Reinforcing the â€˜Otherâ€™? A critical examination of the coverage received by foreign footballers in the British sports media. Ian Mahon
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Bachelor of Arts
Independent College Dublin
Faculty of Journalism April 2013
Supervised by: Thomas McGraw Lewis
Declaration This is an original work. All references and assistance have been acknowledged. Signature: ______________________ Date: __________________________
Acknowledgements This thesis would never have got off the ground without the help and support of a number of people close to me, to which I owe my deepest thanks. To all my lecturers at Independent Colleges, but in particular Janice Gaffey and Thomas McGraw Lewis: the support and motivation I’ve received from the two of you, at different times over the course of the last three years, has without doubt been the main reason I’ve come this far. Also, thank you for having the patience to deal with me -- but, if I’m honest, you brought it all on yourselves: you two are the culprits who started me on the road to questioning everything in the first place! To my parents, and brother, Derek, who have each helped in their own way to mould me into the man I am today. A special mention must go to my mother, too, who has over the last few months continued to feign an interest in my studies even though she openly admits 99 per cent of the stuff goes way over her head. Also, to my grandparents, who have always been there for me when the going got tough. Finally, to the girl who has been there for me every day over the last few months. The one to willingly offer a fresh pair of eyes for proofreading, listened to my stressed-out moans, and was never afraid to offer an opinion. I couldn’t have done this without you. Ian.
Table of Contents Acknowledgements…………………………………………………………………………............i Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………………………..ii Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………………….......iii Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………...1
Chapter One – Historical Context 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8
Pretext………………………………………………………………………………………….5 Early Football………………………………………………………………………………….6 English Dominance on the European Stage………………………………………………….11 Heysel Disaster……………………………………………………………………………….12 Hillsborough Disaster………………………………………………………………………...13 Beginning of Premier League (and Champions League) Era………………………………...14 The Bosman Ruling…………………………………………………………………………..15 Modern Football……………………………………………………………………………...17
Chapter Two – Literature Review 2.1 Moral Panics & British Newspaper Coverage of Foreign Nationals…………………………19 2.2 Stereotyping and the ‘Other’………………………………………………………………….21 2.3 Theories of Representation & Encoding/Decoding…………………………………………..23 2.4 The semantics and narrative of nation………………………………………………………..27 2.5 Racism and xenophobia in football…………………………………………………………...29
Chapter Three – Case Studies & Methods of Analysis 3.1 Case Studies…………………………………………………………………………………..31 3.2 Newspapers chosen for further analysis……………………………………………………....33 3.3 Approaches to the case studies……………………………………………………………….34
Chapter Four – Quantitative and Qualitative Data 4.1 Quantitative Data & Analysis………………………………………………………………...36 4.2 Qualitative Data & Analysis………………………………………………………………….41 4.3 Conclusions…………………………………………………………………………………...49 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………...51 Appendix A……………………………………………………………………………………….55
Abstract Since the beginning, football has been viewed as a game that belongs to the English. This is tied to the notion that the game was invented on their shores. Originally, the notion of Britishness attached to the English game did not present an issue, as the game was controlled and played in England throughout large parts of the 20th century by a predominantly British talent pool. However, this all changed in the early 1990s with the establishment of the Premier League. A dramatic increase in revenues attached to the game, coupled with a number of important developments (which will be outlined throughout the course of this thesis), resulted in an influx of foreign footballers into the English Premier League for the first time. This influx created problems for the British sports media, and more importantly, the British football fan. As the foreign footballer count increased year-on-year, a moral panic emerged, and the British sports media began to affix stereotypes towards their depictions of most foreign footballers, while at the same time reinforcing positive stereotypes onto ‘their own’ players. These foreign professionals were, and twenty years later still are, considered the ‘Other’ – they are regularly seen to be part of a disease that is ruining the ‘beautiful’ game. This thesis is an examination of the coverage received by foreign footballers in the British sports media in modern football, and through quantitative and qualitative analyses will attempt to show that there still exists a difference in coverage between foreign and domestic players in today’s media landscape.
In the early part of March 2013, the Daily Mail published a sport-based opinion piece, written by Des Kelly and entitled, ‘Why is Suarez the ‘filthy’ arch-villain yet Bale is protected? We choose to vilify the foreigner, but a cheat is a cheat…’
“The moment the supremely accomplished British footballer Gareth Bale falls over an imaginary leg during a match, it sparks outbreaks of copycat behaviour right across the land.
“Not on our football pitches, but in the nation's television studios and press boxes as pundits trip over themselves, too, in a desperate hunt to find excuses for the player’s behaviour.
“Rather than condemn Bale as a cheat and a diver, every euphemism in the lexicon of Footballspeak is dutifully offered up in an attempt to excuse his deeds… But no such courtesies are accorded to Uruguayan Luis Suarez. When he tumbles over nothing and waves his arms about appealing for a foul, he’s slated as a cheat. Not with any subtlety, either, but in great big headlines usually proceeded by the word ‘filthy’ and followed by an exclamation mark.”1
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2290379/Gareth-Bale-diver--stop-excuses-Why-Luis-Suarez-cheat--DES-KEL LY.html, accessed 11th April 2013.
Kelly, in his opinionated musings, chose to highlight a hypocritical side of the British football media that is, for the large part, overlooked. He continues with his argument, stating:
“The subtext here is Suarez only cheats because he’s a foreigner. The chap’s from Uruguay, you see? I mean, you could probably stand around for long enough in South America and see people doing that sort of thing on the streets. Those pesky Latinos just don’t understand the British game.
“It is a lousy argument. Suarez isn’t doing anything different to Bale. There is no ‘cultural divide’ on diving. Even if Bale dispatches himself over an invisible boot and forms a very British queue of one in front of the official to politely insist a molecule of air brushed his ankle and caused his personage to topple over, it is still cheating.”
The opinion piece, of roughly 1000 words, is exactly that -- an opinion. It does not offer the British sports media with any credible plan to change their current approach, nor does it put forward any notion of an idyllic existence for British sports writing. In saying that, while not offering much in the way of a set plan, Kelly’s piece did offer enough to this particular author in terms of delivering the inspiration for a thesis.
The issue of diving2 coverage in British sports media is a topic that has been previously covered in great depth by Aidan Clarke (also of Independent Colleges) in 2012, and so thankfully this was not the area with which I held my greatest interest. While Clarke chose to focus explicitly on the
Diving is defined in the laws of the football as an attempt to ‘deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation).’ See: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/afdeveloping/refereeing/law_12_fouls_misconduct_en_47379.pdf, p. 48, accessed 25th April, 2013.
coverage of diving3, my focus will instead comprise of a content analysis on the overarching coverage of foreign footballers in the British sports media -- namely the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and their respective Sunday editions -- within a much smaller period.
Those who have previously pored over Clarke’s thesis will already carry the knowledge that there is a disparity in reporting4 when it comes to the coverage of diving in the British sports media. What interested me most, however, was not the purely quantitative data related to the coverage of diving, but rather the language and narratives that were -- and still are -- adopted by British media organisations in their depiction of non-domestic footballers.
This thesis analyses these narratives in further detail in order to ascertain whether or not there is unfairness existent in the British media’s coverage of foreign footballers. The following paragraphs will offer the reader with a brief outline of the chapters:
Chapter One of this thesis will take the reader through the development of the game of football, from its initial beginnings until the present day. This will prove relevant, as the history of ‘old’ (or non-modernised) football can be linked to a sense of ‘Britishness’, while the development to its current state can be closely tied to the onset of globalisation. Chapter One, in a broader context, will help give the reader an understanding of the current state of the sport -- in the process delivering context.
Chapter Two is comprised of the theoretical framework that will be applied to the research. It will have an in-depth look at the works of Stuart Hall, Martin Conboy and Fred Dervin, who have devoted large parts of their respective careers to the study of topics such as representation, 3
Clarke examined coverage of diving across two newspapers, The Guardian and the Daily Mail, from 2000-2010, and found that a disproportionate amount of diving coverage focused on ‘foreign’ (non-British) footballers. 4 75 per cent of ‘diving’ articles in The Guardian (and 79 per cent in the Daily Mail) involved foreign (non-British) footballers, despite making up less than 60 per cent of the league’s total of professional footballers.
stereotyping, and the language of newspapers.
Chapter Three will consist of an outline of the cases studies and methodology used for the collation and creation of data, and an explanation of the reasoning behind the different type of analyses. Both sets of analyses, and indeed the case studies themselves, will be accompanied by a brief explanation of why they were chosen, and the difficulties involved.
Following on from Chapter Three, the next and final section, Chapter Four, will collate all the information gathered in the previous three Chapters in order to answer the question put forward in the dissertationâ€™s title.
Chapter One – Historical Context 1.1 Pretext
270 million people5 across the world are actively involved in the sport of football6, making it the world’s most popular sport. The sport’s international governing body, FIFA7, currently presides over 209 member associations, and FIFA, as an association, have noted that the sport itself has increased in popularity since the turn of the millenium (from 242 million, to 270 million participants).
FIFA are directly responsible for the organisation of football’s major international tournaments, most notably the World Cup. In fact, in terms of popularity, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, staged in South Africa, was shown in every single country and territory on Earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. Based on viewers watching a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes of coverage, the 2010 tournament reached nearly a third of the world population, with 2.2 billion viewers.8
FIFA’s headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland, and its current president, Sepp Blatter, is a football personality who can be seen and read regularly across the back pages of newspapers. Despite football’s current popularity, however, the sport has not always possessed this universal appeal.
http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/fifafacts/bcoffsurv/emaga_9384_10704.pdf, accessed 15th April, 2013. For clarity, all further uses of the term ‘Football’ refers to Association Football, or Soccer. 7 FIFA: Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 8 http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/archive/southafrica2010/organisation/media/newsid=1473143/index.html, accessed 15th April, 2013. 6
1.2 Early Football
From the beginning of organised football, English authorities had an opposition to foreign footballers playing for their domestic sides. Peter Beck states in his book, Scoring for Britain: International Football and International Politics, 1900-1939, that the sense of isolationist thinking evident in early British football stemmed from “a strong concept of Britishness, a belief in the fundamental superiority of British football, and the primacy of domestic league programmes.”9
FIFA did not exist as an entity until 1904, and by this stage football had been played in various forms across England for the best part of a century. Throughout its initial beginnings, the sport’s10 main issues centred on the fact that the game itself lacked a universal set of rules. Separate schools and universities, such as Eton, Harrow and Cambridge, adopted different codes. So, while each claimed to be playing ‘football’, the entire dynamic of the game changed according to where it was being played.
