Posted: August 2nd, 2022

1) Compare and contrast the origins of football in Brazil with Uruguay. How do Brazil and Uruguay are similar according to the texts? How do these two texts, from Brazil and Uruguay, have different narratives? In other words, how the approaches chosen by

Apostolov-USAMEXICOGeopoliticsRivalriescopy Football-PoliticsURU Football-PoliticsMEX EssayInstructionsandRubric1 BrownLanci-TransnatFutbolUrbanSaoPaulo

1) Compare and contrast the origins of football in Brazil with Uruguay. How do Brazil and Uruguay are similar according to the texts? How do these two texts, from Brazil and Uruguay, have different narratives? In other words, how the approaches chosen by the authors differ from one another as they explain the origins of futbol.

2) Consider the texts written about the origins of Mexican fútbol and the one regarding CONCACAF and the rivalry between the USA and Mexico: develop one concise argument that presents a common aspect between Mexican futbol and the Mexico-USA rivalry. What these two texts have in common in promoting futbol?

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Soccer & Society
ISSN: 1466-0970 (Print) 1743-9590 (Online) Journal homepage:
USA vs. Mexico: history, geopolitics and economics
of one of the world’s oldest rivalries in soccer
Steven Apostolov
To cite this article: Steven Apostolov (2018) USA vs. Mexico: history, geopolitics and economics
of one of the world’s oldest rivalries in soccer, Soccer & Society, 19:5-6, 783-797, DOI:
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Published online: 27 Nov 2017.
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USA vs. Mexico: history, geopolitics and economics of one of the
world’s oldest rivalries in soccer
Steven Apostolov*
Mercy College, School of Business, Dobbs Ferry, NY, USA
This essay tracks one of the oldest and most intense rivalries in soccer. First, it
focuses on the early historical aspect of the soccer rivalry between the United
States and Mexico. Second, the essay focuses on the geopolitics and evolution
of CONCACAF. It concludes with an economic analysis of the derby and its
impact on the development of professional soccer in the United States.
If you ask any soccer aficionado to name the world’s most intense rivalries, the list
would be quite substantial. Soccer fans, depending on their nationality and geo-
graphic location, would all provide different answers. In 1872, the city of Glasgow
hosted the very first official international game between Scotland and England.1
Soon after, the rivalry between the cradle of soccer and its northern neighbour was
born and fiercely disputed. The post-Second World War matches of England vs.
Germany and Germany vs. Holland continue to have a deep impact on and off the
pitch. Competitions between France and Italy have been played with a lot of passion
and marked by dramatic events. On the other side of the world in Asia, even
friendly games involving Japan, South Korea and China are intense and followed by
an enormous number of spectators. Furthermore, the North African derby between
Algeria and Egypt has become known over the last couple of decades as the ‘hate
match’. In South America, soccer fans would most likely agree that Argentina vs.
Uruguay and Brazil vs. Argentina are among the oldest and most fiercely disputed
soccer matches on their continent. There are even some intercontinental soccer rival-
ries such as Argentina vs. England: the ‘hand of God’ of Maradona and the kick of
David Beckham have both impacted the relationship between the two countries.
Obviously, this list of rivalries is not exhaustive. A good number of them will
continue to exist, and certainly new ones will be created – it is the nature of soccer.
Most fans outside the CONCACAF zone2 would probably not place the United
States vs. Mexico in a short list of famous global derbies. Yet, it is one of the
world’s oldest rivalries, having begun in 1934. Thereafter, even friendly matches
involving the US and Mexico have been played with utmost intensity. Since it is a
rivalry that predates many other famous rivalries, its historical context deserves to
be analysed carefully. The contemporary part of the historical aspect of the rivalry
has fascinated many sports writers, and it is well-known to fans on both sides:
American fans constantly remind the supporters of El Tri about their defeats in
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Soccer & Society, 2018
Vol. 19, Nos. 5–6, 783–797,

Columbus, Ohio and the elimination of Mexico from the World Cup in 2002 – they
were nicknamed dos a cero. Therefore, this essay will focus on the early history of
the rivalry which has been less analysed and described by sports writers and schol-
ars. It is also useful to examine the impact of the derby in terms of geopolitical and
economic aspects: CONCACAF, which stands for Confederation of North and Cen-
tral American and Caribbean Football, was one of the most obscure confederations
in FIFA for decades. It is currently one of the most important members in terms of
elections and sport governance; it has more members, and therefore more votes, than
some confederations with very strong teams and much older tournaments. That
includes the South American Football Confederation CONMEBOL (the governing
body of soccer on the continent). About a decade ago, long-time enemies on the
pitch ─ the United States and Mexico ─ became business partners. Both national
teams are managed by SUM (Soccer United Marketing), an American firm, which is
the marketing arm of MLS (Major League Soccer). This strategic partnership is
unique in the world of soccer and has a deep impact on the development of profes-
sional soccer in the United States.
Literature on the US–Mexico rivalry is not abundant. Most documents on the
topic are written by journalists and self-educated historians.3 Even though those
writers were not academically trained, they conducted solid research and developed
fascinating narratives about the United States national team and the early develop-
ment of CONCACAF and its predecessors. Very few scholars have dealt with those
topics.4 Investigative reporters provided a couple of thought-provoking pieces after
FIFA and CONCACAF became involved in a series of corruption scandals.5 Those
writings shed some important light on the role of Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer in
the scandals. It is a well-known fact that there are serious allegations of corruption
and misappropriation of funds against the duo. It would be futile to write about that
since it has already been documented and analysed in documentaries, substantial
articles, and books written by investigative journalists. Therefore, this essay will
focus on the role of Warner and Blazer for the transformation of CONCACAF from
above and below, and how that affected the revival of the rivalry between the US
and Mexico. The formation of tournaments such as the Gold Cup and the foundation
of SUM are well-illustrated in a couple of reviews dedicated to sport marketing and
Historical aspects of one of the world’s oldest soccer rivalries
In 1930, Team USA became one of the original teams to join the competition for
the Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy (see Figure 1). After a good performance during
the 1924 Olympics and participation in the 1928 Olympics, the Americans achieved
one of their biggest international successes ever during the first World Cup in Uru-
guay. Struck by the Great Depression, most countries could not afford the expenses
of sending teams to the tournament, and since soccer was still a semi-professional or
amateur sport in many countries around the world, very few players could afford to
leave their jobs to play for their countries. In order to encourage participation, the
South American hosts generously offered to cover all expenses. The United States
Football Association (USFA) received a payment of $5,873.47 from its Uruguayan
counterpart.6 Mexico was invited too. All participating teams benefited from first-
class travel accommodations. On 13 June 1930, Americans and Mexicans sailed on
the same ship – the USMC Munargo.
784 S. Apostolov

On June 26, 1930, as is revealed by the official dinner program and menu
printed in Spanish and English by the Munson Steamship Lines, both teams attended
the same farewell gala dinner. Players and officials from both countries together
enjoyed gourmet food and fine wines. They were entertained by the Munargo
Orchestra with Strauss’s ‘The Blue Danube’. It was followed by the tango, fox trot
and other genres of music.7 Mexicans and Americans also engaged in different tour-
naments and field-day events. Several American players, among them George Moor-
house, James Brown and Alexander Wood, acted as committee members in charge
of events. Tournaments included bridge, checkers, deck tennis and deck golf; field-
day events consisted of a spar fight, an egg-and-spoon race, a cigarette-and-ties con-
test, an ice-cream-eating contest and a 1/8-mile race. One of the more interesting
events was the Court of Neptune Ceremony, during which players from both coun-
tries celebrated the crossing of the equator. Upon arrival to Montevideo, the Ameri-
can and Mexican teams enjoyed a very warm welcome. ‘Notwithstanding the rain, a
very large crowd cheered our arrival from the docks and packed our lane of auto tra-
vel along the streets to the Florida hotel, a battery of cameramen, cartoonists and
sports writers dogging each and every individual of our party seeking first-hand
information as to our football status and abilities’, observed Wilfred R. Cummings,
Manager of the USFA, in his official report.8
The draw took place on 13 July 1930 with the schedule finding France and
Mexico pitted against each other at Penarol Field, and Belgium taking on the US at
Figure 1. Team USA 1930. Source: Robert Millar Papers, Courtesy National Soccer Hall of
Soccer & Society 785

Central Park, the home of Nacional FC. To the complete surprise of everybody, the
US defeated Belgium 3-0. Since Belgium was a former Olympic champion, their
defeat was rather unexpected, and international newspaper articles that preceded the
game had largely favoured the Europeans.9 After the first US win and to commemo-
rate an official Uruguayan holiday, Constitution Day, the hosts invited the Ameri-
cans to a full-dress midnight military ball with the elite of Uruguayan government
and society in attendance. ‘Dainty foods were served and champagne flowed like
water far into the next day’, documented Wilfred R. Cummings.10
In their group, the Americans had to face another solid opponent – Paraguay.
‘Our team appeared to be the crowd’s favourite even though opposed by South
Americans: Paraguay were considered the dark horses for the championship as they
had eliminated Uruguay in the South American Championship the previous year’,
observed the manager of the Americans again. A strong US team defeated Paraguay
3-0 and qualified for the semi-finals (see Figure 1). The game became a famous ref-
erence in most World Cup history books as Bertrand Patenaude became the first per-
son to score a hat trick in the tournament. The Americans became the preferred
guests of the Uruguayan elite: The Archbishop of Montevideo hosted an extraordi-
nary reception long remembered by the overwhelmed guests. The President of Uru-
guay, Juan Compisteguy, hosted a lavish barbeque at his country home in Los
Predras for athletes and officials: Lamb and pork were paired with domestic fine
wines, and the meal concluded with a tasting of French pastries and champagne.11
Reaching the semi-finals was impressive and would remain the biggest achieve-
ment of the American team for decades to come. Mexico’s stint at the tournament,
on the other hand, was far from impressive. The team was credited with conceding
the first goal of the tournament and lost all of its group-stage games, finishing at the
bottom of the table in the group. After the fraternal relations of the American and
Mexican teams during the sea voyage, the teams would not interact with each other
for another four years. In 1934, they crossed paths again during the World Cup in
Thirty-two teams competed for the World Cup in Italy. As a result, the hosts
organized a different format from that of the Uruguayans four years earlier. Instead
of dividing all teams into groups of four and three as it was in 1930, the Italians
organized the first pre-tournament qualification. Oddly, some of the qualifying
matches were disputed on Italian soil. After the qualification, the 16 winning teams
participated in the final tournament. The United States had to play its qualifying
game against Mexico. The match took place in Rome on 24 May 1934. The US
humiliated its Mexican neighbours 4-2. It was a rough game; the referee had to eject
a Mexican player for trying to brutally stop Aldo Donelli, the American who scored
all four goals.12 After the trashing of Mexico, the United States faced Italy. The US
was crushed 7-1 by the hosts, who would go on to win the World Cup a few weeks
From 1934 until the 1990s, the balance of power shifted, and Mexico dominated
its northern neighbour on the pitch, regardless of where the matches were played.
Professional Mexican teams visited the Unites States as early as the 1940s. An All-
Star team of the Southern New England Soccer Association (SNESA) played a
match against Atlante FC, the Mexican champion of 1940. ‘Soccer Champions of
Mexico Play at Tiverton’, announced the Fall River Herald.13 The All Stars of the
SNESA were mainly made up of players of the amateur club Ponta Delgada FC. In
a photograph found in the Louie Souza papers, veteran John Souza recognized
786 S. Apostolov

himself. Kicked viciously in the jaw, Souza ended up in the hospital (see Figure 2).
‘The Mexicans were brutal, but they also played better than us; we only played after
work and on weekends, whereas they were true professionals and you could sense
that immediately on the field’, remembered the former US international.14 Atlante
FC was loaded with elegant athletes such as former FC Barcelona player Benjamin
Alonso. Many talented soccer players fled Francoist oppression after the Spanish
Civil War. Most of them moved to South America and Mexico, and that certainly
affected the performance of the clubs there.
The shift of balance of domination towards Mexico was largely due to the fact
that professional soccer in the United States struggled. Professional soccer in the US
enjoyed several moments of popularity throughout the twentieth century. It was a
popular game at the turn of the century; it was almost permanently established as a
professional sport during the golden years of the American Soccer League (ASL) in
the 1920s. That explains why the United States performed so well during the first
World Cup in 1930. After a decline in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, soccer came
back to America’s sports arenas in the 1970s. But even Pele and other famous inter-
national players could not save the North American Soccer League (NASL), which
collapsed in 1984. Professional soccer leagues have not only been in the shadow of
baseball, American football, basketball and most recently ice hockey, but with the
exception of Major League Soccer (MSL), a newcomer on the mainstream sporting
scene, all of them have folded within a couple of decades. The ups and downs of
professional soccer obviously affected the United States national team in a negative
way. From 1934 until 1994, the United States only participated twice in the World
Cup: In 1950, a mixed team of amateurs and semi-professionals managed to defeat
Figure 2. All Stars SNSA and Atlante FC, 1940. Source: Louie Souza Papers, Courtesy,
National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Soccer & Society 787

England – one of the biggest upsets of the history of the tournament. In 1990, a
team made up of mostly college players could not reach the knock out stage, losing
all of its group stage matches. On the other hand, soccer in Mexico prospered. Dur-
ing the same time period, the country hosted two World Cups and one Summer
Olympics. As compared to its northern neighbour, with the exceptions of 1938,
1982 and 1990, Mexico has been omnipresent in the World Cup and has generally
performed quite well. After having followed the origins of one of the oldest soccer
rivalries in the world, it is interesting to now shift to and focus on the evolution and
geopolitics of CONCACAF, the confederation from which both rivals evolve.
Geopolitics and evolution of CONCACAF
CONCACAF was founded in 1961. Prior to its formation, soccer tournaments in
North America were organized and supervised by several organizations, notably the
North American Football Confederation (NAFC), the Central American and Carib-
bean Football Confederation (CACFC), and a couple of smaller organizing bodies.
Most of them ceased to exist before the foundation of CONCACAF. Founded in
1947 with only four members – the United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba – the
NAFC was more active than the other predecessors of CONCACAF. It organized
four tournaments.15
The first tournament took place during the inaugural year of the NAFC. The
USFA sent a semi-professional team to represent the country at the North American
Championship. It was Ponta Delgada FC, a predominantly Portuguese soccer team
from Fall River, Massachusetts. According to John Souza, a member of the US
national team that defeated England during the World Cup in 1950, at least seven
players for Ponta Delgada FC were Portuguese-Americans.16 The USFA selected the
entire team to represent the country because during the same year, Ponta Delgada
FC became a double champion, winning the National Amateur Championship and
the US Challenge Cup. However, exhausted by the tropical climate in Cuba, where
the tournament was held, Ponta Delgada FC/Team USA lost all of its games. In
1949, the North American Championship was used as a World Cup qualifier, too.
This time, a mixed team of the North-east and the Midwest qualified the United
States for the Word Cup in 1950.
Originally, CONCACAF was run by Ramon Coll Jaumet of Costa Rica. He was
replaced by Mexican Joaquin Soria Terrazas, who remained at the helm of the orga-
nization until 1990, when Jack Warner was elected president of CONCACAF.
Between 1963 and 1989, the championship of the confederation was dominated by
Mexico and Costa Rica. It is interesting to note that between 1973 and 1989, the
championship was used as a World Cup qualifier, just as it was in 1949.
Until the late 1980s, CONCACAF was an obscure organization with only
$140,000 for an operating budget, no television deal and only a handful of employ-
ees. Its 26 members came from three different zones or regional subgroups affiliated
with CONCACAF: First, the North American Zone (or the North American Football
Union); second, the Central American Zone (the Central American Football Union);
and third, the Caribbean Zone (the Caribbean Football Union). The North American
Zone counted only three members – Canada, the United States and Mexico –
whereas the Central American Zone had seven members in its ranks: Belize, Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The largest subdi-
vision was the Caribbean Football Union, with 16 affiliated members. The number
788 S. Apostolov

of affiliated members of the Caribbean Zone is currently 29 – having almost doubled
since the late 1980s and brought the number of CONCACAF-affiliated members to
41. Most of the newly admitted football associations became members during the
leadership of Jack Warner, who simply replicated what FIFA president Joao Have-
lange had done to win elections and stay in power for so long.
Between 1974 and 1998, Havelange turned FIFA from a mediocre organization
into a global empire with $4 billion in its bank account and more members than the
United Nations.17 While running for the FIFA presidency, Havelange understood the
political changes that affected the African continent and took advantage of them.
During the 1960s and 1970s, many African countries won their independence from
former colonial powers. Their football associations became full members of FIFA.
By 1974, FIFA membership had grown to 140, with Europe and South America
making up less than a third of the total membership. The other 90 or so members
came from Africa and Asia. Most of the new members came from Africa – in less
than a decade, more than 30 African nations joined FIFA.18 The growing number of
African countries joining FIFA did not affect the allocation of spots for participation
in the World Cup. In fact, for the World Cup in 1966, only one spot was allocated
to the confederations of Africa, Asia and Oceania combined. Presidents of African
football associations were frustrated. As a result of both this frustration and the
active leadership of Nkrumah’s Ghana, many decided to boycott the qualifiers for
the tournament.19 Havelange understood that frustration. Before the elections,
endorsed by his countryman and soccer legend Pele, he travelled and courted many
leaders of African football associations. He promised more money for the develop-
ment of African soccer and more spots at the World Cup for African teams. His
efforts paid off. On 11 June 11 1974, he won 68 votes against Sir Stanley Rous’s 52
and became the first non-European President of FIFA.
Havelange must have been a role model to Warner. A former history teacher and
part-time sociology faculty member at The University of the West Indies, Warner
became the secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association in 1973. In
1983, he became CONCACAF vice-president and also joined the powerful FIFA
executive committee ─ members of which designate the host of the World Cup. In
1990, he was elected president of CONCACAF and shortly afterwards became
FIFA’s vice-president. After the election of Warner, the Caribbean Zone of CONCA-
CAF almost doubled in size. Small islands such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica,
Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, to cite
just a few, were admitted as members of CONCACAF, and therefore, were eligible
to vote during elections at FIFA. Warner was very successful at changing the bal-
ance of power in sports governance. During his time at the helm of CONCACAF,
he wielded disproportionate power presiding over football associations that had a
fifth of all votes. In other words, CONCACAF was not as powerful as UEFA (Union
of European Football Associations) or CAF (Confederation of African Football)
with their 50-plus members each; it was almost as powerful as the AFC (Asian Foot-
ball Confederation) and its 47 members, and it was definitely more powerful than
CONMEBOL and the OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) with their combined
24 members. This change in the balance of power was achieved by admitting new
members ─ mostly Caribbean islands regardless of their size. The Turks and Caicos
Islands, with a population of just 50,000 people, has one vote during the FIFA con-
gress, as does Germany with a population of 80 million and solid traditions in soc-
cer. Tiny Montserrat, with a population of only 5,000 people, has one vote as well,
Soccer & Society 789

just like mighty Brazil and its 200 million people and five World Cup titles. If sport
governance and the politics of FIFA and CONCACAF reflected American political
life, each state regardless of its population would have an equal number of seats in
the US congress (e.g. Texas and Rhode Island having one congressman each; in fact,
based on the 2010 US Census, the Ocean State has only two representatives in the
US Congress, whereas the Lone Star State has 36). In a similar fashion, in the Euro-
pean Parliament, a small country such as Estonia (with a population of 6 million)
would have the same number of members as France (72 million): In reality, France
has 72 members in the European Parliament, whereas Estonia has only six.
CONCACAF is a unique confederation in several ways. For political reasons,
UEFA has members from geographic locations beyond the borders of Europe, nota-
bly in the Middle East and Asia Minor. So does CONCACAF, which counts in its
ranks two countries in South America – Guyana and Suriname – as well as French
Guyana, an overseas territory of France. As compared to UEFA, which includes a
few affiliated members of rather small sizes, such as Lichtenstein, the Faroe Islands
and San Marino, CONCACAF counts in its ranks mostly small countries. And that
is the origin of the joke that ‘Every time a tiny atoll pierced the warm blue-green
waters of the Caribbean, Jack Warner would give it a football federation [and make
it a part of his “empire”]’.20 Another feature of CONCACAF’s uniqueness is that
France technically could be drawn to play against one of its overseas territories such
as Martinique, Guadeloupe, or French Guyana. Jocelyn Angloma’s Guadeloupe lost
to Mexico in the semifinal of the Gold Cup in 2007. However, had Guadeloupe won
the Gold Cup (and that was within the realm of possibility) and had France captured
the Euro in 2008, the mother country and its Caribbean overseas department could
very well have played against each other during the Confederations Cup in 2009. A
similar scenario could have opposed either Suriname or Guyana against its former
colonial power – the Netherlands or England. Although that is highly unlikely to
happen, the structure and regulations of CONCACAF make it a possibility. The fol-
lowing part of the essay will analyse how the transformation of CONCACAF
affected the revival of the rivalry between the US and Mexico. It will also analyse
how the perpetual enemies on the pitch became business partners and how that
affected professional soccer in the United States.
Economics of the rivalry between US and Mexico: from obscurity to
There is no doubt that Jack Warner transformed CONCACAF from above by almost
doubling the number of associations in the Caribbean Zone, and therefore, increas-
ing CONCACAF’s geopolitical influence in sports governance. It was Chuck Blazer,
however, who transformed the confederation from below and turned it into a suc-
cessful business enterprise. He assisted Warner in being elected as president of
CONCACAF and was appointed by him immediately as a general secretary. Blazer
transformed the confederation not only by creating new tournaments, such as the
successful Gold Cup, but also by organizing more tournaments on American soil
and by obtaining essential television deals from which CONCACAF benefitted
tremendously. All this was crucial for the revival and the shift of balance of the riv-
alry between Mexico and the United States. But before getting into that story, it is
important to know who was Blazer, and how did he become involved in soccer?
790 S. Apostolov

