Football (soccer) has been a means for creating a sense of belonging through the "Us vs Them" rhetoric via laborers’ contempt for their bosses. This was evident in the inception of football clubs in the late 1800s; the steel-factory workers of Sheffield United vs the local elites of Sheffield Wednesday, the Glaswegian Irish-Catholics of Celtic playing against their protestant oppressors in Rangers, or the colonial administrators’ and local aristocracy’s club Zamalek vs Al-Ahly, founded by the people of Cairo. The struggle of the worker vs capitalist exploitation metamorphosed into regional and familial bonds, which only strengthened the collective identity of the supporter-groups; identities strong enough to encourage sectarian violence and revolutions. When the European football market began hyper-commercializing in the 1990s, massive heaps of money were spent by despotic rulers of countries and corporate-conglomerates into clubs in order to capitalize on this influence over individuals for the sake of increasing profits and spreading ideologies through sportswashing. Revenues exploded for all clubs, especially the income of the executives. This encouraged further involvement from capitalist interests and capitalist control over the enormous influence of football, and thus capitalized the product as a sense of belonging.
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Larsson, Axel, "Capitalization of Cultural Identities within Football" (2023). Research Days Posters 2023. 49.