The Cambridge Rules, for instance, were drawn up in 1848 and allowed for the inclusion of goal kicks, throw-ins and forward passes11, while the Sheffield Rules arrived ten years later, introducing basic legislation around the concept of free kicks, fouls and corners. These rules were not universally implemented, with different regions adopting different rules to suit their game.
Beck, P. Scoring for Britain: International Football and International Politics, 1900-1939, (Routledge, 1999), p.
Although football, at this stage, was not technically a unified sport, the term ‘sport’ is applied for ease of reading in instances such as these. 11 Forward passes had previously been outlawed -- much like rugby, which in fact only became a sport after branching-off from early forms of football.
Jonathan Wilson, in his book Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics, describes the initial stylistic differences in the sport across various British schools:
“At Cheltenham and Rugby, for instance, with their wide, open fields, the game differed little from the mob game. A player could fall on the ground, be fallen upon by a great many of his fellows and emerge from the mud relatively unscathed. On the cloisters of Charterhouse and Westminster, though, such rough-and-tumble would have led to broken bones, and so it was there that the dribbling game developed.”12
Liam Delaney and Tony Fahey note in their research paper, Social and economic value of sport in Ireland, that, “In addition to its popularity as a spectator sport, the attraction of soccer to players may be explained by the informal, ad hoc way in which it can be played. It is suited to the schoolyard or street as well as the soccer pitch, and can be played with three or four players per side as well as with full teams.”13
While Delaney and Fahey attribute football’s current popularity to the fact that it can be played ‘ad hoc’, it is evident that this was not always the case -- the aforementioned fragmentation of rules throughout the early- and mid-19th century led to football, in various forms, remaining a largely in-house sport across its respective schools and universities.
However, this began to change following the formation of the first national governing body for football in England, the Football Association (FA).14 As part of the formation of the FA, an administrative structure was formed and the first official rules of modern football were codified, with initial attempts made for their universal implementation. 12 13 14
Wilson, J. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics, (London, 2008), p.10. Delaney, L. and Fahey, T. Social and economic value of sport in Ireland, (Dublin, 2005), p.13. As the world’s first football association, the FA does not use the national name ‘English’ in its title.
Original attempts were semi-successful15, but it was not until 1877 that a singular set of rules first came to existence: these rules were agreed upon following a meeting between associates of the London FA and Sheffield FA16. The new codification included some ideas from the Sheffield FA, but predominantly incorporated rules that were administered by the London FA. It is noted that London’s “agreement with the Sheffield FA helped strengthen the London FA as the ‘game’s leading authority.’”17
Throughout this period, the Scottish Football Association (1873) was formed, closely followed by the Football Association of Wales (1876) and the Irish Football Association (1880). These four Home Nations competed in an annual international football event (originally called the British Home Championship) from 1883, but it was to be a further 18 years before an international football match took place that did not involve a British team18.
The FA, following much debate, first introduced the notion of professionalism into football in 1885, and in 1888 the Football League19 was created.
This gives credence to Garland and Rowe’s assertion in Racism and Anti-Racism in Football that, “It is argued that English notions of primacy and the mentality of ‘We taught them the game’ are, in some respects, still evident in the thinking of those involved in English football.”20
15 ‘Semi-successful’ to the extent that football, while not yet adopting a singular set of rules, began to move away from the individualistic, regional-based rules that were initially preventing the spread of the sport. Three dominant rules emerged in this period: Sheffield Rules, London (or FA) Rules, and Mixed Rules. 16 In the period 1863-1877, the Sheffield FA and the London FA were to become the two largest Football Associations in England. 17 Hopkins, G. A Sociological Investigation in to the Dynamic Power Balance between the Football League and Football Association: Using the Football League Cup as a Window for Exploration, (University of Chester, 2008), p.24. 18 Uruguay 2-3 Argentina, 16 May 1901, Montevideo. 19 The Football League was introduced in order to provide a regular structure for club teams in which to compete against each other. It is the oldest such competition in world football. 20 Garland, J. and Rowe, M. Racism and Anti-Racism in Football, (New York, 2001), p.15.
Even the earliest media were already beginning to tie football to notions of Britishness, with E.A.C. Thompson writing in The Boys’ Champion Story Paper in 1901: “There is no more manly sport than football. It is so peculiarly and typically British, demanding pluck, coolness and endurance.”21
FIFA was formed in 1904, comprised of seven founding members22, but the British nations did not join -- despite an initial invitation -- until 1905. The World Cup, a tournament created by FIFA, began from 1930, but England did not compete in the event until 1950 -- they had left FIFA for a time, from 1928 until 1946, due to strained relations caused by disputes over what the English perceived to be their game.23
Says Jonathan Wilson, in Inverting the Pyramid, “Everywhere the British went in search of trade and commerce they left the game, and that didn’t just include parts of the Empire.”24 This fact, highlighted by Wilson, only serves to enhance the idea that football was a British construct, which it was, but although Britain laid claims to the origins of the game, its eventual development began to differ across various countries and cultures.
For example, different international teams began to devise and adopt various tactical approaches to the game while the English instead focused on ‘kick and rush’25, a style of playing football that was initially endorsed by Charles Reep26. Reep, through many of his statistical analyses on the 21
Winner, D. Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football, (London, 2005), p.22. Seven founding members: France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium. 23 Garland, J. and Rowe, M. Racism and Anti-Racism in Football, (New York, 2001), p.15. 24 Wilson, J. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics, (London, 2008), p.25. 25 ‘Kick and rush’ was a style of football much like the name suggests: the idea was to kick the ball as far as possible towards the opposition goal -- in the process chasing the ball down as quickly as possible, or ‘rushing’ the opposition into making mistakes. 26 Charles Reep, previously an RAF officer, carved out a career as a football statistician through a series of high-profile analyses -- many of which were the first of its kind, thus giving the impression of sophistication. See: Wilson, J. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics, (London, 2008), p.138-142. 22
game, asserted that kick and rush was the most successful method to win football games.
The moment that inspired a change in English football culture arrived in 1953, when Hungary arrived in London to play a friendly international. The Hungarians won the game 6-3, and in the stands was Sir Bobby Robson, who later said of the game:
“We saw a style of play, a system of play that we had never seen before… None of these players meant anything to us. We didn't know about Puskas. All these fantastic players, they were men from Mars as far as we were concerned.
“They were coming to England, England had never been beaten at Wembley - this would be a 3-0, 4-0 maybe even 5-0 demolition of a small country who were just coming into European football.
“But the way they played, their technical brilliance and expertise - our formation was kyboshed in 90 minutes of football. The game had a profound effect, not just on myself but on all of us. That one game alone changed our thinking. We thought we would demolish this team - England at Wembley, we are the masters, they are the pupils. It was absolutely the other way.”27
England then travelled to Budapest the following year in an attempt to avenge their 6-3 defeat, but were defeated by an even greater margin28. These two defeats prompted the first rethink of football in England. Managers at both club and international level decided, for the first time, to adopt approaches utilised in continental football in order to gain both tactical and fitness
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/football_focus/3224468.stm, accessed 16th April, 2013. Hungary 7-1 England, 23 May 1954, Budapest.
1.3 English dominance on the European stage
A little over ten years later, a sense of superiority had been partly restored to those involved in English football. 1966, in particular, brought about England’s first and only World Cup trophy win, with England defeating West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final.
England’s manager at the time, Alf Ramsay29, took a major tactical gamble for the World Cup, dispensing with the wingers30 English football had become identified with. He replaced them as part of a switch to a previously unfamiliar variation of the 4-4-231 formation, which led to his side becoming known as the ‘wingless wonders’.
Less than 12 months later, at club level, Celtic became the first British club to win the European Cup32, defeating Internazionale 2-1. The following year, another British side, Manchester United, won the European Cup and what followed, throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, was an unprecedented period of dominance for English clubs on the European stage -- as an example of this dominance, English clubs were involved in eight of the nine European Cup final matches from 1977 until 1985, winning seven.
Ramsay had been part of the England side who were humiliated 6-3 by Hungary in 1953. Following this defeat, he was never again selected to play for England. 30 Wingers, in the traditional footballing sense, refer to a particular position on the football pitch, one in which the player in question (the ‘winger’) spends most of his or her time in close proximity to the side edges of the field of play. 31 4-4-2, and any similar numbering system, refers to the general position of all 10 outfield players (the goalkeeper, as an expected player, is generally not included). In this instance, 4-4-2 translates as four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards. 32 The European Cup (later the Champions League) is an annual continental club football competition which was set up by UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) in 1955. It is seen as Europe’s elite cup competition, providing a platform for the best clubs in Europe to compete against each other. UEFA are the administrative body for football in Europe, and a subsidiary (or ‘continental confederation’) of FIFA’s.
1.4 Heysel disaster
Just before the beginning of the 1985 European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool in Heysel Stadium, Brussels, a large number of Liverpool fans breached a fence that had previously separated them from a neutral area containing Juventus supporters. The Juventus fans, in their attempts to flee the oncoming Liverpool supporters, retreated until they reached a concrete wall, which blocked them from travelling any further. In the ensuing chaos, fans already seated near the wall were crushed, and eventually the wall collapsed. Many people climbed over the wall to safety, but others were not so fortunate: 39 Juventus fans eventually crushed to death, and around 600 were injured33.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, described by former UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson as the “darkest hour in the history of UEFA competition”34, 14 Liverpool fans35 were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment following a five-month trial in Belgium.
There were different sides to the post-Heysel argument. Liverpool’s chief executive at the time, Peter Robinson, condemned the violence, but felt the structural state of the ground36 was an equal threat to supporters’ safety. “The ground was not good enough for an ordinary match, let alone a final.” However, UEFA’s representative, Gunther Schneider, disagreed: “Only the English fans were responsible. Of that there is no doubt.”37
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/7500209/Italian-politician-writes-play-about-Heysel-disaster. html, accessed 25th April, 2013. 34 http://www.uefa.com/uefa/socialresponsibility/antiracism/news/newsid=300034.html, accessed 16th April, 2013. 35 Many of the fans had previous convictions for football-related violence. 36 The outer walls of the stadium were made of cinderblock, and ticket less fans were seen, pre-match, kicking holes in the wall to gain access. 37 http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2005/apr/02/championsleague.liverpool, accessed 16th April, 2013.
