Skip to main content

FIFA and the Contest for World Football: Who Rules the Peoples' Game?

FIFA and the Contest for World Football: Who Rules the Peoples' Game?

John Sugden, Alan Tomlinson

ISBN: 978-0-745-61660-5

Jun 1998, Polity

304 pages

In Stock



In FIFA and the Contest for World Football Sugden and Tomlinson provide the first full-length study of FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and its role in framing and controlling world football. Interviewing more than seventy influential leaders world-wide and drawing on exclusive documentary sources, the authors demonstrate FIFA's importance in twentieth-century sport, and in an increasingly global consumer culture.

The first part of the book covers the origins and organizational characteristics of FIFA, and of the European and South American federations. The second part considers how new and powerful players have emerged in FIFA in the wake of the collapse of empires. The book includes analyses of football's contributions to the growth of nationalism and anti-imperialism; the use of football by ruthless and sometimes corrupt officials and political despots; and its expansion under the influence of increasingly prominent commercial paymasters. Football's role in Africa, Asia and the USA is also illuminated, and FIFA's global mission and rhetoric evaluated.

The book is a valuable addition to the politics and social history of sport, and to the sociology of the global system and the changing world order. It will be of interest to students and researchers in the areas of sport studies, cultural studies and the sociology of popular culture, and to everyone concerned with the social organization of one of the world's most popular sports.


1. Introduction: FIFA and the contest for world football - an interpretive and conceptual framework.

Part 1. FIFA and its Expanding Football Family: Background and Context. .

2. FIFA, Europe and South America: foundations and contradictions in the football family.

3. FIFA: an organizational and institutional analysis.

4. FIFA and its partners: media and markets.

5. FIFA's World Cup Finals: getting the event.

Part 2. FIFA and the Collapse of Empire.

6. FIFA and Africa.

7. FIFA and Asia.

8. FIFA and the former Soviet Union.

9. FIFA's final frontier - USA '94.

10. Conclusion: who rules the peoples' game?.

Afterword: FIFA and the Future of World Football.

Appendix: VISION for the Future Governance of Football.





"I feel quite convinced that your book will arouse the interest of many readers and I have no hesitation in congratulating you in advance on its success." Dr Joao Havelange, FIFA President

"An academic study, but a gripping one, because the story they tell is an extraordinary one. Independent Sunday Magazine

"Insightful..." Total Sport

"Interesting and extremely well-researched study of the history and workings of this shadowy organization..." When Saturday Comes

"A fact-filled study of the history, ambitions and motives of the organisation behind the world's most popular sport. Highlights include chapters on Fifa's role in the choice of the host nation and their influence over television coverage and commentators." Independent on Sunday

The first systematized analysis of FIFA and of the politics of world football.
* Much of the material is based on original research and is drawn from unique interviews and never-cited documentary sources.
* An accessible introduction to the contest for control of world football.