin Philbey

‘Soccer hooligans’ of the Herald Sun’s making

In 2011, I attempted to warn then-Victorian Police Superintendent Rod Wilson and Australian soccer’s governing body, Football Federation Australia, from “amplifying the actions of a few unruly football…
Fans of English soccer club Brighton & Hove Albion have faced constant homophobic taunts over the years - and they’ve had enough. Fans of English soccer club Brighton & Hove Albion have faced constant homophobic taunts over the years - and they’ve had enough. rockjimford

Soccer and homophobia: why even homophobes are sick of it

It’s been an ugly week in English soccer. Up north, outrage of many persuasions flowed around Paolo Di Canio’s politics. Down south, supporters from Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion presented…
New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is facing a storm of criticism over his stated ‘fascist’ political views. New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is facing a storm of criticism over his stated ‘fascist’ political views. EPA/Filippo Monteforte

Fascism and racism: does it really matter what Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio thinks?

The resignation of senior British political figure David Miliband as non-executive director and vice-chairman of English soccer club Sunderland A.F.C. - in protest at Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as the…
The DARwIn-OP humanoid soccer-playing robot may look like a toy, but is a platform for groundbreaking artificial intelligence research. The DARwIn-OP humanoid soccer-playing robot may look like a toy, but is a platform for groundbreaking artificial intelligence research. David Budden

Robots will be FIFA champions – if they keep their eyes on the ball

We already know robots manufacture cars, work in factories, even vacuum our homes - but could they form a world-beating soccer team? The question seems like ripe pickings for a movie mogul, given Hollywood’s…
Families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster have never given up their campaign for justice. Families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster have never given up their campaign for justice. EPA/Lee Sanders

Cruel summer: how Hillsborough brought Britain down to earth

The release of Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report into the death of 96 football fans at the 1989 FA Cup Semi Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest is not just a landmark in British history…
Former England captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last Friday. Former England captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last Friday. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Twitter, John Terry and the Sunshine Tigers: how racism dogs the world game

As iconic sporting images go, there are few finer specimens than the picture of Brazilian genius Pele shaking hands with England captain Bobby Moore, after their teams battled to a 1-0 victory for Brazil…
It’s obvious: better referee performance is better for players and better for spectators. Right? It’s obvious: better referee performance is better for players and better for spectators. Right? AAP Image/Joe Castro

Sports referees should take performance-enhancing drugs

Late last week football (soccer) website football365.com reported that FIFA, the international governing body for the world game, is considering forcing referees to pass fitness tests prior to games. This…
Iranian soccer players cry after FIFA cancels their match due to the nature of their headware. Iranian soccer players cry after FIFA cancels their match due to the nature of their headware. EPA

Storm in a headscarf: FIFA was wrong to ban hijabs in soccer

Five years after ruling against the wearing of headscarves by female football players, the sport’s world governing body FIFA has taken initial steps to lift the hijab ban. In March 2012, the International…
With so few fans, Gold Coast United was never going to make it. With so few fans, Gold Coast United was never going to make it. AAP/Dave Hunt

Don’t blame Clive Palmer – Gold Coast United was doomed from day one

The decision taken by Football Federation Australia to revoke the Gold Coast United licence should come as no surprise. GCU owner Clive Palmer has been highly critical of the FFA in recent weeks. He slammed…
Palmer and former Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg address a press conference. Palmer and former Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg address a press conference. AAP/Laine Clark

Cash or glory? Funding the A-League and the quest for silverware

The public slanging match between two heavy-hitters of Australian business, Clive Palmer and Frank Lowy, has highlighted football’s reliance on private ownership. Private ownership is a logical model for…
Soccer fans in NSW in 2005 after a disturbance between supporters of rival teams. Soccer fans in NSW in 2005 after a disturbance between supporters of rival teams. AAP

A-League fans: don’t label them football hooligans

The late Johnny Warren deftly described some Australians' attitude to football as being a game for “sheilas, wogs, and poofters”. Whilst public interest has increased markedly following successive World…
Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton (front row far right) in the 1994 NSW under 15 soccer team that won the Australian championships. Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton (front row far right) in the 1994 NSW under 15 soccer team that won the Australian championships. Roy Hay

A-League: Kewell and Emerton come home

Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton’s recent signings for Australian clubs have, in the blink of an eye, skyrocketed interest levels in the coming A-League season. Their return represents the closing of a circle…
Australian fans at the women’s soccer World Cup this month. Australian fans at the women’s soccer World Cup this month. AAP

The genesis of soccer in Australia

Soccer in Australia has a long and misunderstood history. Where many assume it only gained popularity with the arrival of large numbers of migrants from Europe post-WWII, the reality is that the round…

Research Briefs (5)

The physics of a soccer strike

The success of soccer player Christiano Ronaldo’s powerful “knuckleball” strike is due to fluctuating aerodynamic lift forces…