Following on from the disaster, UEFA banned all English clubs from European competition for an indefinite period, which ended in 1990 with the participation of Aston Villa and Manchester United in the UEFA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup respectively.
1.5 Hillsborough Disaster
The 1989 Hillsborough disaster38 was an incident that occurred during the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. As the match started, amid the roar of the crowd it became apparent that in the central area of the Leppings Lane terrace, already visibly overcrowded before the kick-off, Liverpool fans were in considerable distress.
In fact, the small area in which the crush occurred comprised two pens. Fans had entered down a tunnel under the West Stand into the central pens 3 and 4. Each pen was segregated by lateral fences and a high, overhanging fence between the terrace and the perimeter track around the pitch. There was a small locked gate at the front of each pen.
The crush became unbearable and fans collapsed underfoot. To the front of pen 3 a safety barrier broke, creating a pile of people struggling for breath. Despite CCTV cameras transmitting images of distress in the crowd to the Ground Control Room and to the Police Control Box, and the presence of officers on duty on the perimeter track, it was a while before the seriousness of what was happening was realised and rescue attempts were made.39
96 fans were eventually crushed to death, with hundreds more injured. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, there was a rush to judgment concerning the cause of the disaster and culpability, 38 Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield, was chosen as the â€˜neutralâ€™ location for the two competing sides to contest the FA Cup semi-final. 39 http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/introduction/, accessed 16th April, 2013.
and so the British government decided to commission Lord Taylor of Gosforth to oversee what would eventually become the Taylor Report40. Taylor made a number of conclusions in his final report41, in which he found that the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control.
As part of the report, it was recommended that all major stadia convert to an all-seater model, and that all ticketed spectators should have seats, as opposed to some or all being obliged to stand.
1.6 Beginning of Premier League (and Champions League) Era
In the late 1980s, English football was once again in a perilous state, but for different reasons: stadia were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following on from the aftermath of the Heysel disaster. The English Football League, too, was struggling: achieving much lower attendances and revenues than continental alternatives such as Italyâ€™s Serie A, and Spainâ€™s La Liga.
In the early 1990s, this began to change. Firstly, the Taylor Report, with its recommendations, resulted in a huge increase in the standard of stadiums across England, which eventually translated into larger revenues as increasing amounts of fans began to travel to watch football matches.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, was the breakaway of a group of football clubs from the English Football League in 1992, resulting in the creation of the Premier League42. Previously, 40
Also known as the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry Report. An interim report was released in August, 1989, with the final report arriving in January, 1990. 42 The Premier League was formed as a limited company, and operates as a corporation with commercial independence from the Football Association. This structure appealed to Englandâ€™s largest football clubs, as they all sought to capitalise on the growing influx of revenues into the sport. The commercial independence gave the Premier 41
the Football League had operated as four divisions, but this structural change meant that the Premier League now sat atop a three-division Football League43.
The European Cup was also re-branded and restructured in the same year, when it became the Champions League. Previously, the European Cup only functioned as a knockout cup competition, whereas its replacement, the Champions League, adopted a mini-league format -- a change that resulted in more competitors, more football matches and, in turn, bigger revenues.
In the Premier League’s inaugural season as a competition, its stadiums were 69.6 per cent full, the season’s aggregate attendance was 9.75 million people, and their total turnover was £46 million44. In the first round of Premier League fixtures, just 11 players from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland were part of the 2245 starting line-ups.46
1.7 The Bosman Ruling
Jean-Marc Bosman was a player who signed a contract in 1988 to play football for RFC Liège, a club in the Belgian First Division. The player eventually fell out of favour at the club, and so when his contract expired in 1990, Bosman decided he wanted to change teams and move to Dunkerque, a French team. However, Dunkerque refused to meet his Belgian club’s transfer fee demand, so Liège refused to let him go -- in the process cutting Bosman’s wages by 75 per cent, to £500 a month, as they no longer considered the player a member of their first-team47.
League licence to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements. 43 The Premier League is not a closed-off tournament: three teams are relegated each year and replaced with three promoted teams from the Football League’s highest division. 44 http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/about/history.html, accessed 16th April, 2013. 45 The Premier League originally began with 22 teams, before reducing this amount to 20 in 1995. 46
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-473209/The-lost-generation--How-foreign-players-dominate-Englishgame.html, accessed 16th April. 47 http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/who-is-jeanmarc-bosman-1602219.html, accessed, 16th April, 2013.
Bosman took his case to the European Court of Justice, where he sued for restraint of trade -citing FIFA’s rules regarding football, specifically Article 17.48, and on December 15th, 1995, the court ruled that the system, as it was constituted, placed a restriction on the free movement of workers that was prohibited by Article 39 of the EC Treaty (now Article 45 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union).49
As a direct consequence of the ‘Bosman Ruling’, the European transfer rules of professional football players and the contracts of professional footballers changed considerably. Suddenly, the player possessed much more control over his career, resulting in higher wages as the balance of power began to shift from club to player. At the time of the Bosman Ruling, the wages to turnover ratio at Premier League clubs was 47 percent. Five years later, it had risen to 63 percent -- a figure considered perilously close to a critical level50.
English clubs, pre-Bosman, had also previously found themselves at a huge disadvantage in European competitions, because UEFA decreed that Welsh and Scottish players counted as foreigners under their “three-plus-two” rule51. Within four years of the Bosman Ruling, however, Manchester United had won UEFA’s Champions League trophy52, with only five of their 13 featured players of English nationality.
48 http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/01/06/30/78/statusinhalt_en_122007.pdf, accessed 16th April. 49 Hong, L. The “Bosman Ruling” and the Regulation of Football in the People’s Republic of China (University of Macau, 2010), p.2. 50 http://online.scuola.zanichelli.it/burningissues/files/2010/02/burning_issues_unit_04_lettura_05.pdf, p.2, accessed 16th April, 2013. 51 UEFA’s ‘three-plus-two’ rule stated that any club taking part in a European competition could not field more than three players who were ineligible to play for the country to which the club belonged. Two more players could be fielded if they were naturalised. Even if they did not play for the country the club belonged to, they were eligible to play in Europe if they were still a product of that club's youth training scheme. Ryan Giggs, playing for Wales but developed by English club Manchester United, was perhaps the most famous beneficiary of the ‘plus two’ rule. 52 Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich; Champions League Final, 26th May, 1999; Camp Nou, Barcelona.
1.8 Modern Football
The Premier League, in its current state, is for a variety of reasons far removed from the competition it became a little over 20 years ago. Consecutive successful financial negotiations, the likes of broadcast and sponsorship agreements, have improved revenues for the large majority of its competing teams. Fans, too, have increased in numbers. In 201153, Premier League grounds were 92.2 per cent full, the season’s attendance was 13.4 million54, and Premier League turnover stood at £1.202 billion55.
The demographic breakdown of the Premier League has also changed hugely in the last 20 years. The Bosman Ruling, coupled with the increasing financial strength of Premier League football teams, are among the main reasons for this change -- creating an infrastructure that supported, and continues to support, an influx of foreign56 footballers.
The Premier League, for example, had just 11 foreign players start across all 22 teams throughout its opening weekend, but today foreign players represent the majority -- making up 55.1 per cent of the league’s total footballer count57.
The change can also be seen at the level of football management. Since the turn of the century, England’s national team have hired their first ever non-English football manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, in 2001, with their second, Fabio Capello, appointed in 2007. In 1992, 15 of the 22 53
The figures from 2011 are the latest reliable statistics available. This figure does not represent a huge difference to 1992/93’s figure of 9.75 million, but it must be noted that, since the League reduced from 22 to 20 teams in 1995, the total amount of games played in a season has reduced, too -from 462 games, to 380. 55 http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/about/history.html, accessed 17th April, 2013. 56 The term ‘foreign’ refers to footballers who were not born in either the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. 54
http://www.sportingintelligence.com/2013/01/21/new-research-foreign-players-at-record-levels-across-european-footba ll-210102/, accessed 16th April, 2013.
Premier League managers were English, whereas today only five are English-born58.
Aidan Clarke highlights the end product of what was essentially a hyper-globalisation of the Premier League, when he states:
“The sport’s global appeal can be best summarised by the fact that the jersey of Chelsea FC striker, Didier Drogba, was placed in the British Museum in late 2010... Drogba, born in the Ivory Coast, raised in France, he plays for a team in London, managed then by a man from Portugal, the team is owned by a Russian, the shirt is manufactured by a German company (Adidas) in China, and on its front bears the logo of their sponsor, a Korean company (Samsung). Alongside the shirt is a “knock-off” of the same jersey purchased at a market stall in Peru.”59
This hyper-globalisation that occurred across the English Premier League is relevant to this thesis, because the resulting ideological clash between hyper-globalisation and the traditional concepts of Britishness and isolationism are played out through the news that we, as consumers, read and digest across national newspapers. This will be demonstrated in further detail over the next three chapters.
A further six were born in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Clarke, A. “Diving is something the England lads don’t do”, an examination of the reportage of diving in the English football media, 2000-2010. (Dublin, 2012), p.7. 59
Chapter Two - Literature Review 2.1 Moral Panics & British Newspaper Coverage of Foreign Nationals
The demographic breakdown of England has changed considerably from the years 2001-2011, with the amount of people considered to be in the category, ‘White: British’ seeing a significant drop, from 87 per cent60 to 79.8 per cent61. In this same ten-year timeframe, most other groups in England have witnessed an increase: from various Asian groups62, to ‘White: Other’63, which went from 2.7 per cent to 4.6 per cent.
