Focused Discussions, Regional Studies

Football in the Middle East Working Group II


Between April 6 and 13 2020, the Center for International and Regional Studies held the second working group for its research initiative on “Football in the Middle East.” In light of the rapidly changing restrictions imposed on international travel as well as to maintain social distancing measures, this working group was held “virtually”. Paper contributors made use of available technological options to meet, present and comment on each of the paper submissions. The Working Group welcome and wrap up brought the scholars together for live interaction via Zoom conferencing, and these group sessions were complemented by asynchronous interaction through prerecorded video discussions using Blackboard. This dual approach enabled CIRS to adapt to the current global situation and ensure the continuation of its research activities and engagement with the academic community.

The presentations and papers discussed are as follow,

Playing in the triple periphery: Exclusionary policies towards Palestinian football in Lebanon- Danyel Reiche

GCC Football Fans and Their Engagement: Establishing a Research Agenda – Simon Chadwick

Education in sports administration from scratch: the case of Qatar – John McManus

Who Kisses the Badge? The Player’s Perspective in the Performance of National Identity in the Qatar National Team – Thomas Ross Griffin

Refugees and Football in the Global and Middle East Context – Ramón Spaaij

Beyond Soft Power: Football as a Form of Regime Legitimation – Abdullah Al-Arian

The National Game: A Political Prehistory of the Egyptian League – Ibrahim Elhoudaiby

Women’s football in Turkey: Trivial, threatening and ultimately unequal – Yagmur Nuhrat

A Study of Football Art as Political Expression in the Algerian Hirak – Maher Mezahi

This CIRS project is an attempt to engage and produce new literature on an understudied area in the Middle East by engaging scholars and experts from multiple disciplines, including political science, anthropology, business, and journalism among others. After final revisions based on peer comments and suggestions, CIRS will gather the final chapter submissions into an edited volume on Football in the Middle East to be published by a university press.

Participants and Discussants: 

  • Shaza Afifi, Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Zahra Babar, CIRS – Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Misba Bhatti, CIRS – Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Simon Chadwick, emlyon Business School, France
  • Ibrahim Elhoudaiby, Columbia University
  • Thomas Griffin, Qatar University
  • Salma Hassabou, Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Mehran Kamrava, CIRS – Georgetown University in Qatar
  • John McManus, Qatar University
  • Maher Mezahi, Independent Football Journalist, Algeria 
  • Suzi Mirgani, CIRS – Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Yagmur Nuhrat, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
  • Danyel Reiche, American University of Beirut
  • Ramon Spaaji, Victoria University, Australia 
  • Jackie Starbird, CIRS – Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Elizabeth Wanucha, CIRS – Georgetown University in Qatar

Article by Misba Bhatti, Research Analyst at CIRS