Very few top-level soccer administrators, perhaps with the exception of Michel
Platini, were ever actively involved in professional soccer as players. Chuck Blazer
was not any different than most of his counterparts. He has never played any soccer
and would have probably never been involved in the game had he not coached his
son’s junior team. Charles Gordon Blazer was born in 1945 in a middle-class Jewish
family in the New York City borough of Queens. He assisted his father at an early
age running a small family business. After his secondary studies, he became an
accountant, obtaining a degree from the New York University. He then enrolled in
an MBA program at the same institution but never fulfilled the requirements to com-
plete the degree. In the 1970s, he successfully ran his father-in-law’s small company,
which manufactured the world’s original emoticon yellow smiley-face buttons. The
popularity of the smiley-face fad ended abruptly, and Blazer had to rebrand the
enterprise to manufacturing and selling promotional and marketing materials such as
ashtrays and monogrammed beach towels.21 The company struggled, and Blazer
found himself almost unemployed and with plenty of spare time. In 1976, he started
coaching his son’s junior soccer team. Blazer demonstrated exceptional qualities as
a soccer administrator and moved very quickly up the ranks of the Youth Soccer
Organization of New Rochelle, New York, and afterwards in the Eastern New York
State Soccer Association. ‘He is remembered as a motivated, an adroit and active
administrator, more interested in organizing game schedules, lining fields, or design-
ing uniforms than actual coaching’.22 In 1984, after fewer than 10 years as a youth
coach and league official, Blazer was elected executive vice-president of the United
States Soccer Federation (USSF) in charge of international competition. He utilized
his connections and was even able to convince Pele to advocate for his election. Bla-
zer’s achievements as a USSF official were impressive: between 1981 and 1983, the
US national team had only played a couple of official games, whereas after his elec-
tion, the team played more than a dozen games in less than a two-year period. That
was essential for the qualification of the United States for the World Cup in 1990 –
its first participation in 40 years! Blazer played a pivotal role in staging and winning
the US bid to host the 1994 World Cup. Despite his successful tenure, Blazer was
not reelected. He spent the next four years running the American Soccer League
(ASL) – an obscure semi-professional soccer league with 10 teams along the Eastern
Coast which had the same name as its powerful predecessor of the 1920s. He even
briefly managed one of the ASL’s franchises in Miami. In 1989, Blazer ran the elec-
tion campaign of Jack Warner, whom he had met at corporate functions during his
tenure as a USSF vice-president. Warner won the election and became President of
CONCACAF. After his election, he quickly appointed his ‘campaign manager’ as a
general secretary of the confederation, and that catapulted Blazer into the ‘strato-
sphere’ of international soccer. In less than two decades, he became one of the most
influential men in international soccer. From 1990 until 2015, he exercised the func-
tion of CONCACAF general secretary – running and overseeing all operations. In
addition to that, in 1995, he became a member of FIFA’s powerful executive com-
mittee, and he also served as a board member of the organization’s marketing and
TV committee from 2002 until 2007.23
Prior to the leadership of Warner and Blazer, all competitions of the CONCA-
CAF Championship were organized on Central American and Caribbean soil and
were dominated by Mexico and Costa Rica. After Blazer became general secretary,
he replaced the CONCACAF Championship with the Gold Cup. Since then, tourna-
ments have been organized in the United States, and twice they have been co-hosted
Soccer & Society 791

by Mexico. Blazer was a pragmatic leader and quickly realized that the US had
plenty of big stadiums. As compared to Central America and the Caribbean, the US
had bigger crowds and considerably higher ticket-revenue potential. CONCACAF
Gold Cup matches averaged 41,854 fans across 14 sites during the 2015 tournament.
It was an increase in more than 6% from the average of 39,348 in 2013.24 Average
attendance of the tournament has grown steadily: In 2007, it was only 37,752. Good
attendance at soccer matches in the United States convinced promoters to organize
the centennial edition of Copa America in the United States. ‘The predominantly
Latino crowd of 69,491 at the Argentina vs. Chile final reinforced the financial
point. The same two teams had met in the previous Copa final in Chile, and on that
occasion the smaller stadium in Santiago had limited the crowd to 45,693’, con-
cluded veteran reporter Paul Gardner.25 One of the major British dailies estimated
that ‘it looks like [Copa] will end up with a total attendance of about 1.5 million,
good for an average crowd of roughly 47,000. Last year’s Copa in Chile garnered
and average of 25,227 fans, whereas the 2011 tournament drew an average of
33,947’.26 The financial point was clear given the fact that ticket prices for sporting
events in the United States are much higher than those in South America. During
the group-stage matches, Ticketmaster priced its cheapest tickets from $117 to $156,
whereas some of the expensive tickets were sold in the range of $347 to $645.
Before the referee blew the whistle to start the first game of the tournament, the offi-
cial Copa site had already advertized tickets for the final at $1,500 each. South
American organizers during previous Copas, on the other hand, could only charge
10 percent of what organizers charged for the 2016 edition of the tournament in the
United States.27 Good attendance during any sporting event is a blessing for the
organizers; good television ratings and obtaining television deals, however, is essen-
tial. Any successful sporting enterprise nowadays generates its biggest revenue from
lucrative television deals. With the financial support of such deals, professional
teams, leagues and tournaments are immensely successful even before counting the
gate receipts.
Good television ratings are essential to convince television companies to sign
deals to broadcast the events. In 2009, the Gold Cup match between the United
States and Mexico drew 5.38 million viewers on Univision; it became the most
watched sporting event of the weekend.28 By 2012, television ratings had signifi-
cantly improved. ‘The final match between the United States and Mexico … was
the highest-rated sports broadcast in Univision’s history, with more than 10.8 million
viewers. Between 2009 and 2011, Spanish-language viewership for the Gold Cup
increased 36 per cent’.29 The Gold Cup, held every other year, became CONCA-
CAF’s biggest generator of funds. By 2011, CONCACAF had $60 million in rev-
enue with only about $31 million in expenses.30 In 2011, CONCACAF attracted
more official corporate partners. That obviously contributed to a significant increase
in sponsorship revenue as compared to 2009 when the tournament had only six part-
ners. Each one of these sponsorships was valued in the mid-six-figure range.31
Although these numbers might seem insignificant compared to World Cup soccer
sponsorships and any recent revenue from the Euro, organized by UEFA, there was
a tremendous increase after Warner and Blazer assumed leadership of the confedera-
tion. And the growth of tournaments such as the Gold Cup undoubtedly convinced
South American soccer officials to organize the historic centennial edition of Copa
America on North American soil. The predecessors of Warner and Blazer were
either not interested in making money, just like the aristocrats who ran FIFA before
792 S. Apostolov

the election of Havelange, or they were simply not capable of making it happen.
Warner and Blazer certainly brought CONCACAF out of the obscurity in which it
was kept by previous leaders. But how was that related to the US–Mexico rivalry,
and how did that affect the development of professional soccer in North America?
The following part of the paper essay attempt to answer these questions.
Broadcasting of soccer was almost nonexistent in the United States until the
World Cup took place in the country. A few times in the late 1960s and early 1980s,
CBS and ABC tried to broadcast soccer. Other sports in the US allowed TV compa-
nies to broadcast many commercials and to generate colossal sums from companies
willing to advertise their products. Because of its format, soccer was considered
commercially unfriendly. US marketing officials were frustrated that the format of
soccer would not allow them to sell anything. Coverage of Word Cup soccer was
almost nonexistent until 1994. According to Clive Toye, who was a British journal-
ist and later became general manager of the New York Cosmos and commissioner
of the NASL:
The only places where you could watch the World Cup of 1970 was by closed circuit
in Madison Square Garden and the Forum in Los Angeles, rights purchased by the
NASL for a very few thousand dollars. Nobody else wanted it. Nobody else was avail-
able to do the play-by-play or the expert commentary, at least not for nothing, so I was
elected and trotted off to Mexico City to get my credentials and broadcast position.32
In 1974, the World Cup coverage consisted of a week of old highlights on CBS
Sports Spectacular, whereas in 1978, the World Cup had no coverage in the English
language at all. In 1982, certain games were broadcast by ABC. It was in relation to
a contract at the time between the TV company and the NASL. ABC utilized the
same crew: play-by-play was done by veteran reporter Jim McKay, colour commen-
tary was provided by Mario Machado and Paul Gardner, and NASL star Giorgio
Chinaglia acted as analyst. ABC registered very low ratings with the broadcasts of
the NASL and subsequently lost interest in soccer. It did not broadcast soccer for
the next decade. In the meantime, NBC and TNT broadcast World Cup matches
Since there was very little interest in World Cup broadcasting until the end of
the millennium (even some of the games during the World Cup in the US were not
broadcast live), in 2001, MLS had no competitors when it bid $40 million for US
English-language rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. MLS concluded the deal
with the help of SUM, the league’s newly created marketing branch. SUM bought
time afterwards for the matches on ABC and ESPN and sold the advertising inde-
pendently. It was a very profitable deal that forever changed the business of soccer
broadcasting in the US FIFA saw the breakthrough and decided to trade the broad-
casting rights with the television companies directly. Ironically, it was done during
Blazer’s involvement as a board member of the organization’s marketing and TV
committee. For the 2010 and 2014 tournaments, a total of $425 million was spent
by ABC/ESPN to acquire the rights to broadcast the World Cup. It was the largest
rights package in FIFA history.33 The creation of SUM and the purchase of the
World Cup television rights in 2002 and 2006 were the idea of Don Garber, then the
recently appointed Commissioner of the struggling league. SUM, the marketing arm
of MLS and an offspring of Garber, was designed to manage rights to international
soccer games and broadcasts in the United States. Interestingly, at that time,
MLS was not making any money from television broadcasting of its own games.
Soccer & Society 793

The league would buy air time from television stations and cover the cost of produc-
tion for the MLS matches. However, MLS made money by buying air time on ABC
and ESPN for World Cup matches and by selling commercial spots for those games
on its own. Having been bypassed by the television companies which dealt directly
with FIFA, SUM found an alternative. It acquired the rights to the US and Mexican
national-team broadcasts and venue management.
The Mexican national team quickly became the most marketable property of
SUM, often drawing more than 50,000 spectators to its games and attracting televi-
sion audiences of between 2 and 5 million in the United States. As a result, most of
its friendly games are played on American soil. For example, in 2007, six out of the
11 friendly matches of El Tri took place in the United States. Of those six matches
played on American soil, only one was against the United States. Simply imagine
Spain and Germany playing a friendly game in Paris at a packed stadium while also
racking up respectful TV ratings on TF1, one of the major television channels in
France that broadcasts most international games! SUM attempted to organize
matches in cities where demographics showed significant Mexican presence. Such
was the case of the US vs. Mexico game, played at the University of Phoenix Sta-
dium in Glendale Arizona, on 7 February 2007. Two other games took place at San
Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium and McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California. Some
matches took place in areas with insignificant Mexican populations. ‘We thought
that we were flying to the US but landed by mistake in Brazil’, joked Hugo Sanchez
after the friendly match opposing Brazil and Mexico which took place at the Gillette
Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on September 12, 2007.34 More than 200,000
Brazilians live in Massachusetts and the surrounding New England states. It is not
surprising why the game was played in front of a capacity crowd dressed in yellow
shirts (see Figure 3). SUM officials very skillfully identified other regions in the US
with significant foreign populations and were able to capitalize on those demograph-
ics by organizing highly successful friendly matches involving El Tri.
The foundation of SUM was vital for MLS. It distributed its annual event-man-
agement and sponsorship sales to MLS’s owner-operators. It should be highlighted
that MLS has been losing money since the league began operations in 1996; it was
reported that the league had lost close to $300 million before Garber was appointed
as commissioner. Therefore, SUM’s cash flow probably became one of the decisive
factors in keeping the league afloat. SUM’s role was also essential for the revival of
the US–Mexico rivalry and for shifting the balance of Mexican domination. After
decades of losing consistently to Mexico, the US national team finally began to
challenge Mexico’s pre-eminence in the CONCACAF region.
Until recently, US soccer was not a common topic among historians. It was not a
common topic among soccer fans, either. It would have never occurred to a soccer
fan to include the United States among the world’s leading powers of the game.
‘What do Americans know about soccer?’ would have been the question asked by
most soccer aficionados. Mexican soccer was not affected by the same stereotypes,
nor did it have the same pattern of development as the sport did north of the border.
Soccer fans, even from far-flung locations, have always considered El Tri as a
prominent national soccer team. However, despite less participation in the World
794 S. Apostolov

Cup, the US has been more successful statistically speaking – a semifinal reached in
1930 as well as a quarterfinal in 2002.
Contrary to popular belief, the USA vs. Mexico rivalry is among the oldest in
the world. Originally, it was dominated by the ‘gringos’. The balance shifted in the
mid 1930s, and Mexico dominated for almost five decades. After the World Cup
finally came to the United States, the balance started to shift again in favour of the
United States. The revival of the USA vs. Mexico rivalry can be attributed largely to
the rising of CONCACAF from obscurity. Two men contributed to that process by
transforming the confederation from above and from below. There seems to be little
doubt that Warner and Blazer were involved in a lot of alleged wrongdoing. Without
them, however, the USA–Mexico rivalry could have remained in obscurity, just like
the confederation from which both rivals evolved. Blazer created the Gold Cup and
the CONCACAF’s Champions League. During his tenure, CONCACAF was allo-
cated three qualifying spots for the World Cup. The Gold Cup, created by Blazer,
quickly became one of the major revenue generators for CONCACAF. Thanks to
Blazer, television broadcasting of the World Cup in the United States became a pros-
perous business with the most expensive rights package in the world. That also
affected broadcasting of the Gold Cup: CONCACAF was able to sign vital contracts
with TV companies. Ironically, modern broadcasting of the World Cup in the United
States was initiated by SUM, MLS’s marketing branch, and it quickly became a
Figure 3. Brazil vs. Mexico, Foxboro, Massachusetts, 12 September 2007. Source: Steven
Soccer & Society 795

lucrative business. Bypassed by FIFA which dealt directly with the TV companies,
SUM had to find alternative activities and revenue. It is debatable if owning the
rights to the US and Mexican national-team broadcasts and venue management was
as lucrative as selling the commercial spots for the World Cups in 2002 and 2006.
However, managing the national-team broadcasts of Mexico and the US not only
rejuvenated the old rivalry but also provided vital funds to MLS, which is still strug-
gling to find an equal place among the other major leagues in the United States.
The author would like to express his sincere gratitude to Dr Paul Dietschy and Dr Albrecht
Sonntag for inviting him to present an earlier version of this paper at the conference ‘From
America to Europe: Football on a Continental Scale’, which took place at ESSCA Ecole de
Management, Campus d’Angers, France, on April 22, 2016.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.
1. Goldblatt, The Ball is Round, 40.
2. CONCACAF is the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and
the Caribbean. Just like UEFA, which also counts members on another continent, nota-
bly Asia Minor and the Middle East (e.g. Israel and Kazakhstan, just to name a few),
CONCACAF also has members that are located beyond its geographic location. The fol-
lowing South American countries and French overseas departments are members of
CONCACAF: Suriname, Guyana and French Guyana.
3. Allaway, Jose and Litterer. The Encyclopedia of American Soccer; Cirino, US vs. the
4. Apostolov, America’s Forgotten Sport. Chapters 4 and 5 follow with details of team
USA during the World Cups in 1930 and 1934.
5. Blake and Clavert, The Ugly Game; Bensinger. ‘Mr. Ten Percent’.
6. National Soccer Hall of Fame Archives, Robert Millar Papers, 1930, USFA Official
World Cup Report, Financial Statement, 16.
7. National Soccer Hall of Fame Archives, Robert Millar Papers, Farewell Dinner and
Sports Program, SS Munargo, Munson Steamship Lines, 1–8.
8. National Soccer Hall of Fame Archives, Robert Millar Papers, 1930 USFA Official
World Cup Report, 1.
9. L’Auto, July 14 and 15, 1930. ‘Les Etats-Unis battent la Belgique … le deuxième match
de la journée fut une surprise car on s’attendait plutôt à une victoire des Belges. Les
Américains du Nord remportèrent finalement la victoire par 3-0’, [The United States
defeat Belgium … Today’s second match was a surprise since we were rather expecting
the Belgians to win. Finally, the US won 3-0].
10. National Soccer Hall of Fame Archives, Robert Millar Papers, 1930 USFA Official
World Cup Report, 4.
11. Ibid., 5.
12. Cirino, US vs. the World, 66.
13. The Fall River Herald, June 1, 1940.
14. John Souza (former US international and semi-professional soccer player from Fall
River, Massachusetts) in discussion with the author, May 12, 2008. Souza was
88 years-old at the time of the interview. He was in exceptional physical and mental
15. Allaway, Jose and Litterer. The Encyclopedia of American Soccer, 56–7.
16. Apostolov, ‘Everywhere and Nowhere’, 513–4.
796 S. Apostolov

17. Goldblatt, The Ball is Round, 514–5.
18. Ibid., 516.
19. Dietschy, Histoire du Football, 325.
20. Blake and Calvert. The Ugly Game, 57–8.
21. Bensinger, ‘Mr. Ten Percent’.
22. Ibid.
23. Mickle, ‘Trail Blazer’.
24. Street & Smith’s Sport Business Daily, July 28, 2015.
25. Gardner, ‘Latino Crowds Make Copa a Big Draw in the US’.
26. The Guardian, June 20, 2016.
27. Arrighi, ‘From America to Europe’. Arrighi is a specialist on Uruguayan and South
American soccer (in discussion with the author).
28. Dreier, ‘Gold Cup Numbers Shine as Predicted’, 6.
29. Botta, ‘Univision Deportes Signs 10-year Deal with CONCACAF’, 6.
30. Bensinger, ‘Mr. Ten Percent’.
31. Dreier, ‘CONCACAF Expects Attendance, TV Gains for Gold Cup’, 6.
32. Toye, A Kick in the Grass, 44.
33. Genzale, ‘Cup TV Deal’.
34. Hugo Sanchez (former player of Real Madrid and coach of the Mexican National
Team) in discussion with the author, September 12, 2007.
Allaway, Roger, Colin Jose, and David Litterer. The Encyclopedia of American Soccer.
Lanham: The Scarecrow Press Inc, 2001.
Apostolov, Steven. ‘Everywhere and Nowhere: The Forgotten Past and Clouded Future of
American Professional Soccer from the Perspective of Massachusetts’. Soccer & Society
13(4) (July 2012): 510–35.
Apostolov, Steven. America’s Forgotten Sport: The Untold Story of Soccer in New England.
Fayetteville, AR: The University of Arkansas Press, forthcoming.
Arrighi, Pierre. ‘From America to Europe: Football on a Continental Scale’. Paper presented
at the conference organized at ESSCA Ecole de Management, Angers, April 22, 2016.
Bensiger, Ken. ‘Mr Ten Percent: The Man Who Built – And Bilked – American Soccer’.
BuzzFeed, (accessed July 26, 2016).
Blake, Heidi, and Jonathan Calvert. The Ugly Game: The Corruption of FIFA and the Qatari
Plot to Buy the World Cup, New York: Scribner, 2015.
Botta, Christopher. ‘Univision Deportes Signs 10-year Deal with CONCACAF’. Street &
Smith’s Sports Business Journal, October 29–November 4, 2012.
Cirino, Tony. US vs. the World: The American National Team on the Olympic Games, the
World Cup and Other International Competitions. Leonia: Damon Press Inc., 1983.
Dietschy, Paul. Histoire du Football [History of Football]. Paris: Editions Perrin, 2010.
Douglas, Geoffrey. The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup’s Biggest
Upset. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.
Dreier, Fred. ‘CONCACAF Expects Attendance, TV Gains for Gold Cup’. Street & Smith’s
Sports Business Journal, May 9–15, 2011.
Dreier, Fred. ‘Gold Cup Numbers Shine as Predicted’. Street & Smith’s Sports Business
Journal, June 27–July 3, 2011.
Gardner, Paul. ‘Latino Crowds Make Copa a Big Draw in the US’. Word Soccer, July, 2016.
Genzile, John. ‘Cup TV Deal: A Three-week Dash of Sleepless Nights’. Street & Smith’s
Sports Business Journal, June 5–11, 2006.
Goldblatt, David. The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer. New York: Riverhead
Books, 2008.
Mickle, Trip. ‘Trail Blazer’. Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, June 7, 2010.
Toye, Clive A Kick in the Grass: The Slow Rise and Quick Demise of the NASL. Haworth:
St. Johann Press, 2006.
Soccer & Society 797

Lincoln Bizzozero Revelez

1 Political Origins of Football

Uruguay *is*a small country of 176,000 square kilometres located in South
America, with a population ‘of 3.5 million. It is found in South Amerita’s
Southern Cone bordered by the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the River
Plate, by Argentina to the West and Brazil to th6 North and Northeast. It
,was’ a land between the Spanish and Portuguese empires during colonial
timesj ‘and tetween the two mayor Latin American Republics after their

Like-Argentina, Uruguay was a major destination for European migrants
from the 1870s until the 1920s. Both countries experienced an early mod­
ernization, liiiked largely to the close diplomatic and trade relations they
shared with the British Empire. Meat arid wool exports to the European
markets made the productive system, transports and communications mod­
ernization possible for both countries (Thomas 1994).

