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Football, hostage to nationalism

Football has developed in many countries, like other sports, because it is part of the politics of the pursuit of power and the ideologies it serves. The more extreme the political regime, the more it develops an important sports politics and style and the more “official” sports possess far-reaching statutes (e.g. fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Olympic sports in the former USSR and East Germany). Football rapidly became the expression of nationalism, patriotism and chauvinism, even before the international federations or before the World Cup in the 1930s.

Philippe Villemus, Le Dieu football (The Football God) (Ed. Eyrolles 2006)

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