Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics (Paperback)

Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics By Gabriel Kuhn, Boff Whalley (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Gabriel Kuhn, Boff Whalley (Foreword by)
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


The global image of the multi-billion dollar soccer industry is one of professionalism and commercialization. Yet the game retains a rebellious side, maybe more so than any other sport co-opted by money-makers and corrupt politicians. From its roots in working-class England to political protests by players and fans, and a current radical soccer underground, the notion of football as the “people’s game” has been kept alive. This book not only traces this history, but also reflects on common criticisms: that soccer ferments nationalism, serves right-wing powers, and fosters competitiveness. Soccer vs. the State serves both as an orientation for the politically conscious football supporter and an inspiration for those who wish to return the game played on televisions and in stadiums to alleyways and muddy pastures.This second edition has been expanded to cover events of recent years, including the involvement of soccer fans in the Middle Eastern uprisings of 2011–2013, the FIFA scandal of 2015, and the 2017 strike by the Danish women’s team.

About the Author

Gabriel Kuhn is an Austrian-born writer and translator, a former semiprofessional soccer player, and an activist. Among his publications are Playing as If the World Mattered and Antifascism, Sports, Sobriety. Boff Whalley is an English musician, writer, athlete, and former lead guitarist for band Chumbawamba. He is now a playwright and the founder of Commoners Choir.

Praise For…

“[A] wondrous reminder of all the times and ways and places where football has slipped its chains and offers what it always promised: new solidarities and identities, a site of resistance, a celebration of spontaneity and play.” —David Goldblatt, author of The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer

“There is no sport that reflects the place where sports and politics collide quite like soccer. Athlete-activist Gabriel Kuhn has captured that by going to a place where other sports writers fear to tread. Here is the book that will tell you how soccer explains the world while offering means to improve it.” —Dave Zirin, author of Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love

"Gabriel Kuhn has written the programme notes for the most important match of all, The People's Game vs. Modern Football." —Mark Perryman, cofounder of Philosophy Football

“Kuhn is impressive in his global and historical scope, and in acknowledging gender and sexuality questions as well as those of class and race, as he looks at issues ranging from the exploitation of African players to the way the World Cup has been abused politically.” —Tom Davies, When Saturday Comes

“Both the politics and the prose of Soccer vs. the State are clear. The view is internationalist, and the breadth of subjects covered makes the book useful for both football fans and activists.” —Daniel Widener, Radical History Review

"A timely and entertaining read on the history and development of the ‘beautiful game’" —Andy Hedgecock, online review,

Product Details
ISBN: 9781629635729
ISBN-10: 1629635723
Publisher: PM Press
Publication Date: February 1st, 2019
Pages: 352
Language: English