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Football - the people's game

24 May 2013

Conference to be held in Manchester



FOOTBALL – the people’s game or a cash cow blighted by prejudice and greed?



Football Conference. Issues surrounding football in the age of austerity, fan ownerships of clubs, racism and sexuality are just some of the subjects that will be discussed by experts from across the world at the forthcoming Manchester Metropolitan University

Hillsborough Justice Campaign representative Sheila Coleman will be just one of the speakers at this year’s conference, on Thursday, June 14th and Friday, June 15th while keynote speeches will be given by Guardian journalist David Conn and Kevin Moore, director of the National Football Museum.

Academics from as far afield as Oslo, Madrid, Malaysia, Germany, Thailand, Poland and the USA will be attending the conference, along with people who work on the frontline of the football industry.


Dr Chris Porter, one of the organisers of the conference, said: “Following the huge success of last year’s conference, we’re really pleased to have the opportunity to be once again critically examining football’s place in the community. Sociology lecturer

"We have secured some fantastic speakers, and we know this will be a fascinating event for academics, supporters and practitioners alike.”



On Thursday, June 14th, both Roy Krovel, from Oslo and Akershus University College for Applied Sciences, and Dr Dan Burdsey and Dr Jayne Caudwell, from the University of Brighton, will be looking at how issues of sexuality are addressed in football.



Phil Downs, disability liaison officer at Manchester United, will be speaking about how the club has been working to incorporate accessibility and disability into their culture, while Dr Stacey Pope, from the University of Bedfordshire, will be exploring the idea that female football fans are believed to be somehow less authentic than their male peers.

Four presentations will look at questions of austerity and sustainability, including issues of “financial fair play” and the effect of austerity on England’s Euro 2012 campaign.

The presentations will look at activism, resistance and fan ownership, with MMU’s Dr Chris Porter looking at the cultural politics of fan ownership with the provocatively-titled “This is FC United, don’t bring football into this.”


A panel for all delegates will feature speakers Piara Power, from the FARE Network, Mark Abrahams, of Methyr Tydfil FC, David Treharne, trustee of Exeter City FC, Manchester football historian Gary James and John Hurst, from the Manchester FA.


An evening event at the National Football Museum chaired by Dave Haslam will give supporters campaign groups the opportunity to discuss issues they feel affect them, and will also feature performances from poet Attila The Stockbroker and Manchester band Bourbon Street Beat.


Football hooliganism will be the focus of one session on Friday, June 15th, while international academics and Denise Lambert from the National Football Museum will be looking at questions surrounding football, youth and education.


A third session will question the notion of the “beautiful” game in the light of continued problems of racism, while later sessions will look at football in its local and global context, and the way the game and the media interact.


The first MMU Football Conference took place last year and also focussed on the game and its communities. The conferences are organised by the MMU Football Research Cluster, part of the Faculty of Humanities.


The full programme for this year’s conference is available athttp://www.hssr.mmu.ac.uk/mmufc/2013-conference-football/. Tickets cost £125 for both days, or £75 for concessions. 


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