Although the game of soccer is known by many names around the world — football, fútbol, Fußball, voetbal — the sport is a universal language. Throughout the past century, governments have used soccer to further their diplomatic aims through a range of actions including boycotts, carefully orchestrated displays at matches, and more. In turn, soccer organizations have leveraged their power over membership and tournament decisions to play a role in international relations.
In Soccer Diplomacy, an international group of experts analyzes the relationship between soccer and diplomacy. Together, they investigate topics such as the use of soccer as a tool of nation-state--based diplomacy, soccer as a non-state actor, and the relationship between soccer and diplomatic actors in subnational, national, and transnational contexts. They also examine the sport as a conduit for representation, communication, and negotiation.
Drawing on a wealth of historical examples, the contributors demonstrate that governments must frequently address soccer as part of their diplomatic affairs. They argue that this single sport — more than the Olympics, other regional multisport competitions, or even any other sport — reveals much about international relations, how states attempt to influence foreign views, and regional power dynamics.