Football is the continuation of politics by other means

The sport's origins in the intense nationalism in 19th century Europe, explains the bad behaviour of certain groups of fans

19th June, 2016
In Europe, football reigns supreme. Spain and Turkey played to a full house last week Pic: Getty

Have you ever wondered why team sports attract such huge numbers of followers, enflame passions and fuel national debates? Conversely, why do individual sports get nowhere near the same attention?

A tennis match between two top-ranked players usually won’t even fill half the seats in the stadium, even in a grand slam, unless it’s near the final. On the other hand, a lower-division football match in a lost corner of any European country will have...

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