Along with the British investments came new organisational models,
hobbies, cultural expressions’ and sports, like football. With footballs pop­
ularity, a .singular local game-style appeared, deriving in the chorus ‘of a
song: “Uruguayos campeones de America y del mundo” (Uruguayans are
American and world champions).

L. Bizzozero Revelez (El)
International Studies Program’, Faculty of Social Sciences,
Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay

© The Author(s) 2018
J.-M. De Waele et al. (eds.), The Palgrave International Handbook of Football and Politics,
https://ci0i.0rg/l 0.1007/978-3-319-78777-0_28



558 L. Bizzozero Revelez

Contrasting with its geographical dimensions, with regard to football, this
small country has been historically a relevant actor. Uruguay was Olympic
Football Champion twice, in 1924 and 1928; Football World Champion
twice in 1930 and 1950; South American Champion (Copa de America)
fifteen times, which is more than any other South American national team
(Argentina won fourteen while Brazil won eight). Adding to the latter both
major local Uruguayan football teams, Nacional and Penarol, sum up six
Intercontinental Cups (three each) and eight Libertadores Cups (five for
Penarol and three for Nacional); while Nacional also won the Recopa once
and the Inter-American Cup two times. On top of these accomplishments
are the coundess Uruguayan players who have made it in the worlds major
football leagues, like Luis Suarez, Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani, considered
among the best players worldwide.

Football is linked to Uruguay’s history since the late nineteenth century,
having played an important role in the, configuration of its national identity
The “Uruguayan game-style” was innovative both in tactics and techniques,
but .most importantly, it generated a new social sensitivity towards the gamg
(Magarifioz Pittaluga 1942). Uruguay, a young and small country, known
worldwide for its successes playing football. This is. why football became ojje
of Uruguay’s most important cultural expressions.

The international relevance of Uruguayan football transformed it, ast a
social phenomenon, into much more than just a sporting competition. The
performance in the game became associated with the fate of the country, and
its international acknowledgement. As historian Andres Morales states: ..
understanding the football show as an ethnographic phenomenon is what makp
it even more exhilarating. There is still a lot to be learned about Uruguayan
and Argentinian mentalities, mind frames and stereotypes from football history’
(Morales 2014a: 44).

That is why, as throughout its history Uruguayan football has. been intej-
nationally distinguished, it has become, as a professional sport and show,
very important for the history of the Uruguayan people. The aim of the fob:
lowing pages is to illustrate this unique socio-political-sports reality that we
know as Uruguayan Football. e

Football’s arrival to Uruguay coincided with a period of deep historical
transformations. This might explain the rapid incorporation of this sport
as one Uruguayan identity’s most important cultural expressions. By 1900
Uruguay was living through a process of unparalleled economic, denrq-
graphic, political and cultural modernization (Bertino and Millot 1990).
It was a young and open society, sympathetic to international inndvatiohs.*
Uruguay was transitioning from an oligarchic/caudillo-led political reality to

* .

Uruguay 559

atlpmoeratic and inclusive system.,For the firSttime, a.romantic and positiv­
istic vision of the-country flourished: from its cultural atmosphere.

FootbalL arrived around’1890’togedier with the’British involvement in
finance,•”xortimerce “and: services. Since 1870,»«British influence in Uruguay
was» incre^ing hand inrhand with the local, economy s growing participa-*
tion im international trade during’the ‘first Iglobalisation (Bertola 2000).
Although British’ investments -never reached the magnitude they did in
neighbouring! Buenos’Airasi, they ‘‘guided” Uruguay’s agro-exporting econ-
omy^ the’interest laid on’‘the woof and meat >markets, the construction of
railroads andtr^ns,; setting up of finance, service and communications com­
panies, develophient of the port of -Montevideo and the slaughterhouses,
a’hd even the beginning-of a small British colony (Barran and Nahum 1986).

Hie’’first informal football matches took place on the shores of
Montevideo, hear the Pdnta Carretas-iighthouse, between British work­
ers and sailors.’Social,encounters were .organised during-weekends to enjoy
the landscape, the beaches and-watch nhe “crazy Brifs” run after a ball.
The.popular appeal v^as so great that-a-spedalitramway line was created on
Saturdays and Sundays, which included lunch and drinks, to-watch football.
Other matches itook place beyond’Montevideo‘in other parts of the corin-
try:”British citi^ns *used their free time in railway stations and-workshops to
play football,-and the-residents of suburban’areas gathered in mass to watch,
organising pic-nics and social gatherings (Magarinos Pittaluga’,1942).

British and’other European institutions (businesses and schools) became
the.first Albion, MbntMdeo Rowing,. Uruguay Railway Cricket
Club (CURCG), Montevideo Cricket, the Irland^s, the Aleman. In 1899
the Club Nacional de Football was founded, the first creole team (Morales
1969;Magarinoz Pittaluga 1942).

The “football fever” Was uncontainable. Leasing land for matches became-.
a lucrative business. Around 5 to 10 thousand spectators crowded to watch
the most important matches, in a time were no stands nor stadiums had
been built to cope with suclr an -audiehce (Magarinoz Pittaluga 1942).
The British sport had become the-’most popular public spectacle, surpass­
ing bullfights (that’were prohibited before long) and the carnival events. By

.the “early twentieth century bver 80 teams had been formed. Around ten- of
these competed in various first-rate championships and even spkyed against
Argentinean and European teams’that visited:Uruguay (Luzuriaga 2009).

“‘Between-1900-and 1930 Ufuguay’s agro^exporting economy had positive
results, enjbying’an’expansive period. Local GDP per capita reached-.levels
like’thbse of Belgium or New Zealand (Alvarez 2010). This allowed for the
integration of masses of-migrants and -the development of social security

560 L. Bizzozero Revelez

institutions, pioneering the field in the American context. This was the right
context to play football: very positive results in cattle farming, excellent
public services in the country’s capital, universalization of public schooling,
the beginning of a process, of’political democratisation and the recogni­
tion of workers rights. The chronological coincidence of these processes
with the appearance of three of Uruguayan football’s main characteristics is
not casual: (1) the classic rivalry between the two most popular local clubs
(Penarol-Nacional); (2) the national team’s sky-blue jersey (“La Celeste”);
and (3) The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF). It was through these
pillars that the social and institutional idea on football was expressed.

Physical education and communications expert. Professor Pineyrua states:
“How can Uruguay’s successes in football be explained? How that such a small
country obtained such grand achievements?… The explanation must be in the cre­
ation of a local game-style and the personality of its players, forged from different”
immigrant cultures and used to represent their country from the first day, crafting
its epic. The passion that football unleashed rapidly extended to the whole society
and became entangled in the social structure of a country still moulding (2014).

Uruguayans changed from spectators to players, they flocked to foot­
ball and so it “became Uruguayan”. This was a vertiginous process that
encompassed all social .classes.^ As the historian Luzuriaga explains: “Players
could be British gentlemen and workshop workers or university students, eithdr
way spectators from all social classes would gather by the court’s side-lines”
(Luzuriaga 2014). The practice of football became a part of the cultural
identity through which nationalist feelings and collective optimism could
be channelled, as long as Uruguayan representatives continued to triumph

Resulting from the cultural exchange given in those times of openness,
an important sporting fusion resulted. English football key characteristics
(the long pass, tactical discipline, fast oflFensive midfielders) were combined
with those of the River Plate (short pass resembling that of Scottish foot­
ball, zigzagging, dribbling, and individual improvisation) together with oth­
ers of Italian origin. This way, Uruguayan football, of British .origins, ended
up combining local postures and attitudes, linked to tango, “catenaccio”,•
Latin sensibility and the participation of several players of African descent
(Magarinoz Pittaluga 1942; Morales 1969).

Thanks to this unusual combination, typical of the River Plate, the
Uruguayan national team developed an agile, brave and original game-style
that earned it three consecutive international titles. Surprising Europeans
and Americans alike, “la Celeste” won the tide in the Paris Olympic Games
of 1924 facing Switzerland, and repeated the accomplishment in Amsterdam

‘Uruguay 56t

facing Argentinadn tl528. iHis performance allowed^ Uruguay to successfully
present itsxarfdidacy tpdiostrhelfirst FIFA World Gup in 1″930.

■At a time when,Uruguay was celebrating its first century-as an independ­
ent Republic*, the state* xlevoted itself to build, in less thart^nine months.
South Americaidirgesrsfadiumao’that dateyso las to host-the delegations
that would*cqmpfete’tn the 1930 World Cu|)’(Jalabert 2016). As ft had done
so before,’?fia. Celeste” conquered the title’winning the-‘final’by 4 goals to
2t,against Argentinaji5borh,*and from it* *the-first derby .(“clasico”):
Uruguay FolloMng the world final, headings reading “Uruguay
World GhampiortfioV the third time” titled every page. Apart from an in-depth
recdunt of the’ganie andpicturesn. ‘during celebrations the victory is seen as a
triumph for «the Nation»”fbAbtz\cs 2014a: 39).

Victories ovenitsdarget neighbours, confirmed football’s*timely arrival at
1 time-when’-Uruguay was’djuilding* an-optimistic modern natiofial ideal.
Farirom hhe image pdrtrayed by other oligarchic Latin American States,
the..smail>Ufuguayan”Republic-saw itself as “Americas Switzerland’’, and
remained’confident ip its fqture development. Thefincorporation of football,
a modem sport! tMt>allowed it. to coihpete with its neighbours and other
nations, was yet another one*’of:moderniiys challenges.’ Due to its growing
popularity and international successes? it became a- sign’bf Uruguay’s iden­
tity, just as it was beinganstituted through politics; education and the press.

2 Historical Club Rivalries

Football in Uruguay cuts across all ‘social spheres, ‘classed and -institutions.
Since Uruguay is a small country with just three and a half million inhab­
itants, football rivalries,-concentrate-nationally in its tw6 main’clubs, which
are. the Club Nacional; de Football and the Club Atl^tico Penarol. Some
regional’ rivalries, alsb exist ^Salto-Paysandu; Maldonado^-Rocha), others
between teams belonging tO the’same neighbourhood “of-Montevideo-(River
Plate-^Montevideo’‘Wanderers;’ Cerro—^Rampla Juniors) and in other cities
(Piriapolis—^Tabar6; Deportivo Maldonado—^Atenas).

The most important rivalry is the one between Nacional and ‘Penarol.
Both-their interpretations of their history, and the image they portray, define
the ‘bases on which -Uruguayan football is structured. That same history
depicts their institutional differences and.serves to model -each team’s image
and determine their sociaffiases.

562 L. Bizzozfero Revelez

Tliis rivalry is even expressed through the discussion over which is the
oldest Uruguayan football team. Probably incomprehensible for non-
Uruguayans, this issue has prompted historians to devote investigations to
vindicate the claim over seniority by both teams (Alvarez 2001). Nacional
formed a committee with members such as Jorge Badle (Uruguayan
President from 1999 until 2004) and Enrique Tarigo (Uruguayan Vice-
President from 1985 until 1989), both lawyers, so as to clarify the legal
issues regarding Uruguayan football’s seniority. The final report was pub^
lished in 1991 by Enrique Tarigo, as a response to Penarol’s celebration over
their one hundredth birthday (Comision de Decanato 1991).

The controversy, which was resolved legally by an international court,-
stems from the issue of the continuity or not of the Central Uruguayari
Railway Cricket Club (CURCC), a multipurpose club founded In 1891,
with the Club Atletico Penarol, founded in 1913. However, the contro­
versy is not about which team was the first to play football in Uruguay, since
other clubs pioneered at this. Montevideo Rowing, Montevideo Cricket and
Albion were all founded before CURCC. In fact, Albion was the first dedi­
cated football club. Nor was it about .which team is the, oldest belonging to
the Uruguayan Football Association or> that has participated from the most
Uruguayan championships, which is Nacional (Pineyrua 2014).

The controversy is based on three issues: the trophies won by CURCC
and claimed by Penarol, the historic-cultural continuity between both
teams and having yet another distinction compared to -the rival team. In
what refers to championships, since CURCC won several trophies, their
consideration by Penarol presents different equilibriums. For example, the
Uruguayan Championship has had 113 editions, of which Nacional won 4d
(counting the 2016 edition) and Pefiarol 43. Since CURCC was champion
five times, Peharol’s claim would take their overall amount to 48 Uruguayan

The other issue refers to the historic-cultural continuity between CURCC
and Penarol, being the first one a popular team formed by the railway
employees and workers in a working-class neighbourhood (Penarol). This
continuity allows Penarol to claim this working-class origin* as its own, when,
118 employees founded the CURCC in the railway workshops back in,

Finally, the rivalry between Nacional and Penarol has transformed .over

the years, polarising the discussion on the seniority of one team or the other.
The lack of continuity between CURCC and Penarol can be demonstrated
with legal and objective arguments. It is a proven fact, that both institu­
tions co-existed for one whole year and even faced each other on the field

Uruguay 563

(Alvafez 2001; Comision-de Decanato. CNF 1991). Adding to this,-at the
time of CURGC s institutional closure it donated all its assets to the British
Hospital,* so, at least from a legal point ofview, there is no institutiond con­
tinuity with Penarql. Other arguments supporting the continuity between
both institutions are explained by Alvarez in his book* (Alvarez 2001)*.

The controversy over the-age of one of Uruguay’s most popular teams is a
testament to football’s importance for the country. While most teams were
born from neighbourhoods*, towns and regions, Nacional and Penarol were
nationally relevant,, their rivalry cutting across cities and sectors. Although
there is evidence of certain social preference for one or the other based on
national’brigins,’’social sectors, regions and political preferences, none of
them prove to be decisive and conclusive.

This emphasis made on the origins of both* teams hints at the differ­
ent institutional identities: Penarol is associated with the “gringos” and
the’ comrrion pedple, while Nacional is linked to the local traditional cul­
ture (Am&ica’s first creole team). On the one side football’s popularisation,
on the othef the nationalisation of the sport by the creoles. This division
berweenipopular and national tendencies resulted in preferences being deter­
mined by social and regional factors.

This .explains why historically most* of Penarol’s followers came, from
Italian‘origin, were working class»and lived in the cities. It also had many fol­
lowers ffbm the Colorado*’Party, linked similarly to Italian immigration. On
the other hand,. Nacional “got most of its followers from Spanish immigra­
tion, among merchants and from rural areas (mostly outsidb Montevideo).

As historian Juan Carlos Luzuriaga states “… the short time it took both
Nacional and Penarol to earn the allegiance of the people during the edrly years
of the ’twentieth century, resides mostly in the fact that both teams incarnated
long-term ‘national visions and sentiments, together with a great sporting par­
ity, that stimulated their rivalry” (2014). Beyond the county’s .political tra­
ditions, these two teams channelled several social sensitivities from that
timei ‘’Nacionali’the most representativetcreole team… put together squads of
Uruguayan’players- willing to challenge their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, or what
they represented,’ in their own arena. Confronting-with the Anglo-Saxon lifestyle
and accomplishments model was-a challenge emphasised by the young local intel­
lectuality” (Luzuriagai20l4).

These are no absolute divides, but they hint on the social expression that
both team’s historical -origins had -among different immigrant and social
groups, cities and regions. Several polls conducted in the past twenty years
show a trend in’the facts explained above, toning down the divides existing
during the clubs’ first decades.

564 L. Bizzozero Revelez

Nineteen 90s polls showed a greater percentage of Nacional sympathis­
ers than Penarol ones, while recent twenty-first century polls show that the
preferences have inversed, with a greater percentage of Penarol’sympathis-
ers (Bassorelli 2013). Polls also show a clear majority of preferences towards-
Nacional and Penarol’ in comparison with all the other minor teams. In
1997 polls showed that there was a 45% preference for Nacional, 42% for
Penarol and 13% for all other teams put together. During 2005 a new poll
showed that 32% of those surveyed sympathized with Nacional, 31% with
Penarol, 9% with other teams and 28% had no real preference. Finally,
in 2013 a new survey resulted in 46% sympathising for Penarol, 35% for
Nacional, 6% for other teams and 13% with no preference. (Bassorelli

There is also rivalry over the number of members each club has. In 2015,
the company “Movement for a Better Football” placed Penarol and Nacional
in a ranking of the twenty clubs with more members worldwide.. According
to this ranking, Penarol had 77 thousand members and was ranked 16th
while Nacional had 76 thousand and ranked 17th (Barboza 2«15). Both
clubs have also competed concerning their football stadiums. Nacional s sta­
dium, the Gran Parque Central, was inaugurated in 1900 and used to host
the national team games. Apart from that, it was one of the stadiums died
for the 1930 World Cup, where two inaugural games were played; Penarol
built its stadium recently, it being inaugurated on March 28, 2016. Penarol s*
leadership have observed that their stadium, the Campeon del Siglo, com­
plies with all of’FIFA’s requirements.and can hold up to 40 thousand spec­
tators. The Gran Parque Central does not reach’that capacity, although a
remodelling plan attempts to do so in several months.

Another issue that opposes both clubs’concerns the number of champion­
ships won by each. The controversy surrounding Pefiarol’s-continuity from
CURCC has already been presented. Some historical issues, like the fact that
Penarol was de-affiliated from the Uruguayan Football Assodadorr for sev­
eral years, are not that relevant regarding the aforementioned matter. It is on
the issue of the number of official titles earned by “each institution* that both
clubs argue the most. Were we to accept Penarol’s-continuity from CURCC,
then Nacional would be beaten (48-46). They are followed by Defensor and
Danubio with four titles each. However, when considering all the official
championships disputed in Uruguay, Nacional holds the lead over Penarol
(134 for Nacional and 118.for Penarol). And when considering international
titles, including FIFA-CONMEBOL tournaments and others -organised,
by country associations, Nacional has 21 to Pefiarols* 16. Statistics show a

Uruguay 565

CURCC/Penarol* superiority in the early years’of the nyentieth century^ with
Nacional dominating the scene from 1910 until the 1950s, even winning
five years in a^row duririg the-1940s. By the late 50s until the 70s Penarol
dominated again, winning, themselves five years in a row during the 60s.
Penarol would repeat this,feat duringjthe» 90s, proving its dominance over
Nacional Sn the,football scene during those years. The twenty-first Century
will see ther return of Nidorial- as the dominant team: Nacional has so far
won ten championship^ over.Pefiarols four.

