This handbook provides a succinct overview of sport in the Middle East, drawing in scholars from a wide variety of geographical and disciplinary backgrounds (history, politics, sociology, economics and regional studies), with different methodological approaches, to create the ‘go-to’ text on the subject.
After a brief introduction, 33 chapters from leading subject experts covers areas including history, politics, society, economy, and nationhood. The authors help shed light on how certain Middle Eastern countries have become increasingly active in international sports, and the efforts made to positioning themselves as the new global ‘sports hubs’. Split into five sections, the book offers a multi-disciplinary analysis of a diverse range of sports across the geographic Middle East, including football, Mixed Martial Arts, rugby, athletics, and cycling. Authors highlight and respond to issues such as the naturalization of athletes, female athleticism, sports media, and supporter cultures.
The Routledge Handbook of Sport in the Middle East stands apart from previous research through offering first-hand accounts of sport in the area from authors who live and work in the region. It will be of interest to academics and students alike, in the fields of Middle East politics, sport, and sport in the Middle East, international relations, governance, and sociology.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Sports in the Middle East: Towards more inclusion and collaborative efforts?
Danyel Reiche, Paul Michael Brannagan
Part 1: History
1. Sport and Educational Development in the History of Oman
Majid Al Busafi
2. ‘I was as Lebanese as Anyone:’ The Story of David Saad, Lebanon’s last Jewish Olympian
Mohamad El Chamaa
3. Riding in the Desert: Road Cycling in Qatar
Thomas Ross Griffin
4. The 1981 FIFA Youth World Championships: A Transformative Moment in Qatar´s Sporting History
5. Football for National Purposes in Qatar: Participation at Gulf Cup 1970 and Qatar FA Recognition by FIFA
Luis Henrique Rolim
6. The Historical Development of Football in the UAE: A Journey from a Pastime to a Symbol of National Identity
7. The Making of Heritage Sport: falconry in the UAE
Part 2: Politics
8. Controlling Iranian Soccer is Mastering Iranian Politics
James M. Dorsey
9. Sport, Diplomacy, Conflict and Peace: the case of Israel
Yair Galily and Tal Samuel Azran
10. Using Sport as a National Soft Power Strategy: The Case of Mixed Martial Arts in Bahrain
11. The Syrian Men’s National Football Team as a Propaganda Tool of the Assad Government
12. Olympic Bidding and Anti-Doping Policies in Turkey
Cem Tinaz and Omer Onur Hertem
Part 3: Society
13. Barriers for Sport Participation of Children with Lower-Class Background in Turkey
14. Sports Events, Society and Sustainable Development: the case of Qatar 2022
15. ‘Human capital soft power’: the case of Qatar and the 2022 World Cup
Paul Michael Brannagan
16. The Development of Women’s Sport in the Omani Context
17. Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv: A Microcosm of the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace Process
Glen M. Duerr
18. Football Fandom in Egypt
Connor T. Jerzak
19. The Politics and Passion of Middle East Football Spectator Cultures
20. Ultras in Egypt: Massacred, Disbanded, Steadfast?
Part 4: Economy
21. Saudi Arabia and Sport in the 21st century – From Oil and Gas to Event Driven Change
Simon Chadwick and Paul Widdop
22. Sports Economics of Iran
23. Politics of Football Debt and Financial Fair Play in Turkey
24. Politics and Pirates: Sports Broadcasting in the Middle East
Craig L LaMay
25. Hosting Mega-Events in the Gulf
26. Sporting Cities and Economic Diversification in the Arabian Peninsula
27. Investing into sport: A comparison of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
28. Sports Business in Gulf countries: A case study of the UAE
Seth Perkin and David Howe
Part 5: Nation
29. Naturalized East African long-distance runners African in the Middle East
30. Homo Communautarius – the Influence of Politics on the Lebanese Sport Scene
31. Nationality Swapping in World Athletics: Cases and Contexts from the Middle East 1998–2016
Gijsbert Oonk and Jorn Schulting
32. Beyond ‘Defecting’ and ‘Swapping’ Nationality: Emigrant Women Athletes and the Iranian Gendered Bio-Politics
33. Inclusivity in an environment of exclusive citizenship: The multinational Qatari women’s rugby team
Danyel Reiche is a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University Qatar, where he leads a research initiative on the FIFA World Cup 2022. He is a tenured Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. His past research has focused on two areas: energy and sport policy, and politics, with the latter his current priority. He published Success and Failure of Countries at the Olympic Games in 2016 and edited with Tamir Sorek a volume entitled Sport, Politics and Society in the Middle East (2019). His peer-reviewed articles have been published in both area study journals (such as International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics and Journal of Energy Policy) and broader-oriented journals, such as Third World Quarterly or The Middle East Journal. Reiche has also been invited to write op-eds for leading international newspapers such as Washington Post and Spiegel Online and has been frequently interviewed and quoted by major media outlets such as Le Monde, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Reiche is the co-founder of the Sports Scholars in Lebanon Network (LESSN) and chair of the Political Studies Association’s Sport and Politics Study Group.
Paul Michael Brannagan is a political sociologist specialising in the study of sport. His research primarily focuses on the role and use of sports mega-events by national governments for achieving specific political, economic, social, and cultural objectives. To date, his research has centred most specifically on sport in the Middle East, focusing on the State of Qatar and its forthcoming staging of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. His work has been published in leading political science and sports studies journals, including Leisure Studies, Global Society, Diplomacy and Statecraft, and International Affairs. He has frequently been interviewed and quoted by major media outlets, such as the BBC World Service, The Independent, and the New York Times.
In Handbook of Sport in the Middle East, Reiche and Brannagan provide scholars with an indispensable edited collection that examines a multiplicity of sports and case studies in relation to culture, politics, society, economics, and international relations in the Middle East. Academics interested in studying the use of soft power through sport, sport policies in both authoritarian and democratic contexts, the comparative method, or the shifting nature of identities, societies, and economics in the region will find this volume useful. Handbook of Sport in the Middle East will undoubtedly stimulate future research in a variety of disciplines in the Middle East and beyond."
Tamir Bar-On, Professor-Researcher, School of Social Sciences and Government, Tec de Monterrey
"The editors of the Handbook of Sport in the Middle East are to be congratulated on the breadth of coverage of sport in the Middle East and on the depth of analysis provided by the contributors. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the social, economic and political significance of sport in the Middle East and the significance of the Middle East for global sport."
Barry Houlihan, Emeritus Professor of Sport Policy, Loughborough University
"The Handbook of Sport in the Middle East sheds light on a variety of sports and countries. It complements existing academic literature whilst also illuminating various new and crucial topics. It does a brilliant job of highlighting narratives from beyond the mainstream and employing several different theoretical concepts."
Birgit Krawietz, Professor of Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin
"This volume juxtaposes a series of timely and innovative studies that significantly contribute to contemporary debates in Middle East studies, as well as in sport studies. With scholarly rigor and unprecedented breadth, it covers case studies in almost every Middle Eastern country from Egypt to Iran, bringing together major regional concerns regarding economy, politics, citizenship, and identity."
Tamir Sorek, Liberal Arts Professor of Middle East History, Pennsylvania State University