This change in demography, although not as acute as the change observed in Premier League football, resulted in heightened tensions across England, and indeed most of Britain, eventually leading to the creation of a moral panic64, which centred predominantly around the issue of foreign nationals. This moral panic is, to this day, continually reinforced by publications in the British news media, most notably The Daily Mail, who have printed stories such as, ‘Foreign workers take yet more UK jobs’65, ‘Foreign dentists who are ruining our teeth’66, and, ‘NHS tells doctors: You must treat all foreigners to protect their human rights... but you can still turn away
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/census-2001-key-statistics/local-authorities-in-england-and-wales/local-authoriti es-ks06--ethnic-group.xls, accessed 17th April, 2013. 61
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/key-statistics-for-local-authorities-in-england-and-wales/rft-table-ks 201ew.xls, accessed 17th April, 2013. 62 Every Asian group in the census (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Asian Other) increased in numbers between 2001-2011. 63 ‘White: Other’ is the term used in the census to describe people who self-identify as white persons who are neither British nor Irish. 64 Stanley Cohen defines a moral panic as when, “A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests; its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media.” See: Cohen, S. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers, (London, 1973), p.1. 65
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2062477/UK-youth-unemployment-hits-1m-foreign-workers-UK-jobs.html, accessed 17th April, 2013. 66
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2069437/Foreign-dentists-ruining-teeth-They-slip-home-avoid-damages-claim s-say-lawyers.html, accessed 17th April, 2013.
Ellie Mae O’Hagan, a journalist with The Guardian, has struggled to understand the reasoning for The Daily Mail’s continuing stance, describing the newspaper at one stage as “an amoral cash cow; one that knows its readers frighteningly well, and makes money by appealing to their very worst instincts.”68
The evolution of football, over such a short period of time -- from what was once a predominantly British environment -- generated similar problems. Those connected with the game were found on occasion to be making crude, unfounded comments on its ever-changing state -- with some of these quotes receiving prominence across national British media.
It was Sir Dave Richards69, for example, who stated70:
“England gave the world football. It gave the best legacy anyone could give. We gave them the game. For 50 years we owned the game … We were the governance of the game. We wrote the rules, designed the pitches and everything else.
“Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said: ‘You’re liars,’ and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA. Fifty years later another gang came along called UEFA and stole a bit more.”71
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2217011/GPs-treat-foreigners-new-guidelines.html, accessed 17th April, 2013. 68 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/03/best-way-angry-daily-mail, accessed 17th April, 2013. 69 Sir Dave Richards, at the time, was Premier League chairman and FA vice-chairman. 70 Both the Premier League and the FA were quick to distance themselves from the remarks, announcing that Richards made the comments while attending the event in a “personal capacity”. 71 http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/mar/14/dave-richards-fifa-uefa-stole-football, accessed 17th April, 2013.
News media organisations were also guilty of capitalising on the Premier League’s sea change, with coverage along a similar theme; two striking examples, in particular, were from England’s Metro newspaper and the Belfast Telegraph: ‘English football ‘threatened by foreign players’72, and, ‘Foreigners ruining English game, says Ardiles’73.
In order to highlight the significance of this coverage, Martin Conboy demonstrates the sheer strength of the British newspaper in his book, Tabloid Britain, when he writes, “They maintain the status quo politically and culturally in their editorial stance towards their readership and in their nationally based idiom they continue to stabilize a strong sense of Britain.”74
2.2. Stereotyping and the ‘Other’
Fred Dervin, in his paper Cultural identity, representation, and Othering, describes stereotypes as “a set of beliefs about the characteristics of a category of people”, listing common ‘characteristics’ such as, “personality traits, attributions, intentions, behavioural descriptions.” The images that emerge from stereotypes, says Dervin, are “often stable and decontextualised, and the stereotypes themselves are, “often described as being static, limited and inert, but they often change as their content is not shared by everybody but is contextually and individually determined. They can serve the purpose of showing how superior one’s group is (but also oneself) and differentiate.”75
Dervin continues by splitting stereotyping in two: from auto-stereotypes, which regard people’s in-group; to hetero-stereotypes, which are related to an out-group -- more commonly known as 72
http://metro.co.uk/2007/09/04/english-football-threatened-by-foreign-players-88717/, accessed 17th April.
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/foreigners-ruining-english-game-says-ardiles-2855233 4.html, accessed 17th April, 2013. 74 Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.13. 75 http://users.utu.fi/freder/dervinhandbookcorrect.pdf, p.6, accessed 17th April, 2013.
This out-group, the ‘Other’, is a topic covered in-depth by Stuart Hall77 in ‘Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices’. According to Hall, the Other is reinforced through stereotyping, which “sets up a symbolic frontier between the ‘normal’ and the ‘deviant’, the ‘normal’ and the ‘pathological’, the ‘acceptable’ and the ‘unacceptable’, what ‘belongs’ and what does not or is ‘Other’, between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, Us and Them. It facilitates the ‘binding’ or bonding together of all of Us who are ‘normal’ into one ‘imagined community’; and it sends into symbolic exile all of Them -- ‘the Others’ -- who are in some way different -‘beyond the pale’.”78
Hall notes the views of Mary Douglas, saying, “Mary Douglas, for example, argued that whatever is ‘out of place’ is considered as polluted, dangerous, taboo. Negative feelings cluster around it. It must be symbolically excluded if the ‘purity’ of the culture is to be restored.” With regard to foreign footballers, the ‘out of place’ is strengthened through the regular use of negative language in the media such as ‘filthy’ and ‘cheat’ towards those not born in Britain. There are certain stereotypes attached to ‘the Others’ in the English game: that they are, for the large part, ‘diving’ and ‘cheating’ in order to gain advantages from their ‘honest’ English counterparts.
At the same time, headlines mentioned earlier such as, English football ‘threatened by foreign players’, and, ‘Foreigners ruining English game, says Ardiles’ are equally useful as a means to reinforce the idea that the foreign footballer is the Other -- and that, as Mary Douglas stated, they must be “symbolically excluded” if the ‘purity’ of the culture (in this case, the ‘honest’ British game of football) is to be restored. 76 77 78
http://users.utu.fi/freder/dervinhandbookcorrect.pdf, p.6, accessed 17th April, 2013. Stuart Hall, the Jamaican-born cultural theorist, not to be confused with BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall. Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.258.
While foreign footballers have undoubtedly been placed into the category of the ‘Other’, it is at the same time very awkward, perhaps impossible, for the British sports media to continually place them into this category -- this is down to the fact that football is not just an international sport played between different countries, it is also contested at club level, and as long as there are English fans supporting English clubs (who employ foreign footballers), the foreign footballer will escape full-scale scrutiny because the situation fails to permanently establish an “us versus them” dichotomy79.
2.3 Theories of Representation & Encoding/Decoding
According to Stuart Hall, there are broadly speaking three approaches to explaining how representation of meaning through language works. These are the reflective, the intentional and the constructionist approaches.
In the reflective approach, “meaning is thought to lie in the object, person, idea or event in the real world, and language functions like a mirror, to reflect the true meaning as it already exists in the world.”80 The second approach to meaning in representation, the intentional approach, argues the opposite, asserting that it is the author who “imposes his or her unique meaning on the world through language.”81
Hall argues that both the reflective and intentional approaches are inherently flawed. He first uses a phrase from the poet Gertrude Stein82 as an example of the flaws in the reflective approach. If 79
Billings A. and Hundley. H, Examining Identity in Sports Media, (California, 2010), p.7. Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.24. 81 Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.25. 82 Gertrude Stein, an American poet, was well-known for a poem called Sacred Emily, in which she wrote, ‘A rose is a rose is a rose.’ 80
language were to function as a mirror, says Hall, then it would be impossible for the recipient to address the signifying conflict between an actual rose, and a two-dimensional visual image of a rose.
Hall then debunks the intentional approach, insisting that if all authors were simply “imposing their unique meaning on the world through language”, then language itself would become an entirely private concept, with nobody understanding each other -- and the “essence of language is communication”, says Hall, with this, in turn, depending on “shared linguistic conventions and codes.”83
Hall instead favours the third theory of representation, the constructionist approach, which acknowledges that “things don’t mean: we construct meaning, using representational systems -concepts and signs.”
Perhaps most importantly, because it ties back to the representation of foreign footballers in British sports media, is Hall’s final word on the constructionist approach: “…the meaning depends, not on the material quality of the sign, but on its symbolic function. It is because a particular sound or word stands for, symbolizes or represents a concept that it can function, in language, as a sign and convey meaning -- or as the constructionists say, signify.”84
As an extension of the constructionist approach, Hall also notes that we, as individuals, have different ways of constructing meaning from the messages that the media put before us: a theory he refers to as the Encoding/Decoding Model of Communication85.
Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.25. Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.26. 85 Kellner D. and Durham, Meenakshi Gigi. (eds.) Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, (Oxford, 2006), p.163-194. 84
Hall states that there are many reasons we interpret (or ‘decode’) messages differently than others: noting that an individual’s cultural background, economic standing, or personal experiences can all have an effect on the outcome of the decoding process. He states that encoding a message is merely the first step in the process of creating meaning, and the process is not completed until the message is fully decoded.
According to Hall, all messages carry with them a ‘preferred meaning’ (i.e. the meaning the hegemonically-dominant would prefer the decoders of the message to accept), but these preferred meanings will not always be successfully transmitted. It is his view that the decoder of a message can adopt three positions in the decoding process:
“The first occurs when decoders simply and unproblematically accept and internalize the ‘preferred’ meaning(s) as intended by the encoder. A second possibility is that decoders, operating within ‘an oppositional code’, reject the message. A third possibility is a ‘negotiated’ meaning that results when decoders accept some elements of the ‘preferred’ meaning, but reject other aspects. Hall’s encoding/decoding model effectively reads the notion of hegemonic struggle into the communicative process.”86
Eric Louw, while tending to largely agree with Hall’s Encoding/Decoding model, notes the difficulties faced when it comes to the repeated decodings of similar texts: “When we encounter a text we necessarily see it in the light of images, ideas, agendas and biases which we have already acquired from previously processed texts. In a sense, intertextuality means that readers are, to some extent, always ‘pre-coded’”87.
Louw, E. The Media and Cultural Production, (London, 2001), p.206. Louw, E. The Media and Cultural Production, (London, 2001), p.209.