Statistics might show the evolution that both institutions have had
regarding their’sporting, results. However political and social aspects and
other factors not’linked directly to the game, like the intervention of busi­
nesses and the handling-of’money .(and players), are-elements to take into
consideration, and will be addressed in the next section.

3 Football as,a Sports Spectacle:.The
“Football-Culture” and Its Interactions

As it was pointed out before, football became a populilr sport, t6 play and to
watch, in the early years of the twentieth century, coinciding with *the’birth
of an optimistic- Uruguayan national ideal. “Naturally” resulting firom this,
came football s symbolic and cultural significance and interrelation with pol­
itics and ‘society.

The current Coach *of Uruguay’s National Teams Oscar- Washington
Tabarez, generally sums up Urdguayan football’s exceptional character as
follows: ‘Ufuguay has a “football-culture”’ (Bianchi 2014). Every boy gets
a ball for Chtistmas,- 200 thousand young kids practice football, there are
more than 20 dedicated fidio stations, and football metapho’rs are used to
relate to almost any topic of conversation amongst Uruguayans. And this is
not a recent phenbmenqn, but exists since the origins of Uruguayah football.

Football’s’importance within the citieS and countryside’s social fabric is
outstariding. It has become an important component of the young boys’
(nowadays: and girls’)’upbringing, who socialise through football (com­
plementing their formal schooling), learning Values such as teamwork and
good sportsmanship, and hoping that ’football will be their means for social
promotion. The Uruguayan Government, in recent ;^ears, has found it fit
tot develop policies for economically depressed areas, so that the practice of
football may be a source of motivation that keeps the youth away from idle­
ness and consumerism.

566 L. Bizzozero Revelez

Football and Party Politics, but no “Bread and Circuses”

Football and politics have been historically linked. There are numerous cases
of political careers that started from a position in club leadership. Coping
with club organisation, understanding certain popular codes that this task
requires, the popular exposure that success in sports generates in Uruguay,
are all elements that may help further the political career of anyone will­
ing to pursue one. Although not a general rule, it has been common for
Uruguayan politicians to hold seats either in football club management
committees or in AUF s (Uruguayan Football Association) leadership itself

Throughout the twentieth century, at club level, Penarol has been gen-‘
erally linked with the Colorado Party, while Nacional has been associated
with the Blanco Party. As previously stated, these parties identified with dif­
ferent immigrant communities and with one of the poles of the dichotomy
countryside-capital city. Several club presidents and delegates at the AUF or
CONMEBOL, have also been active members of the Blanco and Colorado
parties, and held positions in Parliament, regional and national government
(Morales 1969). Most of the club leaders have been lawyers and politicians,
rather than businessmen, retired athletes or other social figures.

Nowadays these affiliations are not as clear as they used to be.
Immigration ceased to be a relevant factor by the late 1940s, so todays fans
are the grandchildren, at least, of those original European migrants. The
end of the bi-party era, where the Blanco and Colorado parties dominated
the political scene, has left a new, yet unstudied, situation. The growth in
popularity of the left wing Frente Amplio party, founded in 1971, that has
been the governing political force since 2004 and holds almost 50% of the
electoral preferences implies a modification in the correspondence between
fans and political parties. Given these facts, the twenty-first century will be a
transitional period for the party-club correlations.

However, the general trend concerning football s connection to politics is
still in force: President Tabare Vazquez now in office, who belongs to the
Frente Amplio party, can present as one of his “successes”, that while he
was raised by working class parents in a humble neighbourhood in the out­
skirts of Montevideo, he graduated as a Medical Doctor, and presided over
a minor club, the Club Atl^tico Progreso, leading it to become Uruguayan
Champion in 1989. This fact is interesting since in it the reality of football
as a cultural expression meets the cultural identification with the story of
David. ^

This intimate relation between football and politics, does not mean that
politicians can manipulate or use football for their own political ambitions.

iUruguiiy 567

In fact,* there are. several examples that? prove just’How’difficult it is to use
football, as “Bread-and Gircuses^h wheh thedast’Urugpayan Dictatorship
organised a World Gup Champions Tournament’intlSfeO; -neither propa­
ganda nor the large number of spectators stopped the- crowds from -chanting
“jt’s^oinilg^to end? it^*g6ing to’end, the>military* dictatorships (. se va acabar,
seiW’acabar,’ la~dic-tadiira-m‘ilitar”). ConfirmingHhat popular expression, -in
November of>that safne.year,* most Uruguayanswoted against a’Constitution
being proposed’by the’, military’governfnent. This means that, -although the
fans flocked ta’sge th^games-and celebrated their national teams unprece­
dented accomplishment of winning a: World Cup Champions Trophy, they
weren’t? “bewitched” by this, and still did not grant any legitimacy to the
tournament organisers,’ theirmilitary dictators. ‘

Uruguayan fbotbalhmiore-than’a’public .show is a culturul expression, con­
sequently, though it might be a fundamehtal learning ground for a political’
career, the social scope of the football-culture helps to cushion any attempts
to manipulate the sport forj|i0i|rspor|:ing arpbitions, and U.i;uguayan.s, most
of them greater football fans than the club managers thenisfelves, have no
trouble separating the scopes of football and politics. ^


Footbair as an Open Sport

The issue of racism in Uruguay is not easy to address. In -the 1920 s,-there
was a strong popular ideal of Uruguay as a “new”, “white”, “indigenous free
natioii..-However, the reality of a culturally and biologically mtilti-ethnic
nation, witk a white’creole’majority, but with great numbers of slave and
Guarani- descendants and open to European immigratibnj made it impos­
sible for a massive popular expression such as football not to resemble that

social diversity.
AfrO-descendants represent around 5-10% of -the* whole Uruguayan

population. Although the early Republic elinainated-discriminatory laws,
socio-economic and cultural segregation are still today .problematic (pov-
erty.levels -and limited access to tertiaryeducation compared to other social
groups is still alarming today) (Cabella et al. 2013).

In spite of this, Uruguay was one -of the first countries to integrate
afro-descendant players’in the practice of football: both’the Black Wonder
Andrade who-played for Uruguay-in* the 20s, and the HBlack Chief Varela
who was captain when thet’national team-won the 1950 World Cup, are
historical icons that hint on a relatively positive integration in the sport’s
realm. Several afro-descendant players, both Uruguayan and alien, have also

568 L. Bizzozero Revelez

become football idols playing for the big teams (Atilio Garda, Artime and
most recently Chengue Morales for Nacional; Spencer and Joya for Penarol),
confirming football’s integration into society as a diverse and open sport
(Reid Andrews 2011, 34).

There are no records of segregationist teams in Uruguay, or of racially
biased policies in the sport. Consequently, there have been almost no racially
triggered troubles between opposite club supporters, players and managers.
Contrasting with the problems faced by afro-descendants to fully integrate
within Uruguayan sodety, football can be considered a space where they
can achieve social recognition and progress their careers. In general, limited
racism could be alleged to exist, having a permanent presence of afro-de­
scendants in the sport, many of them well-known, but conserving the use of
the, sometimes affectionate but many times derogatory, “negro” appellative
(Arocena 2009; Reid Andrews 2011).

Massive Support no Matter the Results

It is also interesting to analyse the massive support that the national team
has and the big teams’ large number of members. A recent poll indicated
that 86% of Uruguayans show interest in football (Pineyriia 2014). The
following periods could be presented considering Uruguayan international

(1) From the origins until 1954: the “Celeste” among the elite. Uruguay was
among the elite of World football. Having won two Olympic Games
and two World Cups, Uruguay surrendered its defence of the Jules
Rimet Cup, in 1954, in a fantastic semi-final lost in extra time against
Hungary (Vazquez 2017).

(2) 1960-1995: the national team’s irregularity and the rise of the clubs. The
second half of the twentieth century saw poor results in World Cups,
reaching 4th place in Mexico 1970. But on the other hand it was
marked by great international successes both by Nacional and Penarol,
winning several Libertadores and Intercontinental Cups (a total of 14
between I960 and 1988). One international triumph was achieved
by Uruguay during the 90s when the national team won the America
Cup of 1995 on Uruguayan national soil, however the late twentieth
Century left a sense of lack of international relevance both at national
team and club level.

Uruguay 569

(3) 2010 •until today, return of the “Celeste”, from 2010 onwards, following a
reiiewed process in’the management of the’hational team, Uruguay has
•managed to recover an almost permanent seat in FIFA’s Top Ten rank-
Ingf and both the struggle for .3rd .place in the South African World Cup
against ^Germany and Forlans Gol4eh Ball-award, were celebrated by
massive’tiroWds in the streets, by a populacei eager to see Uruguay (and

» „ themselves) back in the top seats of World football. Uruguay went on to
win the America,Cup in 2011 marking its’supremacy in American tour-
naments-and reaffirming the fan’s communion with their national team.

Beyond these, cycles, .support for the’national team has shown a positive
trend. Since-the plkyoffs for the 1998 World Cup’, Uruguay has sold more
tickets’than any other national team,*including Brazil, iWgentina and Chile,
considering all South’American tournaments.

A Similar long-terrrufevolution can be seen regarding the major clubs;
although both teams have failed to produce -any -significant interna­
tional results.for the last 30 years (Nacional.won its last Libertadores and
Intercontinental Cup in 1988), their membership has kept growing, having
found new ways to keep motivating fans to join their club, as several polls

have revealed.

Violence and Values

From the very start the passion arid agony with which football is experienced
by’fans has led to violent episodes. Skirmishes between teams arid rival fans,
‘crowds ‘that overrun controls, all problems usually associated with a mas­
sive phenomenon that mobilises collective sentiments worldwide. News of
clashes, suspended’games, alleged pressures on referees and other “typical”
football conflicts (Luzuriaga 2014).

The 1930 World Cup can be an example of such a massive event.
Historian Andr& Morales recalls that “there was a tense environment, several
incidents were re^stired before, during arid after the game. On one side, prob­
lems with oversold tickets, causing troubles during the tournament inaugura­
tion, pn the other hostility between Uruguayan and Argentinian fans. Violent
episodes got to the point where, after the end of the game, stones were hurled at
the Uruguayan Consulate in Buenos Aires (Morales 2014a: 36). From then
on until 1986, violence in Uruguayan football continued within the accept­
able” parameters of spontaneous conflicts—sometimes serious but began
and ended with the game.

570 L. Bizzozero Revelez

During the mid-80s, the big teams Fan base adopted a new behaviour,
resembling “hooliganism”. These new groups of fans, called the barras
bravas”, started to .dominate the stadium stands. The term barra brava
(brave band) originated in Argentina* and refers to the group of organised
fans that come up with chants, carry hags, receive their team with fireworks
and exert pressure on the players (Aguiar 2014; Morales* 2014b). Up.until
1986, Nacional and Pefiarol fans shared the Centenario Stadium stands
when a derby was played. However, given .the incidents concerning flag
stealing by opposing “barra brava” members that year? fans were separated
in unconnected stands from then on (Osaba 2015). During the 90s these
groups grew in number and force and started to dominate “areas within th6
stadiums, and other social’ aspects of the game. Their leaders (some of thein*
with links to international organised crime) were directly supported by cluBi
managers, or these simply turned a blind eye on their activities,’ as*did manyi
fans, who shared in their violent conduct, participating from their chants
and insults against their, rivals. This was a tragic decade, marked, by the death
of several “barra brava” members in violent clashes, lacking the authorities,
an effective response against the rising tide. ^

In fact, given these groups’ role as unrelenting team followers, who deliv-*
ered a colourful show, even during a period of meagre international accom­
plishments, they were generally tolerated. By the early twenty-first century
Nacional and Pefiarol “barras” had their own trademarked outfits,, the]^j.
controlled stadium parking-lots and drug trafficking in the stands, and were
given free tickets to attend international games. There were several incidents,
when the “barras” entered team training grounds to bully the players ^h^r
a poor performance. The press was also responsible of frequently approving
their actions, congratulating them on their support for the teani. Families,
given the show’s unsafe and uncomfortable context, stopped attending ^ihe
games: long ques, police controls, delayed exiting from the stactiums ana
fear of rival “barras”. Economic and other kind of sanctions, including .^ra­
dium closures, loss of points and championships, were imposed because qf
the “barras”’ destructive actions that ended up hurting their team’s competk
tive chances (Abal and Quirici 2()l7).

Nowadays, the social networks have maximised the potential to^ insti­
gate violence and intolerance, sometimes promoting a sort of misplaced^
football passion that is expressed through street fights, flag stealing ,and
wall paintings. In 2016 two young men were Idlled (one from Nacion^
and one from Pefiarol) Tn violent incidents: one while painting a wall Iji
one of Montevideo’s peripheral neighbourhoods, the other while celebrat­
ing Penarol’s birthday in a town square, in one of Uruguay’s small towns.
Both incidents happened while there was no game being played, showing

s Uruguay 571

how the “barra’ bravaJ’ pt,gblem h^ sp9W itselfi/piaking it
almost impossible for tearn =m^fl;ag,^rs f:qppntg)£5^^qifps.;hat were toler­
ated or even supported for many years. Tiie situation has become so serious
that,the last game between Nacional aqd.Pefi^ol^^d tq bq.suspended, since
thpJeaders qf thq.Penarol “t>pra” organised_^s^b,qt?ige fromjail,,as a form of
prqtesf’fojr not’receiving,free tickets. Groups of,fans were instructed tp .force
their way i^po |;he stadium, raid fpqd and Jbeyerage Stands and -proyqke a
police reactiop. Althoughj Police Intelligence could deaqtivatq.the attempted
sabotage apd captui;e those-responsible, violence once ptorp dominated the
scene (Fern^dez,2016).

Three decades aftpr the beginning of this phepomenop, efforts have been
made .to cpntrol ip flowever, even though seyeral government offiqials, club
managers and security e^phrts are working on the is^e, the result? have
been few. This is a footpdl related .problematic fram.pd; in a difficult social
context,.that is.ej^periqnced with great intensi^ by the big clubs .but also by
small neighbqurhqoci teams .that have niany suppqrters. Police repression is
insufficient to stop the “barras” since they find motivation in fighting law
enforqeni.ent. Greater intervention by Police Intelligence and club pianage-
itiep^ seems necessary, tqgether .with a modern legal firamqwork to penalise
violenf,actions. Thopgh apparendy ^.short-ter^nft solution, eflPorts have been
rpadp by Nacional t;o ipcludp some of its^most, well-known “barra” members,
as parf of the clubs secprity detachmept..]^enaxoHs going tjarough an^pra of
institutional reform, overwhelmed by a phenomenon completely out of its
leaderships coptrol (Aguiar 2014).

This phenomenon does not .extend to the fans that attend the national
team gamqs: there is no such thing as a “Celestes barra” and stadium attend­
ance (the largest (p America) is domipated by families, with a much bigger
presence of wpmen than, in domestic games. Uruguay’s coach, Tabarez, has
fostered a set of y;dues. in the national team th^thave helped avoid “bel­
ligerent”, anti-rival attitudes by the. f^s.^ Uruguay’s coach has tirelessly
preached the importance of comnaitmept and tenacity within th^ margins
of “fair pl^y”, always remarl^g the conipetition’s, spqrting,. non-nationiis-
tic quality. These values are. very, different froip-those “traditional” standards
promoted by the big teams and the, media, by whieh an alleged superiority
(in seniority, supporters, titles, flags) admits saying^, irrationally assumed by
the crowds, like “winning whatever way pqssible”, referring to the rivals as
“sons”, “chickens”, etc.

Government policies seem necessary to face this problem i^at is Central
ip Uruguay’s football-culture, as to, educate through media campaigns on
both the fans’ and athletes’ behaviour. The example set by the national team
could be a good starting point.

572 L. Bizzozero Revelez

4 Contemporary Issues: The Ambivalent
Image of Uruguayan Football

Uruguayan football has two very different identities. On the one side, fol­
lowing the fourth place achieved by Uruguay in the 2010 South African ^
World Cup, victory in the 2011 America Cup and more recently the under
17 and under 20 youth teams’ second places in youth World Cups, Uruguay
has secured a good position in the FIFA ranking (FIFA 2017). These accom­
plishments, together with a generation of world-class players playing in the
most important leagues (Sudrez played in The Netherlands and England
before reaching Barcelona), have made football—a sport already
in Uruguay’s culture—a Central piece of the Uruguay Brand. FootbaU helps ^
Uruguay strengthen its links with other countries and cultures. El Chino
Alvaro Recoba’s reception at a football-soccer championship held in China’
in 2016, and his disposition to aid the Uruguayan Government in expand­
ing its links with the People’s Republic of China, is a symptom of this new

reality (La Red21 2016).
Uruguayan football’s positive international image has been strengthenea

by the fact that several players, including Cavani, Godfn and Suarez, are rec­
ognised among the world’s elite, and continuously appear’on the front paps
of newspapers, television screens and other media. These players, together
with many others, have helped to bring Uruguay back to football’s centre

On the other side, in the domestic scene, 2016 saw several infamous inci­
dents that represent the tip of the iceberg concerning Uruguayan fomballs
current situation. These incidents’ were the elections held at a neighbour­
hood club; deaths caused by confrontation between opposing fans; and the
suspension of a match between Nadonal and Pefiarol. These episodes hint at
football’s current problematic context and the nature of‘the challpges that
lay ahead. However, these local incidents have links to a larger intelnat^onal
situation, related to local and global business interests and FIFA’s role wijin
the sport. This autonomous international organisation has allowed, for dec­
ades, all sort of illegal transactions, of which awareness has recently SurHced.

The close relationship between the firm that owns the television rights lor ^
the domestic and national team games, the Uruguayan Football Asspipon
and several teams has perverted (significantly) the competition nself. Player
deals (player purchase rights), player rights and the f
transparency are all at stake. A clear example was the case of Club Aptito
Cerro’s elections, were a local candidate won but was not recognised by the

Uruguay 57?

opposing postulant and his thugs, supported by Tenfield, the company hold­
ing the television rights of Uruguayan football. Tenfield guarantees the clubs
operation but keeps’ the club’s books- sealed from external auditing. Cerro’s
elections-ended’up in a-second around of vodng, after threats and beatings to
assure* nothing’changed;’with the authorities refraining’from’ any interven­
tion (Montevideo Portal 2016):

Tie Idvel of iiAplirtity wfth vl^hicb Tenfield’arid several businessmen have
acted’ iA Uruguay has’Teeif^shaken by two recent” events impacting from
abroad:’the Investigation, separation’f^oiA office, and Ipdidment of several
FIFA authorities, and the denunciation, made by several national team play­
ers, of Tenfield’s collection of player image, rights. The latter has had a sig­
nificant impact in Uruguay, due to the huge profit some businessmen have
made from these rights (Nunez and Pujol 2016).

Since these accusations were made by players like Lugano, Suarez, Uodin,
among others who share massive popular support and are respected in the
football world, their iinpact has surpassed all expectations. Moreover, other
things Sfarte^ t0 sprf3.ce, like Tenfield’s links with the Football Players Union
(that represents football players’ interests), motivating hundreds of local
footballers to sign.^ petition demanding the repipv^l of the representatives
that “doji’t represent theip”, Thpugh this is .still a punning- process, several
other sAspicious .situations, have started! to surface. The issues at-hand are so
significant, that many players have mentioned the possibility of refusing to
playfor thernaticmal team, in case spurious interests intervene, damaging the
team (Ovacidn 2017).

Uruguay’s international image! contrasts with its doiAestic reality that has
alienated rnSny*^ spectators from the focal’ games. This situation should not
last for long, since the clubs need the support’of their fans to. maintain their
sponsors, especially in a small country where football is so significant. In
Uruguay’s case, the imperativ;e to change has come fron^ the national team
players and their .coach. They-have abandoned the idea of “winning whatever
way ppssible”, and played with the traditional Uruguayan.tenadty (“g^rra”
“garra charnia”) within the limits of ‘‘fair play”, taking Uruguay baqk to the
top. Moreover,, thanks to the national . team players’ intervention, the issues
of player rights and business interference in football have seen the light.”The
big clubs must necessarily address these issues if they do not wish to be left
out fk»m the process of football globalisatibnl However local processes, insti­
tutional and social realities don’t necessarily go hand in hand with ihterna-
tion^*developments. The violence experienced duilhg 2016 shows just that,
exposing Uruguayan football’s bipolar reality, at least to the present day.

