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The Spark, Solent University, Wednesday 29 June 2022

The purpose of this one-day hybrid symposium is to critically examine the challenges and crises currently facing football, and map out altogether more progressive, and sustainable visions and alternatives that might reshape the future of the game.

We look forward to welcoming scholarly contributions that will speak critically to the challenges that football faces more broadly, and which redraw the possibilities for the game in all its forms and contexts.

Conference theme

As European football continues to expand into new global territories, emergent debates concerning the future of the game have revealed new questions, new challenges, and new opportunities to those studying the politics, culture, economics, and sociology of the game in all its different forms. Central to this scholarship must be an attempt to understand the often fraught and contested relationship between football’s own histories, its rich culture, its organisation and governance, its sustainability, and its future in an increasingly global – but at times, also often polarised and fragmented society.

Some thirty years have now passed since the formation of the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. These reforms were underpinned by a neoliberal regulatory regime; one that demanded the intensification of commercial tendencies, and which, in effect, encouraged the privatisation of wealth over altogether more collectivised principles of solidarity, democratisation, and redistribution. As a number of scholars have already noted, these trajectories have gone on to underpin the transformation of not only the pyramid of the English and European game, but global football as a whole, with a profound impact upon the playing and consumption of men’s and women’s football across Asia, Africa, and North and South America.

womens-football-2Photo: Luke Simcock

Standing at this critical juncture, this hybrid symposium will be a timely event for participants to consider the future challenges and opportunities that all aspects and all levels of the game will face over the next thirty years. In light of the ongoing uncertainty around Covid and travel restrictions, we welcome presentations either in-person or online.

Key dates

Light blue colour blockAbstract submission deadline
29 April 2022

Green colour blockNotification
w/c 16 May 2022

Red colour blockRegistration period
23 May - 24 June 2022

Register now

Purple colour blockJoining instructions sent to online participants
27 June 2022

Keynote address

stacey-popeWe at the Social Identities and Inequalities research group at Solent University are delighted that Dr Stacey Pope (Durham University) has agreed to deliver the keynote for this one-day hybrid event. Dr Pope is also Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Lead for the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University, and is especially interested in issues of gender, sport, and inequality. She is a leading sociologist in the area of women sports fans, and the author of the landmark text, The Feminization of Sports Fandom.

In her keynote, Dr Pope will critically examine new research findings which show openly misogynistic attitudes towards women’s sport by male football fans. Dr Pope will consider how such dominant misogynistic attitudes, despite being set within a wider context of increased visibility of women’s sport, reveal a backlash against advances in gender equality. On the eve of the Women’s EURO22 tournament, Dr Pope’s research could not be more timely, and we look forward to welcoming her to Solent in June.

cost to participants

  • £30 for in-person attendance (including lunch and refreshments)
  • £20 for online attendance
  • £15 flat rate (online or in person) for early career researchers (PhD students or within 12 months of completing PhD)

Symposium organising committee

About Solent University

Solent University is a flourishing community of academics, students and professional services staff with a reputation for the quality of our teaching, our engagement with industry, and for the employability of our graduates.

Within the Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences, we are particularly committed to social justice, research and knowledge exchange as it coheres with health and well-being.

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Solent University is located in the heart of Southampton's city centre. With excellent rail, air and road links, travelling to Solent is easy.

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