Minorities and Sport

The context of sports is an emerging topic for the Cluster’s researchers who are interested in the role of sports clubs as a civil society actor for national and linguistic minority communities. On one level this has an overlap with the researcher’s work on minority language media, as sport – most prominently football – forms a significant element of media’s coverage. In the case of television and radio this can often result in the largest audience numbers, as well as makes prominent example of crossover content which is consumed by non-speakers of the minority language. On the other hand, sports arenas are one of the eminent public spaces where identity-related aspects are manifested by minorities. This leads to complex dynamics involving fans behaviour (bottom-up dimension) and the clubs’ responses to its socio-political settings, as the latter, although usually strongly linked to local and regional politics, are also operating as pragmatic business endeavours striving for sport and economic success. The picture is further complicated by identity-related tensions involving “majority” clubs and – in some contexts – sporting authorities.





  • Willis, C. ‘Football clubs and kin-state ties: the cases of Zrinjski Mostar and DAC 1904’. British Association of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies (BASEES) Annual Conference, University of Cambridge, 5 April 2024.
  • Hughes, W., Willis, C. & Bober, S. ‘Minority languages and football clubs: a study of linguistic landscapes and language practices of clubs and their fans’, International Conference on Minority Languages, Carmarthen, 23 June 2023.

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