“It is also important to note that once an individual has internalized a text and accepted that text’s particular interpretation, s/he develops a ‘commitment’ to that particular frame of reference.”88
The second quote from Louw is particularly important in developing a thorough understanding into the coverage of foreign footballers in the British sports media. It tells us that readers are capable of decoding a message in a manner that results in the carrying of stereotypes, and that once a certain stereotype is carried, the reader begins to develop a ‘commitment’ to maintaining this particular stereotype -- for example, if you tell an individual that, ‘foreigners are ruining football’, and the person’s cultural background, or personal experiences allow for this opinion to be accepted, then that person will carry this stereotype into future reading of similar texts.
Hall, as a left-leaning cultural theorist, carries an optimistic view of the decoding process -arguing that receivers (or ‘decoders’) are capable of altering hegemonically-dominant messages over time through a sense of collective rejection -- but Leow instead points to the power of group mentality, one which would hinder change:
“Rather than be the ‘odd one out’ individuals will often follow the majority and ‘jump on the bandwagon’. In essence, the pressures towards ‘groupthink’ can be a powerful influence on how texts are read. A sense of belongingness, group solidarity and the desire to maintain existing relationships can significantly impact on how people (allow themselves to) interpret incoming stimuli, and so undermine their competence as readers. All of these factors influence not only the readers of media texts but also the producers of these texts, who have to read their environment in order to report on it.”89
Louw, E. The Media and Cultural Production, (London, 2001), p.210. Louw, E. The Media and Cultural Production, (London, 2001), p.211.
2.4 The semantics and narrative of nation
For a media message to be received successfully, it needs to be constructed, or encoded, in a way that will appeal to a large majority of the receiving audience. A lot of this depends on the types of language that are used in its production. With reference to language, Martin Conboy speaks of the “rhetorical” patterns of language in Tabloid Britain, “we can now move on to see how rhetoric is deployed to provide a relatively consistent view of the national community which it seeks to reinforce.”90
Conboy speaks of a sense of ‘nation’ in British tabloids when he writes, “The vast majority of newspapers are sold on a national basis, have a strong national bias to their news values and in Billig’s words, ‘flag the homeland daily’.”91
He adds that ‘Brits’ and ‘Britons’ are common, collective tags which serve to reinforce the national community in populist form.
“The implicit hostility of a world divided in populist terms between the Brits and rest, with all the political condensation that implies, fits well with simple binaries of tabloid news… The antipathy explicit here between the ‘Brit’ and the ‘foreign’ will always be newsworthy given the importance of the national/communal to the agenda of the tabloids and the fact that national identity always seems to be enhanced by any form of conflict.”92
Conboy also speaks of football’s role as a “popular national metaphor”, referring to press coverage of the English national team in the build-up to the EURO 2004 football tournament. He 90 91 92
Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.46. Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.47. Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.49.
quotes four examples of press coverage at the time (“DEFOE CAN LEAD SVEN TO GLORY”, “Cole: We must dig deep to bury the French”, “23 gladiators” in England shirts, and Eriksson himself has “all his weapons charged and fully loaded”), all four of which fit with claims that the press is essential in “reinforcing and popularising the elements of the ‘myth-symbol complex’93 necessary for older forms of ethnically rooted nationalism.”94
Press coverage of this kind reinforces a sense of ‘Britishness’, which in turn serves to simultaneously strengthen the binary opposition of the ‘Other’. Stuart Hall speaks of the dangers tied to a “naturalness” of language, and the capability of the press to “produce apparently ‘natural’ recognitions”, which have the effect of concealing the present practices of coding, while also warning that “we must not be fooled by appearances”.
The “degree of habituation” discussed by Hall is a topic that is relevant to the coverage of foreign footballers. Hall states that if a message is decoded often enough, it can reach a stage where “the decoding side will frequently assume the status of naturalized perceptions”.
In relation to naturalized perceptions, Hall uses the cow as an example: “This leads us to think that the visual sign for 'cow' actually is (rather than represents) the animal, cow. But if we think of the visual representation of a cow in a manual on animal husbandry - and. even more, of the linguistic sign 'cow' - we can see that both, in different degree, are arbitrary with respect to the concept of the animal they represent.”95
In Stuart Kaufman’s view, “each ethnic group is defined by a “myth-symbol complex” that helps single out those elements of shared culture and an interpretation of common history that ties members of one group together and binds the group together while distinguishing it from others.” See: Cordell, K. and Wolff, S. Ethnic Conflict: Causes, Consequences, and Responses, (Cambridge, 2010), p. 30. 94 Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.63. 95 Hall, S. Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-1979, (London & New York, 1980), p.121.
The coverage of foreign footballers in England is capable of creating similar problems to the concept of Hall’s cow: if newspapers continually reinforce stereotypes in their coverage, such as ‘diving’, ‘cheating’ foreigners, who are ‘destroying’ or ‘ruining’ the game, it could lead to a stage where ‘naturalized perception’ is reached and the majority of readers believe in something that is neither accurate or fair.
2.5 Racism and xenophobia in football
Despite the xenophobia and sensationalising of foreign outsiders, most of the time the press are careful to condemn any expression of overt racism. This was illustrated perfectly in the Ron Atkinson affair where a near unanimity was expressed across the range of tabloids in Britain.96 Atkinson, a retired football manager, was heard to utter a brief but explicit racist diatribe against a black player97 while acting in his role as a television commentator in 2004.
He was universally criticised in print media, with Conboy finding that the likes of The Sun, Daily Star and The Daily Mail were most vocal in their criticisms: from, “There is no room in football -- or anywhere else -- for attitudes and language like Atkinson’s”, to “Racist Ron so wrong” and “Ron Atkinson should be setting an example, not descending to the level of the skinheads.”
The interesting thing to note in this instance is how culture and attitudes change over time, and what was once acceptable ceases to be. Atkinson’s comments (that French defender, Marcel Desailly, was “a fucking lazy big nigger”) sparked universal outrage -- and rightly so. But as Stuart Hall points out in Representations: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, the
Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.113. Atkinson, who called French defender Marcel Desailly “a fucking lazy big nigger” ,was operating under the mistaken belief that his studio microphone was turned off. 97
“innate laziness” of black slaves was once a popular representation of racial difference.98
“If the differences between black and white people are ‘cultural’, then they are open to modification and change. But if they are ‘natural’99 -- as the slave-holders believed -- then they are beyond history, permanent and fixed.”100
The coverage received by foreign footballers, although obviously a much less serious problem than the issue of black slavery, carries much of the same problems. The constant association of foreigners with ‘diving’ and ‘cheating’ seems to be, for now, a cultural issue, but its constant reinforcement across sports media is part of an attempt to ‘naturalize’ the difference.
Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.244. ‘Natural’, in this instance, refers to the process of naturalization, which Hall describes as, “a representational strategy designed to fix ‘difference’.” 100 Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, (London, 1997), p.245. 99
Chapter Three - Case Studies & Methods of Analysis 3.1 Case Studies
The issue concerning the coverage and general representation of foreign footballers in the British sports media is too broad a topic to consider in its entirety across a thesis of this size. With this in mind, it was natural that certain relevant case studies were substituted in its place in order to accurately represent what is clearly a substantially larger issue; the case studies selected, in this instance, are the respective ‘race rows’ involving Liverpool FC’s Luis Suárez101, and later, Chelsea FC’s John Terry102.
Both Suárez103 and Terry104, in two separate incidents, were charged with a breach of FA Rules in October, 2011, namely sections E3(1)105 and E3(2)106 of the FA rulebook. However, despite the fact that both players were charged with the same offence by the FA, an initial analysis of newspaper coverage revealed certain discrepancies across the British sports media.
It was The Guardian, for example who were prominent with their use of the word “racism”107 in the Suárez case, instead opting for the term “abusive language”108 in relation to Terry. Also,
Suarez is a professional footballer from Uruguay, who has spent the majority of his career to date in Uruguay and, later, the Netherlands. Liverpool FC paid Ajax, a Dutch side, £22.8million to acquire his services in January, 2011. 102 John Terry is an English professional footballer, and captain of Chelsea FC, a club he has been contracted to since the beginning of his professional career in 1998. He has made almost 400 first-team appearances for Chelsea FC to date, and has also captained England, his national side, for a period of almost five years (from August 2006 to February 2010, and again from March 2011 to February 2012). 103 Suárez was charged following an altercation with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a 1-1 draw between the two sides in Liverpool on October 15th, 2011. 104 Terry was charged following an altercation with QPR’s Anton Ferdinand during QPR’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea in London on October 23rd, 2011. 105 FA Rule E3(1): A participant shall at all times act in the best interests of the game and shall not act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute or use any one, or a combination of, violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour. 106 FA Rule E3(2): In the event of any breach of Rule E3(1) including a reference to any one or more of a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability (an “aggravating factor”), a Regulatory Commission shall consider the imposition of an increased sanction. 107 http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/nov/16/luis-suarez-fa-charge-racism-evra, accessed 25th April, 2013. 108 http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jul/27/john-terry-fa-abusive-language, accessed 25th April, 2013.
under the Suárez headline, The Guardian gave prominence to Patrice Evra’s allegation he was insulted “at least ten times”109, and included a reference to FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, who had been criticised in the British press earlier that day for suggesting footballers should “settle rows with handshakes”110. Under the Terry headline, however, The Guardian adopted a more reserved tone, publishing just two sentences: “Terry charged over incident with QPR’s Anton Ferdinand”, and, “Chelsea captain denies charge and asks for hearing”.
Differences were also noted in The Daily Mirror, who carried the prominent, bolded, back-page headline of “RACIST”111 following the FA’s judgment in the Suárez case, while in the corresponding incident involving Terry, the same newspaper published a headline of, “Kicked In The Teeth”112.
This type of disproportionate coverage resurfaces all of the issues mentioned in the previous chapter: from moral panics, to newspaper coverage of foreign nationals, representation, and the ‘Other’. Perhaps most importantly, however, it relates to the topic of the semantics and narratives of nation.
While the incidents, in The Daily Mirror and The Guardian respectively, did serve to provoke the author’s attention, they were not alone sufficient in any concerted attempt to prove the British sports media were inherently unfair in their coverage of foreign footballers. With this in mind, the author felt it necessary to undertake a study on a much larger scale. 109
P.43 (or paragraph 159) in the findings of the FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission notes: “(Mr Evra) told us that he did not mean this in the literal sense, it was just a way of talking. In French, he said, it is common to say something like “more than 10 times” but for you not to mean that it was actually over 10 times. It was just a figure of speech.” See: http://www.bakchich.info/sites/bakchich.info/files/article_files/fa_v_suarez_written_reasons_of_regulatory_commissio n_0.pdf, accessed 25th April, 2013. 110 http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/nov/16/sepp-blatter-fifa-race-rows-handshakes, accessed 25th April, 2013. 111 http://simonreah.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/477045116.jpg, accessed 25th April, 2013. 112 http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/579641_444101768974325_860221111_n.jpg, accessed 25th April, 2013.
