Global Football conference at York U will focus on history and politics of the game


Scholarly interest in soccer inspired by upcoming 2010 World Cup


 TORONTO, November 27, 2009-- An international conference at York University Dec. 3 to Dec. 5 will examine how global football – known as soccer in North America – has shaped societies and altered political and economic relations around the world.


Researchers from Africa, Europe, North America and the Caribbean will discuss the history of the game, how it has engaged nation-states and encouraged nationalism, and the transnational flows of players and capital that have made the sport into a major business. The Global Football: History, Gender, Nation conference, organized in anticipation of the first World Cup to be held on the African continent, will also address issues such as gender inequality in the sport and its role in ethnic and class violence.


Highlights of the conference include:

Football North of 49: Canada and the Global Game, Thursday, Dec. 3, 7:30 pm, Robert R. McEwen Auditorium (W141) Seymour Schulich Building.
A panel discussion about topics including the evolution of soccer in Canada from an immigrant sport into the mainstream, remaining barriers to its acceptance as part of Canadian pop culture, the enormous success of the Canadian national women’s team, and the contrast between the image that Canada will present to the world at two global sport spectacles – the World Cup and the Vancouver Olympics.
Panellists include: Paul James, head coach of soccer at York University; University of Saskatchewan history professor Jason Zorbas; Jay Scherer, professor of physical education and recreation at the University of Alberta; and professor Pablo Idahosa, graduate director of development studies.


Keynote Speaker Simon Kuper, Friday, Dec. 4, 4:30 pm, W132 Schulich Building
A sports columnist for The Financial Times, Kuper is co-author of  Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia – and even Iraq – Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport (2009). His books include the award-winning Football Against the Enemy (1994), Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe during the Second World War (2003), and Retourtjes Netherland (2006).


State of Play: Football Journalists and the Global Game, Saturday, Dec. 5, 3:30 pm, W132 Schulich Building
A panel of journalists and authors, including:
David Goldblatt, author of the acclaimed The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football (2007), who writes for Prospect and Granta magazines; Madrid-based write Sid Lowe, who contributes to The Guardian, Four Four Two, World Soccer, and The Telegraph, has a PhD in history, and appears as a football commentator on Spanish, Asian and American television; Globe and Mail columnist John Doyle, whose forthcoming book is entitled The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness and Meaning of Soccer; and Simon Kuper (see keynote speaker, above).

Researchers will be speaking about a large variety of other topics including the history of football cultures around the world, gender and the global game, football in Africa, and planning for the World Cup.


The program and schedule are available at:


WHAT            Global Football conference

WHEN:             Thursday Dec. 3 to Saturday Dec. 5, 2009

WHERE:           Executive Learning Centre, W132 Schulich School of Business, York University




Organized by York Professors Kathryn McPherson, Stephen Brooke, Pable Idahosa and Marcel Martel, the conference is sponsored by the Department of History, the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History, Founders College, the Centre for Feminist Research, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and the Consulat Général de France à Toronto.


York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.


Media Contact:

Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University (Mon. to Fri.), 417 736 2100 x22101 /