Is Soccer Preventing Conflict?

By JANINE HOLDER

At a lecture on “Soccer As Genocide Prevention? On Sports and Ethnic Conflict”, Professor Lars Rensmann discussed how soccer can help nations in conflict.

Rensmann explained that soccer, played widely around the world and often involving countries facing serious conflicts, can aid in social resolutions during times of hardship.

Soccer provides the opportunity to help players – and on a larger scale, the fans. The game allows countries to experience their own kind of a social rehabilitation. The sport increases interactions between countries that have been past enemies.

During the World Cup 2006, the Ivory Coast’s intense civil war stopped simply to allow the game to be played.

Rensmann also said that the social aspect of soccer provides potential benefits. Sports have a “ripple effect” when it comes to interacting with others. The peace that is shared between players and fans can inspire social groups interact peacefully with one another. The game proves that people can play competitively, yet still get along.

Soccer is a universal language. Its rule system is the same throughout nations.

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