3.2 Newspapers chosen for further analysis
The news media organisations chosen by the author for the study, The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph, were selected for a variety of reasons.
The Daily Telegraph, along with both The Times and The Guardian, is viewed as one of Britain’s “big three” in terms of broadsheet news media. While it is true that The Guardian is largely viewed as the best performer of the three in an online setting, The Daily Telegraph has a print circulation113 that is almost as much as both its rivals combined114.115 It is a newspaper that “has consistently combined a high standard of reporting with the selection of interesting feature articles and editorial presentation. It takes a conservative, middle-class approach to comprehensive news coverage.”116
The Daily Mail, on the other hand, is a tabloid newspaper that, instead of taking a conservative, middle-class approach, appears to thrive on moral panics and sensationalism. It is, for the large part, an ultra right-wing publication -- many of their stories carry nationalist and isolationist tones that are wrapped up in a general theme of hysteria. Despite this, it is currently Britain’s second-most read newspaper -- with nearly four times as many readers as The Daily Telegraph.117.
The contrasting styles of both The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph provide the best platform on which to conduct a thorough content analysis, with the Sunday editions of each newspaper
113 114 115 116 117
The Daily Telegraph had a monthly print circulation of 555,817 for January, 2013. The Times: 399,339; The Guardian: 204,440. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2013/feb/08/abcs-national-newspapers, accessed 23rd April, 2013. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/149881/The-Daily-Telegraph, accessed 23rd April, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2013/feb/08/abcs-national-newspapers, accessed 23rd April, 2013.
also included in order to offer more depth to the eventual analysis118 of the case studies.
3.3 Approaches to the case studies
It is clear that a content analysis of the entire coverage concerning both cases, across four newspapers, would be both impractical and unnecessary. Instead, three periods of time were chosen: coverage of one month post-incident, one week post-charge119, and one week post-punishment. These parameters have been set as they are the periods of time in which newspaper coverage was most concentrated: Suárez is involved in 160 articles throughout this time, with Terry attached to 236.
The studies will be of both a quantitative and a qualitative nature. The quantitative study will be comprised of a keywords search, with chosen words that are relevant, separately, to both Suárez and Terry. This study will attempt to demonstrate that certain aspects of the English language are sometimes used in an effort to frame situations in different ways in order to suit a certain agenda: in this case reinforcing the previously mentioned element of the ‘Other’.
The qualitative study will be more comprehensive in nature, comprising of a study of the language used as part of the structure of each article. This qualitative study will stress the importance of the language used in certain headlines, but also, where necessary, the content inside each, including the structure of sentences. It will perform a role similar to that of the quantitative study, in that it will attempt to show the importance of the language used, but at the same time it will relate back to other issues such as representation, and the general coverage 118
Weekly newspapers tend to offer a more rounded approach to coverage -- leaning towards feature-based and comment pieces over the strait-laced news reporting that is more common in a daily newspaper. Both Sunday editions have been included in this thesis in order to provide a more comprehensive analysis of each case study. 119 Terry’s case was also brought before the courts -- for the sake of balance, and clarity, use of the word ‘charge’ in Terry’s case will be the same as Suárez’s: the charge brought by the FA, and not the London Metropolitan Police.
received by foreign footballers in comparison to their English counterparts.
As part of the quantitative and qualitative analyses, both cases will continually be compared and contrasted with each other in order to ascertain whether there were indeed marked differences in the respective coverage of both cases.
Chapter 4 - Quantitative and Qualitative Data & Analysis 4.1 Quantitative Data & Analysis
Between the three time periods outlined in chapter three, there were a total of 396 articles across all four publications containing the key words ‘Suarez’ or ‘Terry’, with 160 of these articles relating to Luis Suarez, and 236 relating to John Terry.
Throughout the 160 articles concerning Luis Suarez, there were 799 individual mentions of the word ‘Suarez’ (an average of 4.99 mentions per article), while within the 236 articles related to John Terry, there were 1445 instances of the word ‘Terry’ (6.12 mentions per article).
Of the 160 Suarez articles, there were 83 from The Daily Telegraph, 16 from the Sunday Telegraph, 50 from The Daily Mail, and 11 from the Mail on Sunday.
Of the 236 Terry articles, there were 98 from The Daily Telegraph, 20 from the Sunday Telegraph, 94 from The Daily Mail, and 24 from the Mail on Sunday.
It is clear from these figures that The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph took more of an interest in Suarez than The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. The statistics for Terry, however, suggest an exact 50/50 split between both broadsheet and tabloid. 37
A number of words were chosen120 for a keyword search as part of the quantitative analysis. These words were comprised of a mix of different types of language that could reinforce stereotypes attributed to foreign and domestic footballers as previously outlined in chapter three.
In terms of supporting the theory that foreign footballers are unfairly represented in the British sports media, the quantitative results in the cases of both Suarez and Terry are mixed. While there are some clear signs that the notion of â€˜Britishnessâ€™ is attributed to John Terry in a football 120
Further details of the keyword search can be found in Appendix A.
context (throughout ‘Terry’ articles, there were 364 instances of the word ‘captain’ (88 in Suarez), 70 of ‘leader’ (16 in Suarez), and 1339 of ‘England’ (665 in Suarez)), at the same time there are contradictions. For example, there are more mentions of the word ‘loyal’ attributed to Suarez (10 for Suarez, 6 for Terry), and less mentions for words carrying negative connotations, such as ‘guilty’ (50 in Suarez, 111 in Terry) and ‘problem’ (52 for Suarez, 73 for Terry).
However, Suarez is involved in significantly less newspaper coverage than Terry in the specified timeframes, so it is possible a more accurate analysis can be offered through a method of ‘mentions per article’121. For instance, while the word ‘guilty’, in a straightforward counting process, was 50-111 in favour of Suarez, it instead represents a difference of just 3.2-2.12122 through ‘mentions per article’.
Through this particular method, most other keywords fall into the middle category -- representing both Suarez and Terry almost evenly. Examples of this are ‘racism’ (Suarez: 1.34 MPA, Terry: 1.24 MPA), ‘racist’ (Suarez: 0.75 MPA, Terry: 0.699 MPA), and ‘racial abuse’ (Suarez: 0.125 MPA, Terry: 0.101 MPA).
An example of the ‘Other’ being reinforced through these case studies can perhaps be seen through a lack of coverage around certain words. For example, the word ‘Terry’ is seen far more in Suarez articles (1.01 MPA) than the other way around: the word ‘Suarez’ in Terry articles receives just 0.385 MPA. Also, the word ‘England’ is seen substantially more in Suarez articles (4.16 MPA), than ‘Uruguay/Uruguayan’ is seen in Terry’s (0.029 MPA).
These discrepancies can be tied back to the views of Martin Conboy in chapter three, when he 121
Mentions Per Article: MPA. In other words, one mention of the word ‘guilty’ for Suarez every 3.2 articles. Similarly, for Terry, one mention of ‘guilty’ every 2.12 articles. 122
states that, “The vast majority of newspapers are sold on a national basis, have a strong national bias to their news values and in Billig’s words, ‘flag the homeland daily’.”123 It can be argued that the British newspapers, in this instance, are attaching words such as ‘Terry’ and ‘England’ to the Suarez articles because it supplies a national bias to their news values -- this view is supplemented further through the lack of corresponding ‘Uruguay/Uruguayan’ and ‘Suarez’ in the Terry articles.
Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain, (London & New York, 2006), p.47.
4.2 Qualitative Data & Analysis 4.2.1 Pretext
Football at club level, as noted previously, is not overtly played out in the media as an “us versus them” dichotomy. There are many different allegiances in the club game, which in turn makes it difficult for any news organisation to continue with prolonged and overt displays of racial stereotyping. This pretext notes that, while common themes will be picked out from the coverage of all four publications, these themes should not be misconstrued as overarching or dominant -instead these potential themes are interspersed between the somewhat mundane: from match reports, to 100-word injury updates.
However, the arguments that have been brought forward in previous chapters (in particular on the topic of encoding/decoding) show the power that these common themes can potentially have. For instance, coverage on a set theme does not have to be consistent or entirely regular -- it does not take daily newspaper articles calling someone a ‘cheat’ and a ‘diver’ for an opinion to gain credibility in the mind of a reader. The danger is in the pre-coding, or the ‘naturalizing’.
4.2.2 Post-incident (Suarez: 14 October - 15 November; Terry: 23 October - 24 November)
As with any legally sensitive issue, all four newspapers were careful in the wording of their articles throughout these periods. There were no overt differences in the coverage of the respective cases, but it was The Daily Mail who were perhaps the strongest with their reinforcement of a sense of ‘Britishness’.
While not on the receiving end of direct criticism, the only credible support Luis Suarez received 41
in the media throughout the one-month period was from his own manager, Kenny Dalglish -- and the support was not against the allegations of racism. On November 5th, Dominic King of The Daily Mail published an article entitled, Suarez is no diver. The first sentence was, “Kenny Dalglish has hit back at suggestions that Liverpool livewire Luis Suarez is a serial diver.”
Elsewhere, the coverage on Suarez was balanced. The Daily Telegraph, for example, had an article on October 16th, Evra says he was racially abused by Suarez, but followed up the next day with, Suarez hits back at Evra over race row. Again, on the 18th, they published, Evra determined to pursue Suarez claim, but on the 20th it was a response of, Crunch time for Evra over racism claim.
While, for the large part, Luis Suarez was neither supported nor criticised in the media throughout this period, John Terry came in for a significant amount of support. Firstly, a sense of Britishness was invoked with an article in The Daily Mail on October 27th, Terry saga threatens to rip apart England. The following day, The Daily Mail published, I heard no race slur, with the subheading of, “Witness Ivanovic will back captain Terry as FA officials prepare to meet Ferdinand again.”