574 L. Bizzozero Revelez

1 Around those years the possibility that Vazquez could be named as AUFJ

^^dent was tangible. However. Uruguay’s then
of the Colorado Party and linked to Peharol, opposed the idea of left-wi g
nolitician reaching the summit of Uruguayan football leadership.

2 “Before accepting to coach Uruguay, Tabdrez demanded that his long-term
pltct Se nitional team and its youth teams be approved. This pro^
naiied “Institutionalisation of the processes concerning the
and the formation of players”, includes a diagnosis, the setting p J
tives at national level, a calendar and even prescriptions regarding game strat-

’ egy and player training” (Pifieynia 2014).

AW. Vico,, aod Gabriel Quirici. 2017. VioWda en el

„y. https://wv™,em/3810-JOO-»adenue,ooo ,

Aeee^d d Jaa 2017^ ^ ^
Agu.a,, M. 2014. WMen d ain»’ y .„yac.on-aS.

U: 137-150. Moo.evideo. Biblioreca

2001.. PO^rd La ,ran,ul6a d, 1913 , la crnlin M decaaau,.
Montevideo: Ediciones de la Pluma.

Alvarez 1.2010. Montevideo: Irilce.
Arocena, F. 2009. La contribucidn de los inmigrantes en Uruguay, apees e

2009/2, Universidad d?l Pais Vasco, Espana. , j
Baioi M. 2015. Loa 20 dube, coo mayo, canddad de aoe.o, del mundo. La

^ ^ Ummay M 900. Montevideo: EBO.
woi’ G 20B Sol L 1»3, f997, 2006, 2008 y 2013. ^cnesm dr

Be,wrS^and”j*MUlM. 1990. Wittoria ecmbmica dd’Uruguay. Monon-ideo:’


Cabeila etal 2013. La poblacidn afro-uruguaya en el censo 20jl. , ‘

J. Calvo, Socio demogrdfico y de la desiguaUad f ^Luuri^n. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales. Universidad de la Republica.,em/3810-JOO-%c2%bbadenue,ooo

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Comision de Decanato. CNF. 1991. Informe sobre Decanato. https://nacionalsosel-

Ferndndez, N. 2016. Escindalo en Uruguay: el avance de las barras bravas, la clave
de la suspensidn del cldsico Penarol-Nacional. La Nacidn, November 28. http://
nacional-no-se-jugo-por-incidentes. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

FIFA. 2017. Clasificacion Mundial FIFA. Uruguay,
ranking/associations/association=uru/men/index.html. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

Jalabert, L. 2016. Las participaciones europeas al Campeonato Mundial de Montevideo.
Discordia, crisis y tensiones entre dos continentes de fdtbol. Montevideo: Museo del

La Red21. 2016. Alvaro Recoba fue distinguido en China. Lot Red21, October 14.
china. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

Luzuriaga, J.C. 2009. El football del Novecientos. Origenes y desarrollo del futbol en el
Uruguay (1875-1915). Montevideo: Taurus.

Luzuriaga, J.C. 2014. Nacional y Penarol en el Novecientos: orfgenes de la rivali-
dad cldsica. Alfondo de la red. Cuaderno de Historia 14: 193-206. Montevideo:
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Magarinoz Pittaluga, J. 1942. Deljutbol heroico. Montevideo: Alfonso Ruiz y Cia.
Montevideo Portal. 2016. |Que hable, Que Hable! Secretarfa de Deportes pidio a la

AUF informacion sobre elecciones en Cerro. Montevideo Portal, July 13. http://
informacion-sobre-elecciones-en-Cerro-uc314284. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

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en el Cl^sico del Rfo de la Plata. A romper la red: Miradas sobre fitbol, cultura y
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Osaba, J. 2015- Barra de estudio. Lai Diaria, September 8.

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Pineyrua, R. 2014. Futboly otros deportes. Montevideo: Comision del Bicentenario.
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Accessed 1 Oct 2017.


Sergio Varela

In ’the first place, this text criticises the “offidal” history of Mexican football,
which establishesi aiinear sequence,, free of contradictions and-ambiguities. ■
As* we shall see,-eid and Mulets (


96-2) book is a-kind of canonical narra­
tive tin national football that speaks of its pnglish origins., the transition to
“‘Spanish” controfand finally itS’JMexicanization and massification.

It refutes the idea that the historical process’of Mexican football’can be
understood with -the simple chronological elucidation of its origins and
later maturation./Rather,’itds argued that the history of Mexican football’
‘is contradictory;^ that it-has developed nn’different levels and that it-is more
ifnportantito. understand the’cultural, political, social and economic terrain
in which it developed. Thus, emphasis is pladed on the social and cultural
environment of the European and American colonies that formed a sport
socialite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Likewise, it
is argued that the Mexican tenfessional dducation networks (f&uits and
Marists) of the time had close relations with some European educational
centres, esfiecially of England, and they were very iihportant in the prodess

of sportivisation of Mexican society.
Subsequently, it is argued that the specific characteristics of the Spanish

colony in Mexico at the early twentieth century allowed the transition of

S. Varela (Kl)
Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, National Autonomous University
ofMexico; Mexico City,- Mexico

J.-M. DeWafile et al. (eds.), The Pdgrave International Handbook of Football and Politics,


506 S. Varela

socialite football to the domain of the general public, as well as they defined
during the first decades of the twentieth century certain basic features of the

national football rivalries.
However, as it is outlined later in the text, it is not until football became

professionalised in the forties and even more with the foray of television in
the late fifties that the system of rivalries and organisation of Mexican foot­

ball took their modern forms.
With a system of “melodramatised” rivalries (proposed by the television

owners), fans give meaning to their football affinities, but simultaneously
they are able to recreate family’s and gender roles so valued by the Mexican
modernising project. The creation of family porras throughout the sixties
and until the nineties exemplifies these valorisations anchored to domes­
tic imaginaries of that time and perpetuated by the different apparatuses of

political and commercial propaganda.
Finally, during late nineties, new forms of organisation and consolida^

tion of identities and rivalries between clubs (derived from the rise of the
Internet and cable television) allowed fans to “invent” the barras. With
South American influence, young people of the late twentieth century tried
to reconfigure the prototypical aficionado (passive and well behaved) by an

extremely active and disruptive fan.
At the end of the chapter, based on the discussion of the organised forms

of fandom, a series of reflections on machismo, misogyny and homopho­
bia embedded in Mexican football fans is proposed as a contemporary
issue. The cry of “Eh … puto” popularised by Mexican fans in national and

international competitions will guide the discussion.

1 Political Origins of Football

Socialite Football: Sports Contagion in Mexico at the
End of the Nineteenth Century


Historians have a certain (false) obsession to trace the origins of every pr6-
cess. As Bloch points out: “In its most characteristic form, this idol of the
tribe of historians has a name: the obsession of origins” (Bloch 1982, 27).
This is the case of Mexican football historians (professionals or amateurs).
Concentrating on the origins doesn’t really help to understand the develop:
ment of sports in general and of football in particular.

The text El libro de oro del futbol mexicano (Cid y Mulet 1962) is an exam­
ple of that obsession and it has left a deep mark in our country’s football

Mexico 507

history. As if football .could She understood with the search of its origins, Cid
y Mulct begins•his.’Work as folldws; “Back in 1900 English-tfechnicians and
iftihers pfPachucaVReal’del Monte Co. […]’fo’rmed the’first football team
in Mexico” and “’British residents of the industrial regions were exclusively
who introduced football in our Country” (Cid y Mulct 1962, 9).

Metaphorically Bloch says: “Every contagion involves two things: micro-
biaif, generations”anS af’thd niolmerit of contagion a terrain” (Bloch 1982,
3 W’Mexican’Kistbribgrapliy.bas devdted ‘great’effort to desefibe with cer-
tam detail’ the’midtobial generatibns that ^rou^ht” football into the couri-
try, but have little interest in analysing the “terrain” in’which the ill was
caught” arid even lesV elucidating the changes of^thjs “contagious disease” over

TJiere is no dpjibt tfrat Europein, Americah, Canadian and Mexican

imfoigtahts (wljo ‘|iad fntimate contact with &e Ceptral nations of the late
nineteenth century) inoculated the mierdbes df sportS contagion in’Mexico.
As in all Latin Arperica^ different industrial and commercial ‘branches
attfacted a large pumber’df teihpdrary Ufid’defiriitive immigrants between

the 1860s and* the 1^201 As Brichenau puts it: “During the Porfiriato, the
Mexican governmhht sporisored the ihflux of foreign capital and immigrants
^ the key to its prbjecj; pfe*^ate-and’nation-buildirtg” t^udhenau 2001, 31).

ihe ‘process of gidbalisation df nineteenth-century capitalism crossed
^1 dinlerisidp’s of social, political’arid cultural life m Mexico. During the
I^rfiriato, jdprhalisip grew ‘floticeahly; photography and cirfematography
Became entrenched’in everyday life; cities were’rebuilt; raflway network
4nd‘the mining ipdu^try gre\^ sharply. Thfollgh ah immigration, policy that
sought to “white’n’hhe countr^ banks, foreign railways and mining dompa-
nies, aipprig others, “[…] brought their own engineers and overseers, indi­
viduals who were paid ’lhany times as much as Mexicans working next to
them” (Buchenau 20()1, 34).

By 1900, there were in Mexico about three thousand Britons, four thou­
sand French, three thousand Cjerman, sixteen’thousand Spaniards, and fif-
tbeh thousand Americans (Buchenau 2001, 33). “Ihe cultural influence of
these groups not onl}^’transformed the pfodudtive relations of Mexico, but
their social and cultural life. In partiodar,’the boom of .sports’“contagion”
had a clear Anglo-SaxoA line (although French and Germans, and as will be
seen later Iberians, exerted their influence).

In 1880, journalist Enrique Chavarri, known Juvenal, )vrote that he
had been informed that the “German club” had created an equekfian soci-
e’^ that promoted the values of modern sport and teproached the Mexican
yduth of not doing the same:

508 S. Varela

It is always pleasant to form such societies, which unfortunately we do not
have among ourselves. As in dreams we hear of the Jockey-Club, the Veloz-
Club and other elegant European associations. The foreign colonies give us the
example, but our youth does not enjoy sport, they rather prefer the dolce far
niente. (Juvenal 1880, 1)

The development of mining and railways allowed the American and British
colonies to establish, in accordance with Porfirist policies of modernization,
key institutions in their daily lives, such as schools, halls, religious temples
and social clubs (Beezley 1983, 267).

The Massey-Gilbert Blue Book (Massey-Gilbert 1903) reported that Mexico
City’s Anglophone colony had a robust daily life that was felt in all sectors of
Porfirian society. This yearbook reported activities of the different Protestant
and Catholic churches, schools and social clubs in the Mexican capital, as
well as announcing industries, banks, shops and railroads that this colony

The case of John Hubert Cornyn^ is a good illustration. Cornyn became
the first publisher of a sports magazine in Mexico: The Mexican Sportsman
that went on sale from October 1896 to June 1897. Cornyn tried to estab­
lish an (advertising) journalism for the practice of the sports in Mexico. In
its first number, he wrote: “We want to see the MEXICAN SPORTSMAN
in the hands of every one interested in sport or pastime of any kind […] in
fact the word ‘sport’ is beginning to have a deep meaning In Spanish as in
English”. He added that Mexico “is fast becoming athletic and she is begin-,
ning to love the outdoor recreation of the Anglo-Saxori and the Frenchmen”.
Finally, he informed the Mexicans in a preacher’s code that “The Mexican
Sportsman will help you to understand the new movement. It has a mis­
sion to preach. It has taken for its text ‘Sunshine and the open air.’ We want
everyone to help us preach the new gospel. Will you help us?” (Cornyn
1896, 1).

The important thing is to point out that the Porfirian modernization pro­
cess, or as Beezley calls it, the “Porfirian Persuasion” (Beezley 1983), created
a colonial environment in which foreign migrants and native peoples, or at
least with Mexican roots, ambiguously interacted in the consolidation of
sport and football in particular.

This historical development contrasts sharply with the widespread idea
that sports (football in particular) were imported by foreigners and were
incubated and grown in a (mostly male) passive native population. It should
be emphasised that football, as a practice and spectacle, did not penetrate
the popular mood without strong cultural, political and social resistance in
Porfirian Mexico.^


Mexico 509

Sports were not practices free from imperial contradictions. Thus, foot­
ball, as an English cultural product, did nofmature in the Porfiriato and
then had to ‘give its own “battles” against American sports, such as baseball,
basketball, American football or lake races. Sports had no “manifest destiny”
that could ensure their full dfveIo{|ment or disappeararice in any nation. The
cpnsolidation of football was’fortuitous in the posf-I*rfiriari imaginary, as it
was the debacle of lacustrine regattas in the Mexican highlands for example.^

ft can be pointed out that the Porfirian social context allowed the devel-
oprrieht of a sociulite football, in which its spectators were still undifferen­
tiated from ,their practitioners, who were also unable to differentiate Wily
Bet\\feen footballers (in their differerit versions) cricketers, baseballers,
etc. A note’from the newspaper El Mundo clearly illustrates the football
indeterrhinacy of the Anglo-Saxon colony at the time:

* ‘lt is said that the next season will be one of the most active in English football,
as five clubs, “Reforma”, “San Pedro”, “Britanico” and probablf“Pachuca” arid
“Puebla” will take part in’the League. The bad season ofthe latter may make it
decide to accept another sport, perhapS cricket.

Last year, cricket was limited to “Reforma?’ and “Mexico”, which played two
‘* ^games, but the lack of variety in the matchfes, decided the’players to choose a

new sport for the new season. The first football games sparked the enthusiasm
of those who now form the British club. {El Mundo 28 December 1904)

There is not such thing as the.“birth” of Mexican football, since its practice
is indeterminately inscribed in, relation to other leisure practices (sporting
and: artistic) of the Anglo-Saxon settlers, in mutual dependence with other

social sectors.
It could be said that socialite football at the beginning of the twentieth

century began the organisation, administration and establishment of mini­
mum criteria for competition and statistical record:

Association football has been played in M^^i^o f®*^ a number of years, but the,
game received a strong foothold in 1901-1902. […] For the season of 1902-
1903 the Mexico Association Football League was formed with Reforma A.
C., the British Club, Pachuca, Orizaba and Mexico C. C. as members. G.
Varley […] is the honorable secretary. (Massey-Gilbert.1903, 157)

The English-speaking colony created a small circuit of socialite football that
initially spap ,around Mexico City. Social and sports clubs such as Reforma
Athletic Club, British Club, Mexico City Cricket dub, ‘Pachuca Cricket

Club, Puebla Cricket Club were the bases.

510 S. Varela

It should be emphasised that this football circuit had several social ele­
ments that cemented it; cricket, trains, mines, churches and schools. Its the
turn to one more aspect of this cultural transformation of football: schools.

Pupils Football: The Role of Catholic School Institutions

Apart from the Englishmen, other groups of European immigrants and
elite Mexicans (who studied abroad) played important roles in the consol- i
idation of sports as part of the national “civilising” horizon. The cases of
the Catholic orders of the Jesuits and Marists are basic to understand the
Mexican football impulse during and after the revolutionary civil war.

It is also necessary to recognise that the Mexican elite maintained a close
link with the imperial metropolis of the nineteenth century, especially
England and France. There is no doubt that the English and French edu­
cational system generated an enormous influence on the thinking and life­
styles” of the Mexican aristocratic and bourgeois elites.

The case of Stonyhurst College is very illustrative in this sense.“^ In her
anecdotal book on travel to Mexico, Tweedie pointed out that at the begin­
ning of the twentieth century “ [In] Cuernavaca, I had a real Mexican dinner
at Senor Ramon Olivero’s, who, like so many Mexicans, had been educated
at Stonyhurst College” (Tweedie 1902, 306).

Influential and powerful families of Porfirian Mexican elite sent their
children to study at Catholic schools, especially Jesuits such as Stonyhurst
and Beaumont in England. These were the cases of Escand6n-Amor, Rincbn.
Gallardo or G6mez-Parada femilies who throughout almost all the nine­
teenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century maintained a
close relation with Stonyhurst College.

As Madas-Gonzdlez points out, “Stonyhurst embodied the Mexican-aris­
tocracy’s ideals of stability and exclusivity and the school environment-and
organisation allowed them, among many other things, to participate in- an
annual field tripj social -events, and sports matches with rival public schools.
Such activities prepared youths for adulthood, installing important lessons
about -competition, self-reliance, and civil responsibilities (Madas-Gonzdez

2012, 696).
Among Mexican sportsmen who were educated under the aegis of what

Madas-Gonzdlez characterises as the “informal empire (Macias-Gonzalez
2012, 691) of English public schools, such as Stonyhurst and Bbauiriont,
is the case of Jorge Gomez de Parada Buch. Son of a prohaineht Eorflristi
landowner, Jorge Gomez de Parada studied in these schools and becahie

‘Mexico 511

a. polo, fronton and football-player and later member of the International
Olympic Committee, with ample recognition between the Mexican elites.^
It is* presumed that he was thte “first”*Mexican footballer to participate in an
“official” match playing for the British Club in 1903 (Ballesteros 2010).

‘It is important tp,point out that Catl}olic-e^uca^ipn|l,institutions (fojr.
eign and national) played a sigmfic^t/91^ the^diffusiop of many sports
and football in particular. Jesuit and Marist orders developed a strong sense
for sports, using physical activity as a great allied element: “The Jesuits, with
their ernphasis oh the total dimension of’the human being, body, heart,
mind and souf — mens ‘sana in corpore sano — have always propioted bodily,
training througl) gymnastics Sfst, then ^rou^ sport by giving it a leading
part in their pedagogy” (CombeaujMari 201T, 1648).

Brambila says that “the enthusiasm for sports and especially for football
since the arrival of the [l(4arist]*TSrotljers to Mexico was one of the character­
istics of Marist education”. And he cites a document of the’order:
1 *
‘”‘At Mexico City Marist schools, the ‘great sport’ [football] began around 1912,
■’wheri’the high school was founded in liiT^erpema. During the first years teams
♦were Called ‘Oncenas Col6n’ [Colon hldvens]. When Eugenio Cenoz was in

charge of’the Sports Club, these ivere renamed America’and with this name has
made history in the Mexican national sport. JBrambila’de la Mora 2012, IT)

At the beginning of the twentieth centurp, Jesuit educational system had
a fairly Widespread presence iiS-the riationhl territory. Schools such as’the
Sacred’Heart College of Puebla, the’Sah Francist6′ de’Borja*Sdence Institute
in‘’Mexico Citjc'(better khoWn as MaSfcarohes), theiSan Juan Nepomuceno
Gbllef^ in Saltillo and the‘San Jose Institute of Guadalajara, among othdrs
were key elements in the consolidation of an extensive sports and football
netwotk. Th’e case Of Guadalajara, in the Western state pf Jalisco, illustrates
tfie*’creation and’consolidation of football this network. Mendirichaga says:

‘‘Tn the School of St. Joseph, at the beginning of the twentieth century there
Was gymnastics and sports. Several former alumni, ‘along with’ other tapaiios,
later founlled the Atlas of Guadalajara PC” (Mendirichaga Dalzell 2007,

The same applies for Marists system. Since their arrival in Mexico, the
Marist Order rapidly expanded its’ school network to Jalisco, Yucatan,
Oaxaca, Chiapas, Michoacan, Morelos, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato and

•Mexico’City (Peiei Siller 1998,’226-231).
In summary, with the combined impulse of Catholic schools in

‘Mexico and the training received by the Mexican’elite in English schools,’

512 S. Varela
with growing networks of foreign and national white and blue collar workers
especially at the railway and mining companies, the terrain for football con­
tagion in Porfirian Mexico was becoming possible.

The National Imagery of Mexican Football at the
Beginning of the Twentieth Century
In this social and cultural context, football was another element that con­
formed the Mexican nationalistic imaginary. Students and workers of
Mexican middle and popular classes were gaining ground m football prac­
tice with the simultaneous fact that English and aristocratic Mexicans of the
Porfirian elite ceased to control all aspects of it.

