Routledge Handbook of Sport in the Middle East  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Sport in the Middle East

ISBN 9780367470227
Published May 6, 2022 by Routledge
406 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $75.00
was $250.00
USD $175.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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 the introduction, 33 chapters from leading subject experts cover 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. The authors highlight and respond to issues such as the naturalisation 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 or have a history of regularly visiting and conducting research in the region. It will be of interest to academics and students alike, in the fields of Middle East politics, sport, 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

Matthias Krug

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

Salma Thani

7. The Making of Heritage Sport: falconry in the UAE

Sarina Wakefield

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

Nadim Nassif

11. The Syrian Men’s National Football Team as a Propaganda Tool of the Assad Government

Nazih Osseiran

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

Selcuk Acikgoz

14. Sports Events, Society and Sustainable Development: the case of Qatar 2022

Ahmed Badran

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

Abdul Al-Droushi

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

Dag Tuastad

20. Ultras in Egypt: Massacred, Disbanded, Steadfast?

Robbert Woltering

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

Morteza Dousti

23. Politics of Football Debt and Financial Fair Play in Turkey

Can Evren

24. Politics and Pirates: Sports Broadcasting in the Middle East

Craig L LaMay

25. Hosting Mega-Events in the Gulf

Robert Kaspar

26. Sporting Cities and Economic Diversification in the Arabian Peninsula

Natalie Koch

27. Investing into sport: A comparison of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Victor Olivereau

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

Hannah Borenstein

30. Homo Communautarius – the Influence of Politics on the Lebanese Sport Scene

Axel Maugendre

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

Ladan Rahbari

33. Inclusivity in an environment of exclusive citizenship: The multinational Qatari women’s rugby team

Danyel Reiche

View More



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 being his current priority. He published Success and Failure of Countries at the Olympic Games in 2016, Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Politics, Controversy, Change with Paul Brannagan in 2022, 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.

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. He is the author of Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Politics, Controversy, Change (co-authored with Danyel Reiche, 2022). 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, Mexico

"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, UK

"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, Germany

"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, USA