On the 29th, The Daily Mail again had two articles, AVB counts on Terry factor, and, Wenger warning over abuse probe. In the first, the subheading states, “Chelsea will call on siege mentality to hunt down leaders.” The content of the second article is perhaps more interesting from the angle of representation. It reads, “Arsene Wenger (manager of Arsenal FC) has warned against persecuting players for remarks made in the heat of battle. While not condoning racism, Wenger said there was ‘a real debate’ to be had about words said in the cut and thrust of a football match.”
Despite this article arriving just two weeks after the Suarez-Evra altercation, there is no reference 42
drawn to it -- instead, the article focuses entirely on John Terry. From a representational standpoint, it is interesting to note that Wenger is a respected football manager working at the highest level of English club football, defending against potential words said in the ‘heat of battle’, and the only reference is to John Terry.
On October 30th, there was an article concerning Anton Ferdinand in the Mail on Sunday, which in fact served to act as a veiled defence of Terry, I’m behind Anton but I didn’t hear Terry say anything.
The following day, Martin Samuel of The Daily Mail wrote an opinion piece, with the first two paragraphs reading:
“There will be a statement today, according to 'sources'. 'Friends' claim Rio Ferdinand thinks there is a case to answer, while 'insiders' have been getting very busy, too. Yet, seven days on and with as many as 19 fellow human beings in earshot, we are still guessing at what John Terry might have said to Anton Ferdinand and in what context.
“Beside mysterious 'pals' and anonymous 'camp' members, nobody has put a name, publicly, to a piece of concrete evidence. Even Anton Ferdinand's club, Queens Park Rangers, have not made an official complaint. The Football Association confirmed yesterday that they were merely asked to conduct an investigation. This is on-going and no apologies should be due for its time span.”
The piece mentions Suarez-Evra briefly (in paragraphs five, 18, and 26), but otherwise largely concerns Terry and the perceived lack of evidence surrounding his altercation with Anton Ferdinand. 43
On November 6th, there are two Mail on Sunday articles criticising Terry, Terry should stand down from England, says Powell, and, Surely it’s time for England to do without John Terry, but they are overwhelmed in the days following by a series of articles that portray a sense of Britishness, THE JOHN TERRY I KNOW IS NOT A RACIST, SAYS THE MAN WHO WAS ENGLAND'S FIRST BLACK CAPTAIN (Mail on Sunday, November 6th), No Rooney, no captain, no Rio, and no hope (Mail on Sunday, November 6th), Here’s why the FA think we should never need a foreign manager again (Daily Mail, November 9th), People died for our freedom…and that includes the freedom to say no to FIFA (Daily Mail, November 9th), and, Fabio: Terry is still my skipper (Daily Mail, November 12th).
The Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Telegraph, were more reserved in their coverage of both Suarez and Terry throughout the same period. While The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday chose to tie John Terry closely to the England national team set-up, The Daily Telegraph, took a different approach, focusing instead on Terry’s potential replacements in the national side, Young Guns have given us an edge, says Lampard (Daily Telegraph, November 12th), Capello delighted as his young lions come of age (Sunday Telegraph, November 13th), and, Guts and promise, but let’s not get too carried away (Sunday Telegraph, November 13th).
Around the same time, however, The Daily Telegraph did run two articles, England rally to support Terry (November 12th), and Grateful Terry reveals support from across the world (November 15th).
In terms of Suarez, The Daily Telegraph initially supported the player in their match report concerning the Evra incident, when they wrote, “Evra was admonished by Liverpool’s fans and responded by kissing the United badge, hardly portraying a man whose human dignity was under 44
constant attack. As they refuse to believe the worst about the Uruguayan, they are entitled to wonder why a visibly furious appeal was not made to the official concerning the grim allegations.”
Following the formal surfacing of a complaint, however, they changed tact: FA to quiz Suarez over abuse (Daily Telegraph, October 22nd), Dalglish risks wrath of the FA after breaking silence (Sunday Telegraph, October 23rd), and, Depressing week shows Kick It Out124 has a long way to go (Daily Telegraph, October 28th).
From the newspaper analysis, post-incident, it is apparent there is indeed a sense of Britishness evident in the coverage of John Terry, while the approach towards the Luis Suarez coverage, although avoiding direct criticism of the player, is one of near-silence.
Of the four publications,
it is The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday who are more open with the Britishness element around Terry, while The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph are at times more reserved.
4.2.3 Post-charges (Suarez: 16 November - 23 November; Terry: 27 July - 3 August)
The Daily Mail covered Terry’s charge with a headline of A good day to bury bad Terry news (July 28th), noting the convenience that the FA charge came on the night of the London Olympics’ opening ceremony. For Suarez‘s charge, however, Martin Samuel pondered in The Daily Mail, “Suarez will also no doubt claim that in South America commentators employ the term125 frequently during live broadcasts. So what is to be done? It is certainly necessary to remind Suarez of the significant cultural differences between South America and Britain, but should we extend that warning to all Spanish-speaking players on arrival? Is the next step an 124
‘Kick It Out’ is football's equality and inclusion campaign. The brand name of the campaign - Let's Kick Racism Out of Football - was established in 1993 and Kick It Out established as a body in 1997. See: http://www.kickitout.org/2.php, accessed 28th April. 125 By ‘the term’, Samuel is referring to Suarez’s claim that he called Evra ‘negrito’.
agreed list of banned words?”
Suarez then received support in The Daily Mail on November 18th from Uruguayan football manager, Gus Poyet, with an article entitled, Evra is just a cry baby, says Poyet. The article could not have helped Suarez for a number of reasons. Firstly, the headline over-simplified what was a complex issue of racial abuse to the point of ridicule. Secondly, Poyet as a fellow Uruguayan is also part of the ‘Other’, so his views would not carry the importance of, for example, England’s first black captain. Finally, Poyet at the time was manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, a football club in England’s third-highest division -- so his views would not carry the significance of a Premier League manager. Des Kelly was even to note, in the same newspaper the following day, how Poyet, “charged headlong into the debate with lemming-like gusto”.
The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph briefly covered both cases throughout this period, and adopted a more reserved tone. For Terry, there was, Terry tries to put Ferdinand affair behind him (Daily Telegraph, July 27th), Terry will fight FA’s Ferdinand accusation (Daily Telegraph, July 28th), Ferdinand to take legal advice over FA charge (Daily Telegraph, July 31st), and, Bernstein to crack down on racism (Daily Telegraph, August 1st).
Regarding Suarez, there was, Liverpool stunned as Suarez faces Evra charge (Daily Telegraph, 17th November), Suarez set to fight Evra charge (Daily Telegraph, 17th November), and Suarez can count on our support, says Dalglish (Daily Telegraph, 18th November).
Throughout the post-punishment period, the coverage itself is relatively sparse. In saying that, Suarez is defended in this timeframe by a Uruguayan football manager from the third-tier of English football, whereas Terry has previously been defended by those of supreme importance in the game. This displays a sense of ‘Othering’, while also calling into the question the 46
representation of both players -- it seems, from the media analysis available throughout, that Terry is more readily defended by high-profile figures in the media.
4.2.4 Post-punishment (Suarez: 31 December - 7 January; Terry: 26 September - 3 October)
The Mail on Sunday were the first of the chosen tabloids to report on Suarez when he was found guilty126 by an Independent Regulatory Commission of racially abusing Patrice Evra. The two articles published on January 1st were, FA say Suarez evidence was ‘unreliable’, and, Dalglish needs a few home truths and not more flattery.
The following day, The Daily Mail published a headline of, Forget your appeal, Luis, just say sorry, and what followed for the remainder of the week was a series of somewhat negative articles: Kop claim ban based on just an accusation (January 4th), A great club is tarnished (January 5th), I’m sorry (but not to you, Evra) (January 5th), and Kop plea to United for truce on Suarez (January 6th).
The Daily Mail, following Terry’s guilt being made public by the FA, adopted a different stance: FA treated me unfairly, claims defiant Terry (September 27th), Captain, Leader, Legend…outcast (September 28th), Don’t fall into the Suarez trap, just say sorry (September 28th), The Pariah (September 28th), Di Matteo hails leader Terry (Mail on Sunday, September 30th), and, Terry the rock for Chelsea (Mail on Sunday, September 30th).
The Daily Telegraph, in their Suarez coverage, lean away from direct criticism of the player, instead focusing their ire on the club as a whole: Angry Liverpool launch new attack on FA 126
To be found guilty by an FA Independent Regulatory Commission, Suarez (the same applying to Terry) only had to fail a condition known as the ‘balance of probabilities’. In other words, a player can be found ‘guilty’ if it was deemed ‘probable’ he committed the offence in question. In the FA’s charges, unlike a charge in a court of law, the ‘burden of proof’ does not apply.
(January 4th), Liverpool to demand reform of FA process that led to striker’s ban (January 5th), and, Liverpool losing the plot (January 6th). With the coverage of Terry, The Daily Telegraph are surprisingly outspoken, with headlines such as, It will hurt but now is the time for fallen captain to see error of his ways (September 28th), Chelsea close ranks as Terry faces backlash (September 29th), and, Black players ‘let down by FA’ (October 1st).
Finally, the most inconsistent journalism throughout the entire coverage of both cases can be seen through a comparison of two Martin Samuel columns, Proof? It’s so pesky! (Daily Mail, July 23rd), and, Toxic spill is now washing up on American shores (Daily Mail, January 4th).
In Toxic Spill is now washing up on American shores, Samuel discusses the 115-page report that details the written reasons behind the FA finding Luis Suarez guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra: “The production of a 115-page report which metaphorically took Liverpool's case out at the knee was the only possible response to the aggressive campaign mounted by the club following Suarez’s eight-game ban. Any impartial reading of the exhaustive detail therein would note its thoroughness. Picking at its weaknesses is an easy game when there is so much information to inspect.”
Whereas in, Proof? It’s so pesky!, Samuel discusses Terry’s upcoming FA investigation: “To brand a man a racist requires only a balance of probability, according to the FA”, and, “Terry did not swing in a proper court, so now he will be tried in one with less exacting standards.”
