Can Soccer Unify Spain? The Politics of Soccer and Spain’s National Identity

Figura 5- Una actividad de la familia

Can Soccer Unify Spain? The Politics of Soccer and Spain’s National Identity

by Ariel French

Football in Spain is more than just a sport, or a leisurely activity; it is representative of the greater cultural climate of the country. Football plays a role in many aspects of Spanish life, ranging from cultural differences, business, and publicity to politics. It is a sport so ingrained in Spanish culture that it played an important part in Spain’s history under Franco‚Äôs dictatorship. Football can be used as a weapon by politicians, those that advocate a Spain united culturally, and those wishing for more cultural autonomy. Regionalism and class stratification become synonymous with the rivalries of clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona and the clubs of Sevilla, Sevilla FC and Real Betis. Identity in Spain evolves along with the football culture.