SALEH MEHDIZADE, AIPS in OLOMOUC: Is there a philosophy of football? Of course there is. If football creates issues for thought, so all football concepts must be considered as inter-related and must be thought about in terms of how they affect human life.

Football can be utilised in two ways:

1, to make its participants think, because the player who co-operates most effectively with his colleagues is of a particular intelligence and the team who understand the need for such mutual co-operation can win most of their matches and competitions; and

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2, to pacify people, to distract them from the serious concerns of society.

So what is the main aim of football?

Is it only watching the game, enjoying players’ performances as if they were circus acrobats? Is that all there is to it?


Football is a complex concept with its psychological, sociological, economical, technical and artistic aspects, which look deceptively simple out on the pitch.

To paraphrase Karl Marx, football (not religion) is the opium of society.

Crowds watch matches, talk football, buy the merchandise, pay the hidden taxes and do not think about anything beyond the game, as if they are living on some other planet.

Some people posit that football is utilised just for that, both to deactivate people and exploit them.

In fact, there have been rulers in history who said that women and sport are the most effective buttons to push to maintain control of society.

For example, how did Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar manage to hold power for 36 years? With a similar concept. Salazar’s particular formula has been called ‘3F’: fado, Fatima and football (Fado being traditional folk music, Fatima representing religious superstition).

We need to accept that mass sports such as football are open for these purposes. Sport, especially football, turns life into a game. Sport restricts human passions, therefore it promotes a pacifying ambience so then dissatisfaction fades away.

** Saleh Mehdizade is also a Bachelor of Philosophy from Baku State University. AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide and is co-operating with UEFA in running a Young Reporters course in the Czech Republic. More information:

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