In this period, it is The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday who focus on the lack of a forthcoming apology from Suarez, and later use this as a means of supporting Terry (for example, ‘Don’t fall into the Suarez trap, just say sorry’). Terry’s continuing sense of Britishness is reinforced here, too, with references to words such as, ‘leader’, ‘rock’, ‘captain’ and ‘legend’. At the same time, 48
while The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph publish brief criticism of Terry, they are generally more reserved in their coverage. At the same time, they chose to base much of their Suarez coverage around a structural argument: their decision to criticise Liverpool as an institution, rather than Suarez, being a prime example.
From the quantitative and qualitative analysis undertaken in this thesis, it is clear that, in the case of John Terry, there exists a rhetorical narrative that revolves around a continuing sense of Britishness.
Concerning the case of Luis Suarez, too, although there is not much in the way of direct quantitative evidence to prove that the Uruguayan is portrayed as part of the ‘Other’ (‘cheating’, ‘diving’ and ‘foreign’ all failed to return disproportionate figures in a keyword search), it is entirely possible that the ‘Other’ can in fact be reinforced through the continuing sense of Britishness attached to John Terry -- for, while Terry continues to be lauded as ‘English’, ‘brave’, a ‘leader’ and a ‘captain’, it is the opposite group, the ‘Other’, who suffer.
As an example, if you were to sit two people in a room and tell an onlooker that one of the two is ‘brave, loyal and a leader’, it is natural for a preference to be created for the ‘brave, loyal leader’, while an inferior association would be attached to the ‘Other’.
Ultimately Suarez, through the course of the thesis, could not have been helped by the large range of representations attached to him. As stated before, the game of football is not simply an “us versus them” dichotomy, but Suarez now has at least four disadvantages: he is Uruguayan (which means he is not British), he has had previous issues related to newspaper coverage of diving and 49
cheating (which could have an effect on the decoding of Suarez texts), he plays for Liverpool (which means the fans of Liverpool’s rivals, in a normal setting, take an almost instant disliking), and he was also found guilty of a ultra-complex racially aggravated offence127 against a football player contracted to a team considered one of Liverpool’s biggest rivals.
In terms of Hall’s encoding/decoding model, any text relating to Suarez in the future looks to be destined for‘pre-coding’ where negative inferences are likely to be drawn. This pre-coding of future Suarez texts is more likely to occur across the readership of tabloid newspapers, in this instance The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, who have reinforced Suarez’s category in the ‘Other’, while at the same time strengthening Terry’s status as a symbol of Britishness, throughout the six weeks of chosen coverage. There are instances when The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph are guilty of same, but altogether the broadsheet publications chose to adopt a more reserved tone, arguably to suit the needs of their readers, with whom they maintain a close cultural connection.
An offence that was overly simplified, and at times sensationalised, by those in the media, which in turn caused heightened tensions.
Bibliography Books and Academic Texts:
Beck, P. Scoring for Britain: International Football and International Politics, 1900-1939 (Routledge, 1999)
Billings A. and Hundley. H. (Eds.) Examining Identity in Sports Media (California, 2010)
Clarke, A.“Diving is something the England lads don’t do”, an examination of the reportage of diving in the English football media, 2000-2010 (Dublin, 2012)
Cohen, S. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers (London, 1973)
Conboy, M. Tabloid Britain (London & New York, 2006)
Cordell, K. and Wolff, S. Ethnic Conflict: Causes, Consequences, and Responses (Cambridge, 2010)
Delaney, L. and Fahey, T. Social and economic value of sport in Ireland (Dublin, 2005)
Dervin. F. Cultural identity, representation and Othering (In Jackson, J. (ed.). Routledge Handbook of Intercultural Communication, 2011)
Garland, J. and Rowe, M. Racism and Anti-Racism in Football (New York, 2001)
Hall, S. Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-1979 (London & New York, 1980)
Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (London, 1997)
Hong, L. The “Bosman Ruling” and the Regulation of Football in the People’s Republic of China (University of Macau, 2010)
Hopkins, G. A Sociological Investigation in to the Dynamic Power Balance between the Football League and Football Association: Using the Football League Cup as a Window for Exploration (Chester, 2008) 51
Kellner D. and Durham, Meenakshi Gigi. (eds.) Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks (Oxford, 2006)
Louw, E. The Media and Cultural Production (London, 2001)
Wilson, J. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics (London, 2008)
Winner, D. Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football (London, 2005)
Websites (in order of date of access):
http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/fifafacts/bcoffsurv/emaga_9384_10704.pdf, accessed 15th April, 2013.
http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/archive/southafrica2010/organisation/media/newsid=1473143/ index.html, accessed 15th April, 2013.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/football_focus/3224468.stm, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://www.uefa.com/uefa/socialresponsibility/antiracism/news/newsid=300034.html, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2005/apr/02/championsleague.liverpool, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/introduction/, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/about/history.html, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/who-is-jeanmarc-bosman-1602219.html, accessed, 16th April, 2013.
http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/01/06/30/78/statusinhalt_en_ 122007.pdf, accessed 16th April.
05.pdf, p.2, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/about/history.html, accessed 17th April, 2013.
http://www.sportingintelligence.com/2013/01/21/new-research-foreign-players-at-record-leve ls-across-european-football-210102/, accessed 16th April, 2013.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/census-2001-key-statistics/local-authorities-in-england -and-wales/local-authorities-ks06--ethnic-group.xls, accessed 17th April, 2013.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/key-statistics-for-local-authorities-in-engl and-and-wales/rft-table-ks201ew.xls, accessed 17th April, 2013
http://users.utu.fi/freder/dervinhandbookcorrect.pdf, p.6, accessed 17th April, 2013.
https://we.riseup.net/assets/102142/appadurai.pdf#page=202, p.163 - p.194, accessed 18th April, 2013.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2013/feb/08/abcs-national-newspapers, accessed 23rd April.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/149881/The-Daily-Telegraph, accessed 23rd April.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2013/feb/08/abcs-national-newspapers, accessed 23rd April.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/nov/16/luis-suarez-fa-charge-racism-evra, accessed 25th April, 2013.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jul/27/john-terry-fa-abusive-language, accessed 25th April, 2013.
http://www.bakchich.info/sites/bakchich.info/files/article_files/fa_v_suarez_written_reasons_ of_regulatory_commission_0.pdf, accessed 25th April.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/nov/16/sepp-blatter-fifa-race-rows-handshakes, accessed 25th April, 2013.
http://simonreah.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/477045116.jpg, accessed 25th April. 53
http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/579641_444101768974325_860221111_n.jpg, accessed 25th April.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/7500209/Italian-politician-writes-pl ay-about-Heysel-disaster.html, accessed 25th April.
http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/afdeveloping/refereeing/law_12_fouls_misconduct_en_4 7379.pdf, p. 48, accessed 25th April, 2013.
http://www.kickitout.org/2.php, accessed 28th April.
Barrow, B. ‘Foreign workers take yet more UK jobs as number of Britons in work plunges and youth unemployment hits one million’ The Daily Mail, 7th November, 2011.
Borland, S. ‘NHS tells doctors: You must treat all foreigners to protect their human rights... but you can still turn away BRITONS’ The Daily Mail, 15th October, 2012.
Gibson, O. ‘Sir Dave Richards says Fifa and Uefa stole football from England’ The Guardian, 14th March, 2012.
Hope, J. ‘Foreign dentists who are ruining our teeth: They slip home to avoid damages claims, say lawyers’ The Daily Mail, 3rd December, 2011.
Kelly, D. ‘Why is Suarez the 'filthy' arch-villain yet Bale is protected? We choose to vilify the foreigner, but a cheat is a cheat…’ The Daily Mail, 8th March, 2013.
Luney, G. ‘Foreigners ruining English game, says Ardiles’ Belfast Telegraph, 13th August, 2010.
O’Hagan, E. ‘The best way to get angry with the Daily Mail? Don't buy it’ The Guardian, 3rd August, 2012.
Unnamed Author. ‘English football ‘threatened by foreign players’’ Metro Herald, 4th September, 2007. 54
Unnamed Author. ‘The lost generation - How foreign players dominate the English game.’ The Daily Mail, 4th August, 2007.
Appendix A Quantitative Analysis 160 (83 Daily Telegraph, 16 Sunday Telegraph, 50 Daily Mail, 11 Mail On Sunday) documents, with 799 individual mentions of the word Suarez; 236 (94 Daily Mail, 24 Mail On Sunday, 98 Daily Telegraph, 20 Sunday Telegraph) documents with 1445 instances of the word Terry across all four publications. (2,244 total mentions). Suarez: Suarez: 160 articles, 799 instances; Terry: 42 articles, 91 instances Terry: Suarez: 34 articles, 162 instances; Terry: 236 articles, 1445 instances. Cheat: Suarez: 2 articles, 2 instances; Terry: 7 articles, 8 instances Dive/diving: Suarez: 25 articles, 30 instances; Terry: 25 articles, 36 instances. Right: Suarez: 59 articles, 104 instances; Terry 107 articles, 209 instances. Wrong: Suarez: 36 articles, 55 instances; Terry: 42 articles, 56 instances. Brave: Suarez: 5 articles, 5 instances; Terry: 10 articles, 12 instances. Loyal: Suarez: 7 articles, 10 instances; Terry: 6 articles, 6 instances. Leader: Suarez: 12 articles, 16 instances; Terry: 46 articles, 70 instances. Captain: Suarez: 44 articles, 88 instances; Terry: 143 articles, 364 instances. Uruguay/Uruguayan: Suarez: 59 articles, 93 instances; Terry: 7 articles, 7 instances. England: Suarez: 139 articles, 665 instances; Terry: 199 articles, 1339 instances. Foreign: Suarez: 11 articles, 11 instances; Terry: 11 articles, 12 instances. Racism: Suarez: 72 articles, 214 instances; Terry: 95 articles, 294 instances. Racist: Suarez: 57 articles, 120 instances; Terry: 86 articles, 165 instances. Racial Abuse: Suarez: 16 articles, 20 instances; Terry: 21 articles, 24 instances. Guilty: Suarez: 31 articles, 50 instances; Terry: 65 articles, 111 instances. Not Guilty: 3 articles, 4 instances; Terry: 13 articles, 19 instances. Innocent: Suarez: 7 articles, 9 instances; Terry: 25 articles, 32 instances. Problem: Suarez: 36 articles, 52 instances; Terry: 51 articles in 73 instances.