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Middle East Network

Apr 22, 2017



What does Israel’s West Bank settlement policy have to do with international soccer?


Dr. James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, is the leading world expert on this subject. He is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, a book that among other things explores the topic of this episode's discussion. Dorsey closely follows the way in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out on the soccer field, in FIFA, the international soccer association.


FIFA is expected to take up the issue of Israel's establishing soccer clubs in West Bank settlements in the upcoming meeting of its governing bodies in Manama, Bahrain, on May 9th 2017.


Dr. Dorsey joined us by Skype from his home in Singapore. Apologies for the subpar audio quality.



James M. Dorsey




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Football is very active in the UAE and even when I came here in 1977 one of the first of many super-stadiums was being built, this one for the Al Nasr Club in Dubai. The newly laid astro-turf was found to be completely unsuitable and was soon replaced with grass. I was more than happy to become the tenant of their nearby old walled football ground to create a 'super cross' circuit for my motocross club using about 50 truck loads of 'subhka' excavated from the new stadium to build all the jumps! Of note was a splendid evening where the ex-England team manager Mr Don Revie OBE was invited to present prizes at the Dubai Netball Club's end of season dinner. Mr Revie, who of course had a somewhat colorful exit from the UK and was now coaching the the UAE national squad was heckled during his after dinner speech by a clearly less than sober member of the audience. To his credit, Mr Revie, using a rather old-fashioned approach to negotiation and reconciliation invited the chap to step outside - and they did. Splendid! There is of course a continuous push to develop football here as the national sport, and the government and owners of the clubs will no doubt do whatever they think is appropriate. I just wish national motorsport had a matched response and funding from the powers that be, especially given the huge government investment in motorsport infrastructure and strategic investments - and the desire to see an Arab driver in Formula 1.
Last replied by Barry Hope on Thursday, 27 September 2012
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