Nevertheless, this transit to the massification and popularisation w^
mediated by another subject of the European immigration during the
Porfiriato: Spaniards. Important differences rest between Sp^ish and
English nature of their economic and daily activities in Mexico. Unlike the
Englishmen, Spanish immigration had a more marked social and economic
heterogeneity. Some consolidated themselves as great entrepreneurs, but
many of them were wage earners who sought to improve the living condi­
tions they had in native Spain (Moreno lizaro 2007).

Club Espana marks precisely that transition. While English social and
sports clubs were shaped as institutions of cultural “enclave”, the associa­
tions of the Spaniards had a mutual aid logic (Garda Acosta 1979, 116).
Club Espana emerged without a playing field and practically without the
minimum conditions for the development of football. However,
ation characteristics and contributions gave it a radical difference-to,English
clubs. Its first partners were salaried an4 its founding chart said that the
eight founders would acquire “a ball, two goals and an PW >
“obtain permission to-play in another field as the actual [field] had not goo .

conditions” (Cid y Millet 1962, 94). j
This different circumstance between Spanish and English allowed a more

intense interaction with ;heir Mexican counterparts. The ^lub ^pana
allowed immediate incorporation of Mexican players and after English dubs
stopped dominating the League, Spanish clubs main competitioq would be
against the “Mexican” clubs that had already been formed by the. 1910s.

As noted above, some clubs emerged from the interaction of ^e Jesuit
and Marist Catholic schools and the educational centres run by the Anglo-
Saxon community in Mexico. From this interaction emerged the team today
known as America. This was founded by alumni of confessional educational

Mexico 513

institutions,’ strongly>4inked to hygienist and ethical pedagogies that saw
sports as an outstanding educational element.

The foundation of the club is trapped in* a-relatively “dark” historical? nar­
rative that, gives it an air of mysticism, and mythology, necessary to base the
iipffiptiort of its “tradition’’. An’selement that helps consolidate the‘myth
isahe “national”’ diaracter of its-first* members and founders. They were:
Alonso Sordd,,oFernahd© Sierra, Rubilio Torres,*”©ados- Garces, Manuel
Marroquinv Juan Andrade, Rafael GafZa, FrandscO’Oribe and Jose izquierdo
(America-FC, ri.d.).*’IheseiyoungMekicans.founded,the club that some years
later would dismantle the hegemony, of the “Spanish’’ teams’ (Amedfca “FC,
n*.d.).< •* j-Some',*^ Necaxa^ disptfted “Spanish” teams'supremacy. If.was nevertheless America FG the •first-Mexican'-club to obtain-a.League eHaifipionship. During-1924^1928, it got’ four consecutive Mexico' City Aoriateur League champidnships.

Tbidther regions of thes country as Veracruz, but very markedly in* the city
ofiGuadalajara Jalisco, football also becaihe? a’phenomenon “(mainly urban
and pophlar) that over the decades* Would consolidate ‘a nationalist imagi­
nary and ndrrative. Theicase of

Tt ns precisely this dialectical circumstance, contradictory in many ways
(MexicerCity/province, homeland/foreigne’rs,-‘urban/rural) that Chivas and
their “chilango^ counterparts? hav©i developed national discourses that -are
expressed in the ensembles-and overlaps of the professional football rivalry
system. t ’ ! – –

It has been pointed out that the soeialite football promoted by the Anglo-
Saxon colony in Porfirian” Mexico* was characterised .by its exclusionary
forms. Only national elite was part of that closed circuit. During but mainly
aftfer-the revolutionary civil war, the. Spanish colony and Catholic schools
network confortned what has been conceptualised as pupils football. ‘It
allowed, in turn, a broader social base which gradually configured a rivalry
system between clubs and country regions.

By the 1930s albeit oscillations and-cdhstraints, Mexicarl fioofoall had
matured in organisational and administrative terms. Mexican Football
Federation-was founded in 1927 (FEMEXFLTT, n.d.). After several decades,
it’gained control over regional structures, such as amateur leagues in Mexico
City’Jalisco, Nuevo Leon and Veracruz, among others.-

514 S. Varela
Another process was also being forged: amateurs (associated with the con­

cept of practitioners) became observers and consumer of the football specta­

cle: it was the raise of amateur-spectator. run
In several Latin American countries, the transition from amateur footbal

to professional football was taking place. By 1934, in Argentina, Uru^ay,
Brazil and Chile, football had been professionalised. In Mexico, the debates
between those who opposed and inclined towards professionalisation of the
game took great intensity. Thus, in 1943, professionalism overturned ama­
teur resistance and finally consolidated a League with national aspirations.

In Mexico City, the process of “modernization” was being formalised.
Spaces for the practice of football were changing ^°*e rhythm of politi­
cal guidelines, technological and social innovations On May 4. J924 the
first stadium made of concrete, the “National Stadium (MusacAio 2003,
131-132) was inaugurated in Mexico City (but not for footbdl use). In
1936, the “Parque Asturias” was inaugurated in Chabacano,
largest of the wooden stadiums built in Mexico City throughout the 1930s,
finely destroyed by fire (Paramo 2012). By 1946, the first concrete stadmm
at “Ciudad de los Deportes” (initially designed for the practice of American
football) was built for association football practice (Televisa, n.d.).

Football show business was acquiring its own cultural strength as media
and the cultural industry moulded it. Professionalism was fundamental to
mature football spectacle. This could only be understood as football infra­
structure was objectifying in new stadiums and clubs.

Football professionalisation led to a clear instrumental rationality org^i-
sation. The consolidation of the Professional League in 1943 forced the dubs
to take an eminently entrepreneurial stance, subordinating any tradition
or premodern elements in their structures. However; since the inost impor­
tant element of affiliation and identity between spectators and their respec­
tive clubs was a (supposedly) “irrational” and emotional (love) element, clubs

had to cultivate and calculate their respective economic inter^ts on a sen­
timental base to increase the number of their followers In other words to
modernise and sell their own (emotional) trademark, Mexican clubs tended
to “melodramatise” their identities (on a paradoxical rational basis).

2 Historical Club Rivalries
It is precisely in the 1940s that football clubs were forced to form their own
“identity”, which represented them as unique in the sentimental market
of football rivalries. Behind the football identity is a market dimension,

Mexico 515

no- doubt. But .other elements, such as ‘the regional stamp were outstand­
ing factors in the formation of football’ identities. Being from the cap-
italj-of the republic meant’a ceutain mark of identity and antagonism.
Clubs-»as America, .Atlante-and Ndc^a enjoyed’this geographical category.
Subsequently, clubs*as Cruz-Azul and’Pumas de la UNAM became strong

Atlante directors,* for example,»sought to strengthen the club in the
Mexican-‘football marker by emphasising its popular roots and exploiting
thdniqttO “team of the‘people’-! and “prietitos”,^ appealing to their poor and
humble origins. This made two things clear: on the one hand, that the club
really came ‘frqm the lower clas‘ses.>of Mexico Gity and,- on the other hand,
that this, popular identification could be. quite conimercially profitable .in
the kntimental market that professional football, was- imposing in Mexico
(Adante, n.d.).

Necaxa, at the professional era, appealed to its worker roots .(they- were
workers of the electrical sector who founded it in 1923’and refunded it in
1950) and their owners openly exploited that characteristic but given the
professional nature of Mexican football since the 1940s, it was no more than
i relatively fictitious identification. However, given the massification of sport
and the fact- that most of the new adepts to football came from the working
classes,’generating’these identifications with urban men was almost an inevi­
table consequence for the owners {Excelsior 2015).

America- EC counted on the identity references of Mexicanity, its middle-
class ascendant and collegial, rootsiand, therefore, juvenile aspect coupling
with its “capitalino” geographical reference.

In terms- of its organisation, .’Mexican, football was .radically transformed
by these dates. The regional and state leagues served* as the most impor-*-
tant instdnces of the national football organisation. ‘These leagues had acted
almost autonomously and practically without any contact. Two major insti­
tutions, however, dominated the landscape: the Liga Mayor (LM) and the
Federacidn Mexicana del Centro or Federacion Central (FMC). Due to gov­
ernment pressures and an* increasingly^ entrepreneurial and capitalist logic,
the different federations, including the LM and the FMC gave way to the
Federacion* Mexicana de Futbol Association (FMFA) in 1937 (Saguilera

•“Disagreements between clubs, leagues, state federations and FMFA
continued in, the late 1930s and early 1940s.- In 19-42, a yeir before the
professionalisation of football, LM and FMFA broke organisational ties. In
1943, the LM’was erected in a basically business entity and it consolidated
professionalism in Mexico.

516 S. Vareta

The LM exacerbated and radicalised professionalism through the massive
importation of South American players, especially Argentine. In 1945, at a ;
request of America PC, seconded by Atlante PC, the LM negotiated to the |
president of the republic, Manuel Avila*Camacho, the regulation and.reduc- |
tion of foreigners playing for professional teams in Mexico City'(Salazar

2015; DOP 1945). ,
On December 13, 1948, the LM already professionalised and FMPA j

reconvened, to finally establish the Mexican Football Federation,’which still |
is the’Organisational body of Mexican football, under eminendy capitalist |

and business premises.
In the 1940s, the tapatio^^ and capitalino^^ teams hegemonised the (

football rivalries. To a large extent, because the professional •fbotbalLcom- j
petition, along-with the still incipient progress-in other matters,.such as ,|
transport and communications infrastructure, was not developedi.more ;

evenly throughout the country.
In 1944-1945, the League was extended to-thirteen teams, still.cbncen- ,

trated in the Central zone of the country.’ Of the thirteen clubs thatp^tici- j
pated in the “national” competition, five were from Mexico City, three from ,
Jalisco (Guadalajara), three from Veracruz (Orizaba and the port), onejfrom
Guanajuato (Leon) and one from Puebla. ;

It was in the-following season* 1945—1946, when finally northern-dubs ;
appeared; Monterrey and Tampico. However, their presence was not lohg. ^
Monterrey club remained only for that season and disappeared from.the first ?
division circuit for five.years, until its return in the 1951-1952 season. i

The centralization of national life was also evident in the* geographic and ^
administrative configuration of football in .those years. Only three -states of
the federation were venues of 70% of the first division circuit. Under t|iese
incipient conditions of geographical rivalry and instability of the clubs |
themselves, the identities attached to the teams were not fully profiled. J

3 Football as a Sports Spectacle

Sociality zxA pupils football could be considered as early representative foot- |
ball processes. The subsequent rise and fall of the Spanish teams, besides .>
the professionalisation in 1943, are the organisational ‘cornerstones of
Mexican football. However, it will be the process of television’arrival, specif- v
ically of Telesistema Mexicano (later known as Televisa) as the most impor­
tant process in* the consolidation of Mexican professional football. 1■|


Mexico 517

In 1956,. Mexico City hosted the Second ,Pan American Football
Championship. The’ National. University Stadium was the venue for this
et^ent. Nevertheless, beyond its sporting relevance, the tournament was cru­
cial insanother sen^e: it’nrarked thetentrance of the television into Mexican

; ‘On,Sunday,-Februaryi26, .the Mscican team* faced Costa Rica’s. The fans.
who attehded*the stadium-far exceeded the nuniber- of available locations.
Ifjitiairy, the press reported the’opening of this competition as an “emotional
aitdj^sinjple’’.ceremony in which the National University Stadium had been

; “full of euphoric fans” {Esto, 29 February 1956).
.Two days later, on-28, Argentina faced Peru. Large contingents -of fans

[ with’ and without tickets went to the stadium. They jumped ‘the* fences of
it..Aboht;a hundred thousand tickets went.on’^ale. The*stadium had only
seats for seventy.’thousand. The press and.-the fans severely questioned the
organisers. Attendance at the opening matches of the tournament exceeded
the’expectations* and capacity df the facilities. For the local government, the
tournament vias becoming a^matter of great relevance and concern, so they

, askedfTelesistema‘Mexicano< to'broadcast the matches, which the .owners of the broadcasting chain accepted with certain reluctance.

The o\faiers* of Mexican television, • from that moment and in’a random
way, would begin their interest in Mexican .professional football and thereby

’ redefine the* cultural, economic and social significance of football in our

-February 1956. is, to put it somehow/ the second and probably the most

imp’ortant foundationr.qf Mexican football.
following Sartori,’ television (the television landscape)>and its new anthro-

poss*the ‘homo^mdens, created the’ conteniporary fdotbalF spectacle and a

‘.‘Madcan television strengthened the criteria ’of professionalisation ahd
• instrumental ratibnalisation for the football spectacle that would mark its

institutional, path definitively. The increasing influence .of television on the
football field allowed, in the first* instance, the expansion of the base of fol­
lowers* on ah unprecedented scale. Television football created, almost out of

\ nowhere, a* new way of “watching” football,, which basically meant not leav-
f ing the house to see the matches. In thefsame wayit involved the intermedi-
‘ ation of the-“television eye’’, which had effects in-several senses.

” One of these-effects wasuhe conformation’of football itself as a commer-
f; dal product made and ready for television. Football was integrated into tele-
[ vision and commerdal narrative under criteria based on the logic of creating.

518 S. Varela

provoking and stimulating specific feelings. That logic could well be inter­
preted as melodramatic. But melodrama not understood as a literary genre,
but as a key interpretive of culture to the extent that the ways in which dif­
ferent sectors of society- (classes or genders, for example) are embedded or
conformed by the guidelines of capitalism. In this way, Herlinghaus argues
that melodrama, as an interpretative key of social and cultural* aspects,
is interesting “not so much as a theme, set of themes or genre, but as a
matrix of theatrical and narrative imagination that helps produce meaning
in the middle of daily experiences of diverse individuals and social groups
(Herlinghaus 2001, 23). k

It is. this ability to generate “meaning” what is culturally relevant about
football. Football, seen as a melodrama, is a “producing product” ofdultural
and social sense. Football, specifically the professional, is a mercantile- tele­
vision creation that in turn produces cultural and symbolic meanings and
orientations among its followers. ‘

Professional footballers have simultaneously become subjects..thatf have
given meaning to the ways in which bodies are perceived and represented,
atleast in two dimensions; on the one hand, in the consolidation of a mdscu-
linity that is inserted in the capitalist and urban modernity and, on fhex»thef
hani in the symbolic representation of national (real or invented)-virtues
through international sports participation.

Mexican footballers, mainly through commercial television, have enforced
the idea of a healthy, hygienic and athletic masculinity. In a dialectic^ way,
football is produced by cultural orientations of the. national elite,’which has
been inexorably linked to the processes of capitalist globalisation.nhis phe­
nomenon of football globalisation.can only be understood by the/linkage
that football has had with television, which homogenised narrativfe,, discur­
sive and symbolic formats. But even more, television projected “emotional”
and “sentimental” content to the masses of consumer-viewers.

In the Mexican case, professional football was televised through a dichot­
omy that sought to intensify the identity difference-of the clubs, recognising
America FC as the league s “villain” team in a polarised position to the “good
guys” in the melodramatized football plot: first opposed’to Guadalajara FC,
then to Cruz AzuF FC (integrated to the first division in 1963)’and later
to Pumas (integrated to the League in 1962). These identity differences,!
although they are expressed in “sentimental” formats, not only respond to
simple sports connections, but to a larger extent as “ideal visions” about
the nation, male behaviour, territorial belonging or class identification
(Magazine 2007).

Mexico 519

..’SimikrLy, the national team produces certain-cultural me^anings-that allow
us to locate-some of the characteristics attributed to>tmasculine Mexicanity,
such as “picardy” ’infa positive sense or in a negative sense mediocrity^ or
“cotruption” that discursively seem to be inherent in* the Mexican culture.

(Magazine, et al. 2014)-
On. the other, hand; the cultural, orientations of the.popular sectors^close

thexlialectical. circuit posed by the elites through thte’intensive-use of televi-
sioxi.’iIhe fans, permeated by the medial influence that television-has exerted
on .them’, unfold their practices-undef’theilight of melodramatized coordi­
nates. lA-this way,i football fs a.symbolicivehicld thatJ.imposes meaning on
thdr daily dives, but which they constantly’reformulate-through their own
•experience! Throughout time and-^pace, fans have-generated different ways
of/‘watching” and experiencing the professional footbalhshow.

‘ These ivadriations have a, clear expression under the fqrm^iin which fans are
organised at the stadiums. On the one hand, it is possible, to’observe the
fans’that.are’grouped in the family ponas and on the other the fans who* are

. orgahiseddn.the so-called-Wdr.T identify’tfte former as a result) of’a .sen-
tinientaT’edifcation em’andted in a context ihwhich the role’of the state is
fundirhental and the-idea of the nucleaf family is basic to^establish relations
knd hierarchies of gender and generations. This form offorganisation pro­
claims and implements’vertical structures of command. They are’clifntelistic
and CO rporatiMd’groups (mainly-by the clubs execufl’^es) that’demonstrate
their “4dve” to the-clubs through pracitices of moderate sentimentality that
rarefy exceed’the limits of a morality basechion the-doyalty,-respect-and hont*
out? Older males are Usually those, who run these groups’ll! a patriarchal and
almost patrimonial- style. These ‘men are ‘the linkv,and> those res’ponsible to

” club officers. Women, children and-the elderly belonging to the family/>c?r-
ras are loyal followers of the leaders and usually act with respect towards the

– fans of other clubs.
In contrast, barms are youth grbu>s that hiscufsivefy claim to‘reject ver^

– deal forms oficbntrol and pretendfto* expte’ssflove towards their respective
club through a specific practice: agaante (kind of sentimental endurance).
J^guantar for the young barristast\Sj%o‘the bpdy to risky practices and
permanent physical tests.- .^rnong these risky-practices are the use and exces­
sive consumption of afcfohoL and-drdgs. Physical tests *are usually expressed
ip .lights against-other barras and, lupnly, against the police.

-ITqweveft aguantar also implies keepUig,rhe, body in permanent moye-
ment, -shouting, singing and dancipg before, during and after the matches.
Aguantar also involves performing spectacular actions,on the stands, such
as throwing coloured paper, lifting and shaking many flags, among others.

S. Varela520
For these young people, life is lived once, sacrificially and melodramatically.
They watch with suspicion who, according to their point of view,
are passive and have a “cold chest”, that is to say, without passion.

In summary and contrary to what many football critics point out, as-they
consider it simply as part of the dominating apparatus of the capitalist-state,,
football gives social orientations of fans daily life. The fact that television as
reduced the spertrum of identity options can be criticised, since the me o-
dramatic format is polarising, almost dichotomous. Ue plots and narrative
of melodrama are simple, without sophistication and seem to arise frote the
daily life of the popular classes. But as Monsivais points out, melodrama
is “a forced, but perhaps not inaccurate, synthesis, the frenzied and ti-
mately amused expression of a necessity; the viewer wants to find in his lite
the theatrical, cinematic, radio-phonic or soap-operistic argument whose
greatest virtue is the guarantee of a very loyal audience: the viewer himself

(Monsivais 2002). j < ■ ■ irU Professional televised football, in any case, has endowed its viewers with

meaning for their daily lives. Clubs are a kind of objectification of idealised
national visions. But in the stadium, whether in the form of a family/iimw
or i>arras, fans also find ways to idealise the country, the aty, the neighbour­

hood and the family they would like to have. …
Finally, television found in football a first-order commercial prod­

uct, which was configured under the coordinates of the Mexic^ post­
revolutionary cultural industry. Already as a proven product, the melodrama
established the guidelines that football would follow, inserting, or at least
intensifying, in clubs and professional players, villainous or heroic charac­
teristics and pretending to make epic tournaments of cyclic repetition main­
taining the commercially exploitable dramatic tension.

4 Homophobia and Discrimination
in Football and Mexican Society Today

As a derivation of melodramatic polarisation and cultural sense of football
fans, I want to emphasise the theme of macho, misogynist and homophobic
expressions around Mexican professional football today.

For some years, the cry “Eh, puto …” that Mexican fans have become
popular in national and international matches has brought to the public a
Long debate about the connotations of male violence in Mexican football
(although not only In Mexico, since the debate has spread to other nations).

Mexico 521

Around 2004, in the city of Guadalajara, among fans of Adas f C, the shout
become popular whenever the goalkeeper of a rival team made a clearance
(Castillo and ‘Noel 2014). The shout was quickly adopted by other clubs
fans of the Mexican League and finally was intoned at international matches,
where it gained worldwide relevance.
I During the 20.14 FIFA World Cup, FIFA issued a warning against-the
Mexican national team and acted with a harsh penalty for “homophobic
song£’ issued by the Mexican fans. According to the FIFA Disciplinary Code
(FDC), at each international meeting;

Cojppetitioh regulations shall •foresee a’specialization (sic) official to be in the
stadium to identify potential’ acts of racism or discrimination with the aim of
easing’the pressure on referees and facilitating the availability of evidence for
judicial*bodies to tahe decisions. (FIFA 2013)

Following’the FDCs 67 article, paragraph 3,^^ early on 2016 FIFA applied
a twenty thousand Swiss francs fine to the Mexican federation related to the
shout against ‘the ‘g)aalkeeper of the Salvadoran National team at the Aztec
stadium on* 13 November 2015 (Redaccioh Animal Politico, ‘2016). A sec­
ond fine, under the same’criteria, but this time in relation to the match
between the Mexican and Hondur’ah national teams played at the Aztec
Stadium on 6’Septernber 2015, was applied (Notimex 2016).

At first, it is very important to point out that managers, players, coaches,
jdiirnalists and many of the fans have sought to’ defend in multiple ways
the ^hout and have ‘tried to minimise sanctions hnH controversy. The justi­
fications range from open homophobia, th’rough the supposed tradition of
albur, Mexican double sexist meaning jargon.

According to the Secretary General of-the Mexican Football Federation,
Guillermo Cantu, “there is a different connotation 6f the word and the
shout; in Mexico’s context and history, the translation from Spanish to
English of the word used in the shout, is very different and we want [FIFA]
to see that”.

For his part, the Mexican national team player Andres Guardado stated at
the beginning of the advertising campaign called “Ya parale!” (MiSeleccion,
n.d.), which seeks to stop the shout at the stadiums: “We are in a campaign
trying to change that hab^t, [However] I do not think;, they (the fans) do it
offensively, but it’s no longer funny when there are sanctions involved and
[FIFA] can veto the stadium” (Atayde 2016).

Former Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, after notipg that FIFA does
uot have “moral quality” to punish anyone, states bluntly: “It’s not an

522 S. Varela

homophobic scream; those who say that are fooling people, because we
(according to him, all Mexicans) do not use it that way. I can say hello to
someone saying, ‘What’s up you faggot!’ and it doesn’t’mean that it is hom­
ophobic or to point out, ‘those faggots that are there’, so we say, it is.^ collo­

quial language” (Rodriguez 2016).
The statements made by the goalkeeper of the Veracruz FC, Melitbn

Herndndez, made in an interview define with some clarity the position
(almost official) df those who participate in professional football in Mexico:

“I honestly have fun, I think fans pay for a show, they go to the stadiums for
relief, I don’t know what happens at their homes, he said. He added: Maybe
it’s not the right way because there are children, but you’re not going to con­
trol 30,000 dolls. How do you do it? Thirty thousand policemen to put a knife
in each one’s throat? They pay for having fun”. He doesn’t consider the shout
as homophobic: “No, why? Why are we so delicate if football is like that, fiin,
mischief, that’s all, I do not think it’s like that”. (Presencia Noticias 201^

For many decades, especially since the appearance of one of the foundational
texts on Mexicanness, El XM.berinto de la Soledad, by ,the poet and pssayist
Octavio Paz, the theme of what he called “forbidden words, secret, without
clear content, and by their magical ambiguity we trust the expre§^ion.ofthe
most brutal or subtle of our emotions and reactions shines brightly today

(Paz 1999,78). , /
According to Paz, the word “chingar” has a great, plurality of meanings,’

depending on the context or intonation, but at the end all are reduced .to an
aggressive, fully masculine and sexually violent content. For Paz: ,

[T] he magical power of the word is intensified by its forbidden phai;acter.
Nobody says it in public. Only an excess of anger, an emotion,or delir)ou,s
enthusiasm justifies its frank use. It |si,a voice that can only be heard ^png
men, or at great parties. When we shriek it, we bre^ a veil of shame, silence
or hypocrisy. We manifest ourselves as we really are. Bad words boil inside us,
as our feelings boil. When they leave, they do it abruptly, brutally, in the form
of a howl, a challenge, an offense. They are projectiles or knives. They’tey.

(Paz 1999, 81-82)

The case applies to the way the word “puto cohies out in public \^ith the
cry of Mexican fans. I do not subscribe to the almost essentialist hyp^thpis
of Paz over Mexicanness, but without a* doubt, his description of the Use of
“bad words” in the current Mexican context maihtai’ns cohdrence.

‘Mexico 523

T?he ’meahing of the term puto must also be . read under a key oi albur.

According to Szasz:”

fA/^i«K,consists of a rh)rthiriic play of wordrand gestures that combine humor*
‘ with ofFenscI which’.occdrs ‘mainly in spaces o£;maI’e, interaction. Mainly at

puberty, a stage in which the affirmation of masculinity constithtes .a consid- ^
erable source of anxiety. They are verbal challenges that provoke hilarity and
symbolic allusion to a sexual relationship in which one or mor? – the victors.-
penetrate and another – the loser – is penetrated (or h^rapther.jwife^or sister /
are penetrated). The offense that is established is an o&nse to the virility of
the cither, an’outrage, a humiliation, and what is at sf:ake is the involvement of

^active and passive rol^’in a sexual act figured between two or more protago-
‘nists.” (Sza*sz !zdOC), 190)

IffUriy cas6, thB cry “Eh, putd” has 5penec| ayide publii* debate in society,
the press and social networks. “Ihat: debate has’ not )^et closed and will hatdly
eh^ in the s|ibrt term. ‘
‘ ‘It should be noted that along \i’i*th‘’^this debate, the administration of
^r(?sident Enrique Pena Nieto’ ptishfed‘for 1 legislative initiative’ that would
allbyv homdsekfiaf marriages thfou^houf the country and the eventual adop­
ted‘of childfeh by such fharriages (Mdnfalvo* 20’liS).
^■flowever, cdhserVative and’ rdligioift assdciatidbs rfeacted quickly to stdp

tl^e ihiti^tivef ‘ ^ ‘ ‘

‘ Ih diSefent cities of the’kepubhp; thousands of people from various feligiods
‘orgahizatibhy tobk the s’tredts’to express their support for the traditional‘lamily
‘“model’and theff rejection 6f the initiative that proposes equal marriage, adop-
‘tion ofnfinors among-homokxual couples’and the teachirig of “Gender ideol-’
ogy” in public schools. (Corresponsales 2016)

9. ,

The slogans ‘

right-wing parties, such as the Partido Accidn Nacional, capitalised on the
homophobic bias of the Mexican population and‘severely punished the offi­
cial party, the Partido Revolucionario InStitucional,-for the initiative’of egal­
itarian marriage (Redaccidn Milenio Diario 2016). Finally, just a few days
before the final draft of this text, the-Chamber of Deputies* threw down the
presidency initiative mentioned above. (Arellano Garda 2016).

524 S. Varela

Mexican society-puts its conceptions of social, cultural and political order
in a contradictory and polarised (melodramatized) way. While the electoral
political terrain, the cultural battle for sexual diversity, has manifestations
with a certain “political correctness”, in the football field at the stadium,
these manifestations, under the veil of joke and the albur, take a raw and

open homophobia and misogyny.

5 Conclusions
It has been pointed out that football was initially consolidated in Mexico
under Anglo-Saxon influence, without a doubt. However, giving a very high
explicatory value tracking the first game, the first team or the first city that
hosted them (picturesque anecdotal data) is little relevant to understand thq,
historical process of Mexican football as a whole.

This text gave priority to the social context in which football developed;
the weight of a local elite with strong cultural and economic links with the
European and North American metropolis. It should be noted that foot­
ball was a cultural product that was in constant contradiction with tradi­
tional practices (and values) inherite4 from the colony and other sports th«
accompanied the Anglo-Saxon and Eufopean colonies in the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries. In other words, nothing augured in 189Q that
with the first games and clubs that were organised in Mexico, football would
flourish and consolidate itself as the hegemonic sport. Other sporting activ­
ities, such as baseball or cricket, may well have become the most relevant
disciplines in the decades to come. And in some sense they were: if we look
closely, boxing, cycling and baseball have had great influence on Mexican

social life in some periods.
A second break moment of great relevance that deserves more studies and

deepening is the moment in which the football was professionalised in the
forties. The business bias of the Mexican modernizer project also -caught
football up. The gradual but constant commercialization of Mexican foot­
ball was sedimenting local and regional rivalries .that interacted with the gen­
eral idea of Mexican nationality. The clubs competed inside the court but at
the same time, they established a struggle in the sentimental market of the
Mexicans (mainly males). This led to a logic of creation of collective identi­
ties that clubs managed to commercially exploit.

By the end of the fifties, Mexican television not only penetrated into
football, but took over. The proven formula of melodrama in other fields
of cultural activity (film, theatre and radio) allowed the owners of the’tele-

Mexico 525

vKi5n to set a-melodramatic parameter to the’clubs identities in-the profes-

of “puto” in the games of the> League and dn-international competitions.
Attempts to minimise the powerful homophSbid inessdge of> the scream
are overtaken by Meidcair social reality as* a whole. Whilfe iriany federatives,
pMrs, coaches- and fans have pointod dttt that the’cry‘ is’no m’ore than a
joke that isn’t intended to offend anyone (?ince‘MeXican society’is very party
like and joking, they argue), In contembofary Mexico a real cultur^ war is
going on: On the one hand, the d%/ers of homosexual manage and the
toll exercise,of sexual jireferences, and the other hand, a coiisiderable part
of the conservative k^ican society that openly despises the gay sector.
. In this’way> we can.observe that prqfes^opal footb^l allows tp. observe

with some efficiency some of the speciHc characteristics of Mexican soci­
ety, such as its marked gender, regional and intergenerational inequalities,
among others. Many more studies will have to be done about it.

1- Cornyn was the Mexico City Grammar’and High School director. He was
active member of Mexico City YYMCA, Mexico City Dramatic Club and
the Odd .Fellows-(Massey-Gilbert 1903,. 72, 73, 133, 143, 147). Cornyn
(1875-1941) was a Canadian writer, professor, translator, linguist, jour-
rfalist and sportsman. The brief references on his biography indicate that
he arrived in Mexico in 1900, bufthere ar^ recorckffiat already locate him
in’Mexico * in ,the*mid-l«90s. In the-edition of 7 June 1896, The Mexican
i*ra/^lists the name ofJ.H. Cornyn as a school teacher.

2. Porfirian .ideologues, cdled,“scientists”, identified a series of behaviours of
the popular classes that made them especially reluctant to civilised innova­
tions such as sports. See Weis (2008, 196).

sional League. The polarisation’Betweeh ChivaS“and’ArfteTifca illustrates this


526 S. Varela

3.. A Mexican fever for lacustrine* regattas exploded between 1890 and >1892^
For a detailed,explanation, sep ^chell (1993,261-262).

4. According to Gruggen and Keating, football has been practiced in
Stonyhurst sincx the middle of the eighteenth century, when the sclyjol was
still in Liege. Subsequently, throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, football in its association and rugby versions were widely devel­
oped in this‘school (Gruggen 1901, 144 and 162).

5. “Like Carlos Rincon-Gallardo, his Mexican predecessor on the IOC, he
was educated at Stonyhurst College in England having previously briefly
attended Beaumont College. Fr6‘m a land-owniiig family, he enjoyed facil­
ities for polo and tennis dt home and the palatial prope’rty latfer btecame
the residence of the Russian Ambassador. A lawyer by profession, he was
an international football player and was President of the Jvlexican polo and
football federations”'(Buchanan 2011, 63).

6. Also founded in 1916 (Parra 2006).
7. Founded in 1923 (El Universal 1999).
8. Chilango is a demonym (sometimps contemptuous) to define the born and

inhabitants of Mexico City.
^ 9. Prieto is a contemptuous word for brown skin people in Mexico.
10. Popular demonym for the people from Guadalajara, Jalisco.
11. Demonym for the people from Mexico City.
12. Improper Conduct includes violence towards persoris’or objects, letting oflF

incendiary devices, throwing missiles, displaying insulting or political slo­
gans in any form, uttering insulting words or sounds, or invading the pitch


Aceves, Rodolfo. 2012. Aficionados futboleros en Guadalajara: caracterfsticas y rep­
resen taciones de rojiblancos, rojinegros y tecolotes. In Aficidn futbolistica y riv-
alidades en el Mixico contempordneo: un0 mirada nacionak ed. Roger Magazine,
Samuel Martinez, and Sergio Varela,*89′-l 14. Mexicoi’UlA.

America FC. n.d. Club America,
Accessed 10 Oct 2016.

Arellano’Garcfa, C6sar.‘2016. Rechazo>a matrimonio igualitario, golpe a los dere-
»chos: Conapred. La Jornada, November 10, Mexico. • *>

Atayde, Minelli.‘20l6. Queremos cambiar el hdbito. La AJicion, June At http://laa-»-america-centenarid-20l6/andres-guardado-copa-ameri-
ca-centenario-eh-puto-gfito_0_749925209.html. Accessed 25’Oct*2016.

Atlante FC. n.d. “HistPria. Entra a la Liga Mayor.’
Accessed 6 Oct 2016.


Mexico 527

Ballesteros, Enrique. 2010. >jEl primer fatbolista-mexicano? YouTube, April 15-;

Beezley, William. 1983. El Estilo Porfiriano- Depbrtes y Diversiones de Fin de
“Siglo. Historia Mexicam (GOLMEX) 33 (2)s 265-284.

Bloch, March. 1982. Introduccidn a la Historia. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura

Brambila de kMora, Aureliano. 2012. El carisma marista en tierras mexicanas.
CuadernosMaristasXXJl (30): li.-

Buchanan, Ian. 2011.1he Biographies of All lOC-Members. Part Yll. Journal of
Olympic History 19(1). * ■

Buchenau, Jurgen. 2001. Small Numbers, Great Impact: Mexico and Its
Immigrants, Journal of American Ethnic History 2^ (3): 23-^9.

Castillo, Rafael, and Andrea, Noel. 2014. Mexico’ Soccer Fans Debate Use of
Controversial ‘Puto’ Chant. Vice News, June 26. https://news.vice.eom/article/
mexico-soccer-fans-debate-use-of-controversial-puto-ch’ant. Accessed 9 Oct 2016.

Cid y Mulet, Juan. 1962. El libro de oro del fiitbol mexicano. Mexico:
B. Costa-Amic.

Combeau-Mari, E. 2011. The Catholic Mission, Sport and Renewal of Elites: St
Michel de Tananarive Jesuit College (1906-1975). International Journal of the
History of Sport,2B (’12): 1647—1672.

Cornyn, John Hubert. 1896. To the Public. The Mexican Sportsman 1 (1): 1-12.
Corresponsales. 2016. Marchan en 19 estados contra matrimonio igualitario. La

Jornada, September 10.
DOF. 1945.,Diario Oficial de la Federacidn. Decreto Departamento del Distrito

Federal, January 25.
rio=191392&pagina=12&seccion=0. Accessed 7 Oct 2016.

ElMundo. 1904. De Sport. December 28.
El Universal.. 1999. Necaxa, en busca de renombre. El Universal, October 15. Accessed 15 Sept 2016.
ExciUior. 2013. Excelsior en la historia: 90 anos del Necaxa. August .20. http://

www, Accessed 11 Oct 2016.
Fabregas Puig, Andres. 2001. Lo sagrado del Rehano. El futbol como integrador de

identidades. Guadalajara, Jalisco: ELColegio de Jalisco.
FEMEXFUT. n.d. Historia. Federacidn Mexicana de Futbol Asociacion AC. http://—1 &Scc=Historia. Accessed 25
Sept 2016.

FIFA 2011. Disciplinary Code,
tion/administration/50/02/75/discoinhalte Accessed 23 Oct 2016.

FIFA. 2013. Resolution on the Fight Against Racism and Discrimination, http://
www.fifa.com7 mm/document/afsocial/anti-racism/02/08/56/92/fifa-paper-
against-racism-en-def_neutral Accessed 13 Oct 2016.



ALCS330: Futbol in Latin America. Essays: Instructions and Rubric

These Essay assignments have been developed to explore and explain your understanding of the readings. This
understanding represents consequently the level of engagement you have with the texts. There are plenty of
opportunities for you to ask questions about the materials and thus, when you do not ask any questions nor do you
have any comments, my assumption is that you have both read and grasped the concept(s) rising from the text(s).

So, you will answer the questions in a form of essay by grounding your writing on the text; meaning that you will craft
your essay-answer by textually and literally referring to the texts. So, your reply implies quoting and citating the text.
This is a requirement when constructing your answer. Indeed, the questions posted on your assignment should be
answered with a quote from the materials as the foundation of each question/essay. This methodology forcers you to
analyze the materials with an explanation that refers to what we read for class. In other words, the quote contributes
to think materials/answer as well as your understanding of the texts in general.

Simply put it, before answering your question follow these steps:
1) Read the text
2) Read the question(s)
3) Identify a quote (sentence or brief passage) from the text and write it on your answer
4) Craft your essay applying the quote and examine what it means to show your comprehension of the concepts we
discuss(ed) in class.

Technical Layout:
Letter format with margins of 1 inch by 1 inch.
You must write 4 – 5 pages using “Double Space” and “Times New Roman” or “Garamond (12)”
MLA style. Citations are required. Your reference list should be labeled as “Works Cited”.
Upload your answer on a PDF file ONLY.


Argument (1) Evidence (1) Structure (1) Technique (1)

Polished The argument is
clearly stated and is
reasonable and

The evidence
skillfully draws from
Quotations support
the argument and
sources are

The structure of the
essay, with
introduction and
conclusion, leads the
reader to be
convinced of the

It has references and
appropriate citations.

The essay reads
easily, with good
sentence structure,
and word choice.

Some room

The main argument
is identifiable,
thought it could be
more clearly stated
or is only partially

The evidence
presented supports
the argument but
there may not be
enough of it or the
sources may not be
varied enough or
clearly identified.

Parts of the essay are
well-organized, but
the body may seem
out of order, or it
may not flow

Some citations are
missing or not cited
correctly. The
reference list does
not have all sources
used in the essay.

Some sentences are
confusing, but
overall, the writing is

Needs major

The argument is
unclear, unstated, or

The evidence doesn’t
support the
argument, or doesn’t
draw from sources

The organization of
the essay is
confusing for the

Citations are unclear
and borderline
‘plagiarism’. The
reference list is

The writing has
problems that make
it hard for the reader
to follow


Ma t t h e w Br o w n a n d Gl o r i a La n c i

A Transnational Investigation of Football and Urban Heritage

in Sao Paulo, 1890 to 1930

In t r o d u c t i o n

The period 1890-1930 witnessed an unprecedented series of economic, social

and cultural changes in Sao Paulo. There was major immigration, massive

investment in urban infrastructure and consequently considerable social

transformation. All of these were linked in some way to the major British presence

in the city and in Brazil more widely. Investing and supplying specialized

workforce in the constraction of railroads, public transport and other urban

services they would pave the way for the former colonial town of Sao Paulo to

become a modem city at the dawn of the 20* century and later one of the biggest

metropolises in the world.

Coexisting in a cultural and socially different environment, and interacting with

the Sao Paulo elite, workers, industrialists, and ex-slaves as well as European

immigrants, the British also left important cultural legacies, including the

introduction of football as a sporting practice. This paper takes the history of

football and situates it within a transnational perspective, drawing out the degree

to which the modernization of urban space and the appearance of football were

connected and influenced by the British community during the period between

1890 and 1930.

One of the key questions we seek to answer as part of the larger project of

which this chapter forms part, is, whether the growth of football was a cause of or

a symptom 6f Britain’s ‘informal empire’ in Latin America. 1890-1930, the period

18 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

we look at here, is generally assumed to have been the high point of British

informal empire in Latin America, which was strongest in Brazil, Argentina and

Uruguay. 1 At the heart of this question is the contradiction at the heart of much

writing on the history of football in Latin America, of which a good example is

the celebrated work of the Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano. The author’s Elfutbol a

sol y sombra expresses some warmth towards the British ‘importers’ of football

in that book, which sits uneasily with his stark, angry denunciations of

imperialism (cultural as well as economic) in his other books and journalism. The

role of football as a consequence of informal empire might seem simple; but the

adoption of the sport in Brazil and elsewhere had many other consequences –

including those discussed in this chapter.2 In this paper we want to look further

back at the parallel and interlinked changes in sporting culture and urban

development that occurred in Sao Paulo at the end of the nineteenth century.

Sport, urban development and the British presence: all of these have been closely

linked in Latin American history, yet those links are only hazily understood by


Br a z i l a n d Br i t a i n

Brazil’s nineteenth xentury was a period »of drastic transformation. The

transition from.Portuguese colonial rule to an independent Brazilian,Empire

(1822), took-place imder.considerable British influence.’Historians of “informal

empire” such-as Manchester, Grahpm and Smith saw’British “pre-eminence” in

independent Brazil as reflecting and being a consequence .of, the critical role the

1 Matthew Brown (ed): Informal Empire in Latin America: Culture, Commerce and Capital.
Oxford 2008. j

2 Edu^do Galeano: El futbo) a sol y sombra. Montevideo 1995jL>avid Wood: Reading the
Game; The Role of Football in Peruvian Literature. In; David Wood and Louise P. Johnson
(eds.); Sporting Cultures: Hispanic Perspectives 4n Sport, Text and the Body. London 2008
p. 128-146.

A Transnational Investigation of Football 19

British had played in facilitating the Portuguese court’s transatlantic crossing in

1807. The historically friendly relations between England and Portugal in Europe

were transferred to the colony in the early nineteenth-century, and were further

accentuated when King JoSo VI settled in 1808.

When Brazil became an independent nation in 1822, Britain had already

developed a consolidated position in the coimtry’s economy, which could have

amounted to “informal empire”. The political turmoil that led to the abolition of

slavery in 1888 followed by the implementation of a Republican estate in 1889

seemed not to disturb the British business community in the country. By 1900,

Britain was still the leading foreign investor and the main supplier of Brazilian

ilnports.3 This situation started to change around the onset of the First World War

because of Anglo-German competition and the rise of North American economic

power in the region, but it was only after the Second World War that Britain

finally saw its influence in Brazil being definitively transferred to the United


In the nineteenth century the British were the principal foreign community in

Brazil, though there was substantial competition (as well as collaboration) with

rivals such us Germany, France and the United States. As Guenther has

demonstrated, “the British economic expansion into [Brazil…] was a fascinating

compendium of improvised diplomatic strategy, business gambles, and personal

dealings of greater or lesser success.’”*

The historical period in Brazil known as “Primeira Repiiblica” (First Republic)

was under the control of agrarian oligarchies from the Southeast region. The

presidency of the cormtry during the period was alternated between politicians

from Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, while the city of Rio de Janeiro remained as

^ Louise H. Guenther: The Artful Seductions of Informal Empire. In Brown: Informal
Empire, p. 208-228.

^ Louise H. Guenther: British Merchants in Nineteenth-Century Brazil: Business, Culture
and Identity in Bahia, 1808-1850. Oxford 2004, p. 169.

20 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

the capital city and centre of the government. The prosperity brought by the coffee

trade from the end of the nineteenth-century placed Sao Paulo at the centre of

economic power and the local aristocracy, called “baroes do cafe” (coffee barons)

enjoyed its heyday. The city rapidly gained the aspect of a modem-European-style

landscape and the urban infrastracture was developed out of the natural landscape.

Sa o Pa u l o i n t h e FmsT Re pu b l i c (1889-1930) a n d t h e Mo d e r n i s a t i o n

OF Ur b a n Spa c e

At the end of the nineteenth century the main capital cities in Europe were

experiencing great enthusiasm at the triumphs of capitalist society and its

marvellous technological achievements, enjoying modernity and material

progress. The urban reform of Paris between 1853 and 1869 became a touchstone

of this’phenomenon and thereby also became a model of modem urban planning

In Brazil the city of Rio de Janeiro, at that time still the capital of the country,

inaugurated a phase of extensive public urban works with the 1902’s Pereira

Passosl master plan. After that Sao Paulo and other emergent cities as Manaus,

Belem, Curitiba and Porto Alegre were also the targets of urban modernisation

plans as urban:elifes sbught to emulate Rio’s successes.

During the three”cepturies since it was founded Sao Paulo ,^iad remained a-little

town surroimded by farms and small mral properties where most of the local

populatioa lived. Sao Paulo was,founded in 1553 on.a plateau 700 metres above

the sea Teveh TKe core of the village was placed in a hill, between two rivers

(Tamandajuei and the Anhangabau) which were tributaries of Tiete, the main river

that crossed the region from eastito west; Connections \t?ith other towns in the

region and with the city of Rio de Janeiro remained extremely precarious, setting

Sao Paulo apart from the main social, economic and cultural developments in the


A Transnational Investigation of Football 21

All this changed with the coffee boom and the consfruction of the railways.

When the first railway was inaugurated in 1867, linking Sao Paulo and the port of

Santos, it brought an urban revolution to the city, opening its tiny business core

to international markets through the coffee trade. The urban landscape of Sao

Paulo remained dominated by the old colonial town which had been built on taipa

de pilao (rammed earth) until the late 1880s. The modem infrastmcture that was

subsequently built was simply “applied” on top of the old urban fabric.^

The historical period inaugurated by the end of slavery in Brazil (1888) and the

proclamation of the Republic (1889) rapidly changed these traditional urban

characteristics and soon the city was being developed under heavy European

influence and its ideas of modernity, civilisation and progress. Architects and

urban designers pursued renovation, urban expansion and “grandeur”. Antonio da

Silva Prado, the first appointed major of Sao Paulo (1899-1911), inaugurated

developments that are still today landmarks in the city, such as Pinacoteca do

Estado and Estagao da Luz. His successor Barao de Duprat (1911-1914) became

a sort of “Haussman paulistano” (a Sao Paulo Baron Haussman), inaugurating the

Teatro Municipal and supporting extensive redevelopment works in the old town

that widened roads and created new pedesfrian areafe and squares. Following the

fashion of the day, a French urban planner – Joseph Bouvard – was commissioned

to re-design the Vale do Anhangabau.

These improvements were taking place alongside and intertwined with the

consfruction of new infrastmcture, with the help of foreign investment. British

investors joined Canadian entrepreneurs to establish the Sao Paulo Tramway

Light and Power Company in 1899, which built up the transport network of

tramlines and provided energy supplies and communication services of telegraphy

and telephone. The infrastracture guided the expansion of the urban fabric in Sao

Paulo. Designers mapped out the occupation patterns of the city, defining workers’

5 Nestor Goulart Reis Filho: Sao Paulo e outras cidades: produ95o social e degradajao dos
espafos urbanos. Sao Paulo 1994.

22 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

districts and aristocrats’ districts, originating a social-spatial division that still

remains in the contemporary city.

The unequal allocation of the urban infrastmcture, the quick dividing-up and

development of rural properties around the old town, and the real estate

speculation, both in the wealthy and in the popular districts, led to a process of

pronounced social-spatial segregation. When the Santos-Jundiai railway was

inaugurated the local elite had scarcely settled in small areas of Liberdade, Luz,

Santa Efigenia, Anhangabau and Carmo neighbourhoods.® The railway line

served to define sharper boimdaries and functioned as a barrier that pushed urban

expansion westwards, where more elevated sites and milder climate were

porrelated with healthy environment – a characteristic that had gained

considerable importance in urban planning at the end of the nineteenth century. ^

The district named Campos EUseos (after Champs Elysees, the renowned avenue

in Paris) was considered the first “modem” development in the city* * and it opened

the ^ay to tlje concentration of high incomes concentration along a quite well

recognised ^is. Frpm Campos EUseos the elite later migrated to Vila Buarque,

Higietippolis and finally to Avenida Paulista, which was inaugurated in 1892.®

This Ijistprical movement of the urban elite continued in the southwesterly

directioi\,tO’\ya}fis the reg(pn of Morumbi and it .was indirectly stimulated by

British capital in partnership with the local governntent through the Sao Paulo


In 1912 ,the City.of S|o PauloTmprovemepts and Freehold Land Company Ltd.

(also known as Comparihig City) was established as a joipt initiative qf Brazilian

and British investors,that aimed to recreate iirSao ^aulo thp model of the “cidade-

j *

® Fldvio Villafa: Espapo intra-urbano no Brasil. Sao Paulo 19^8.

I Raquel Rolnik: A cidade e a lei: politica urbana e territorios na cidade de S3o Paulo. Sao
Paulo 1997.

* Richard Morse: Formapao historica de S3o Paulo: de comunidade a metropole Sao Paulo

® Villapa: Espapo intra-urbano.

A Transnational Investigation of Football 23

jardim” (garden city). The company commissioned the British architects Barry

Parker and Raymond Unwin to design Jardim America, the first garden district

development in Sao Paulo, followed by Alto da Lapa (1921), Pacaembu (1925)

and Alto de Pinheiros (1925). These developments were all connected to the

tramway system and were provided with water and energy services,^®

demonstrating the particular confluence and partnership of private and public

sectors in these urban developments.

On the other side of the Santos-Jundiai railway, beyond the floodplains of

Vdrzea do Carmo, there were flat lower lands, which were more likely to be

flooded and therefore considered as unhealthy environments. These were the

neighbourhoods of Bras, Belem and Mooca where most of the industries were

located due to the physical characteristics of the terrain and the proximity to the

railway network. These areas were chosen for the first popular low-income

developments, which later expanded along the floodplains of Tiete River in the

districts of Bom Retiro, Barra Funda

and Lapa.

The sudden population growth that occurred with the arrival of immigrants led

to an immediate high demand for housing, which was usually met by private

investors. One of the types of housing provision was the vila operdria (workers’

village), an enclosed communal housing area built to accommodate industrial

employees and their families.’ * Overseas ideas again inspired these developments,

such those from the British reformer and socialist utopian Robert Owen. Some

villages, such as Vila Maria Zelia and Vila Economizadora, were imagined as a

model of the city on a small scale with their own schools, health centres, churches

and leisure facilities. *2

*0 Roney Bacelli: Jardim America. Serie historica dos bairros de S3o Paulo. Sao Paulo 1982.

” Eva Blay: Eu n3o tenho onde morar: vilas operdrias na cidade de Sao Paulo. Sdo Paulo

*2 Vila Maria Zdlia, for instance, had a football pitch. Blay: Eu nao tenho onde morar.

24 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

The iirbanisation of Sao Paulo at the dawn of the twentieth century was defined

by areas whose identities were closely linked to categories of social class: the

general rule being that low incomes were predominant in the Eastern and Northern

sectors, along floodplains and factories, and high incomes dominated in the

southwest and far from industrial plants. During the 1920s the construction of

the first skyscrapers imposed a new pattern over this design with high densities in

the city core and the sprawl of housing districts. ‘4 By 1930 the city started to reach

a metropolitan scale with the Plano de Avenidas, which was the first master plan

for express avenues and roads crossing the urban area, originally based on designs

elaborated by Barry Parker, a British architect who also took part in the plans for

Companhia City.
Following this discussion of the historical processes of urban expansion in Sao

Paulo, in the next section we follow Richard Giulianotti, who argues that “the

social aspects of football only become meaningful when located within their

historical and cultural context.”*^ Having located our analysis within the urban

history of Sao Paulo, we now turn to the role of Britain in the origins of football

in Brazil.

Pr i t a i n a n d t h e Or i g i n s o f Fo o t pa l l i n Br a z i l

There is general acceptance across the football-playing wprld that the British

(often, mistakeply, the English) weje responsible for..(Jisseminating the.rules and

customs of the game that we now know and love. In Britain, atdeast, historians

sense that football was one benevolent consequence of informal empire. As David

Blay: Eu nao tenho onde morar.
l4jST^dia Somekh; A cidade vertical e o urbanismo modemizador: Sao Paulo 1920-1939. Sao

Paulo 1997.
15 Richard Giulianotti: Football, a Sociology of the Global Game. London 1999, p. XV.

A Transnational Investigation of Football 25

‘Goldblattifi has shown in The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football,

informal empire seems to have suited the growth of football rather more than did

formal empire, where games such as cricket and rugby flourished better. The

BraziUan case is a good example where early British attempts to play cricket were

superseded by football.
An expert on both the eeonomic history of Latin America, and the history and

business of football, Rory Miller’s synthesis of the link between football and

informal empire is this:

[F]rom the late 1860s onwards, British trade and investment in Latin America was growing

rapidly, in particular in Brazil and the countries of the southern cone (Argentina, Uruguay,

and Chile). As a consequence thousands of young British men emigrated to South American

cities to take up employment opportunities in the new railway and tramway compames and

banks, the British communities grew in size and influence, and the newcomers founded their

own networks of schools, clubs, and other institutions. Moreover, in the view of South

American elites, while the French might symbolise European culture, the British epitomised

modem business attitudes, and they were subjeqt to admiration and imitation for that reason.

Football thus spread quickly in the South American countries most subject to

British economic and cultural influence; by the second decade of the twentieth

century the infrastructure of the modem game was in place.

As Miller notes, by 1916 “the game had been ‘creolised’, taken over by the

respectable classes of South America, and then popularised, as working-class men

participated in their thousands both as players and as spectators.”

In recent years historical sociologists in Britain and Brazil have looked at the

broader social context for the growth of football in the twentieth century. Studies

16 David Goldblatt: The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football. London 2006.

17 Rory Miller: Britain and Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. London

1993, p. 3.
18 Miller: Britain and Latin America, p. 4.

26 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

of the crucial late nineteenth-century period of “take-off ’ are rather thinner on the

ground. Richard Giuliapotti has been one of the pioneers of the comparative

historical sociology of football, paying particular attention to twentieth century

manifestations of football culture in the continent, particularly Argentina. He

makes a persuasive case for the imperial roots of football in Latin America,

though as can be seen, this rests on rather more assumptions and anecdotal

reference to standard “founding fathers” than clear historical evidence. Giulianotti

argues that “South America was one of the earliest recipients of – and certainly

had the most spectacular success in – the early globalisation of football.” He

thinks that the British “helped spark South American football interest in three

ways”, first, through education (the likes of Alexander Watson Hutton in Buenos

Aires, Charles Miller in Sao Paulo, etc.), second, through investment and trade

connections (i.e. sailors, railwaymen looking for leisure activities), and thirdly

through touring sides (Corinthians, Southampton). He also takes as a given the

“intense cultural receptivity of South American peoples towards footbalf’i^ – a

phrase that cries out to be dissected and explained, especially for the late

nineteenth century.

Giulanbti talks oif “football’s global diffusion … trade connections, rather than

imperial links, were ffie mbsf propitious outlets.”20 Where formal empire was

strongest, rugby and cricket took hold because they were more rule-driven, more

formal. Where informal empire was strongest, informal games like football grew

organically. But how’did they growTWhat effect did football have on social,

economic and urban development?

Richard Giulianotti: Football, South America and Globlisation: Conceptual Paths. In: R.
Miller and L. Crolley (eds.): Futbol, Futebol, Soccer: Football in the America. London 2007, p.

20 Richard Giulianotti: Football: A Sociology of the Global Game. London 1999, p. 6-7.

A Transnational Investigation of Football 27

Th e Or i g i n s o f Fo o t b a l l i n Sa o Pa u l o

In Sao Paulo, the creation of jobs and business opportunities attracted an

unprecedented flow of immigrants. The emergent metropolis incorporated

‘differently ways of life: the numerous Europeans coming mainly from Portugal,

Spain, Italy and Germany were followed by Japanese, Syrians, Lebanese and

.Turkish, creating a peculiar local workforce mainly employed in manufacturing

and small retail businesses.

The foreign cla^s of urban workers shared the same challenges of surviving in

a strange, severely industrialized and, in a certain way, anarchic environment.

They looked for social integration and also entertainment amid the melting pot of

languages and cultures which they created.

Public spaces and outdoor activities made an important contribution in

connecting this new cosmopolitan society. The introduction of so-called “modem

football” by British immigrants is popularly believed-to have played a significant

role in bringing different cultures together, includ&ig the many other European

immigrants (especially Italians) who arrived in Sao Paulo at the end of nineteenth

century. The sport thrived in the context of an emergent multi-fethnic society and

later became a trademark of Brazilian cultural identity.

The so-called “founder” of football in Brazil, Charles Miller, was an

Englishman bom in Sao Paulo. He was an employee of the Sao Paulo Railway

and member of the exclusive Sao Paulo Athletic Club who, in 1895, organised the

first ‘‘official” game imder the mles of the English Football Association, recraiting

players from the British conlmrmity.

Football quickly became very popular across social classes and nationalities

and it is believed to have played a significant role as an arena for inter-compiunity

interaction by bringing different cultures together, including other European

immigrants (especially Italians) who arrived in large waves in Sao Paulo during

the years of mass immigration to Brazil (1880-1910). The proliferation of grounds

28 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

and club associations followed the fast pace of urban expansion. The coverage

that football received from the media in the early 1900s reveals how this sport

was incorporated into the local culture, playing an important role in connecting

the emergent cosmopolitan society.

Urban development and football were also coimected via the proeesses of

social-spatial’segregation that emerged in the late 19* century. The practice of

foptball reflected, this division into two different groups: one formed by an

exclusive entourage of the middle-class and wealthy people who cultivated the

sport in clubs and associations; the other formed by the industrial working class,

poor black peoplp and impoverished immigrants who played football on

improvised pitches aroimd the city.

The first groups had Europe as a cultural model for the arts, entertainments and

also for sports. Football was introduced in the country as a practice for physical

training hnd-socialisation, alongside cricket, cycling, rowing, fencing and horse

racing. These sports were part of the new urban experience in Sao Paulo and many

places* w.ere designed and built specifically for its purposes.^i The magazine O

5port,’jfounded ip 1898, was the first publication to be exclusively dedicated to

spprts and ofrers folloyied it such as Cigarra Esportiva and Sportsman: they give

an account how football became popular through the proliferation of clubs and

spofrs asspci9fions.?2

The “Sao Ppula ,elite created its own exclusive clubs for sports practice y/hich

were accessed, only through membership; the main venues were Club Corridas

Paulistano (later called Jockey Club„ which-was founded in 1875 at Mooca

hippodrome). Club Athletico Paulistano’^^ (founded in-19Q0),*y4Mfo/ndve/ Clube

.* ‘ I

21 Jose Geraldo Vinci de Mordes:”*Ci3ade erfcultura ulJrbana na Primeira Republica. Sao
Paulo 1994.

22 Ana Luiza Martins: Revistas em revista: imprensa e praticas culturais nos tempos de
Republica’(1890-1922). Sao Paulo 2008.

23 Washington Luis, mayor of Sao Paulo bety^een 1914-1919, took part in the inauguratioil
of the swimming pool at CAP. After leaving the city council he became governor of S3o Paulo

A Transnational Investigation of Football 29

(founded in 1890 having its headquarters at Martinico palace) and Velodromo da

Consolagao (inaugurated in 1892 for cycling and in 1901 for football

competitions). The wealthy classes of foreigners were steadily incorporated

through friendship, business and family ties as they married key figures in the

local elite.24
Although football appeared almost simultaneously in various Brazilian cities it

was in Sao Paulo that the practice took a regular and organised shape .25 The first

match played in accordance with the rales of the English Football Association

happened in 1895 at the place that is now considered the first football “stadium”

in the country — the Velodromo da Consolagao (which was indeed designed to be

a velodrome) – and in 1900 the city hosted the first Brazilian championship.2«

Moreover, the so-called “father” of the game in Brazil, Charles Miller, was bom

in the city.
Miller was the son of a Scottish engineer and a Brazilian woman of English

heritage. At the age of nine he was sent to be educated in Hampshire, from where

he returned with football rales established by the Football Association, a ball and

enthusiasm for the game. Charles Miller was bom in Bras, a typical industrial Sao

Paulo neighbourhood, not far away from the train station. On his return from

England in 1894 Charles Miller recruited players among members of the Sao

Paulo Athletic Club, founded by the English community in 1888, and employees

of the Sao Paulo Railway, where he worked, the Gas Company and the London


state (1920-1924) and president of Brazil (1926-1930), being ‘deposto’ at the 1930’s
Constitutional Revolution.

24 Morse: Formafao histdrica de S2o Paulo.
25 Gilmar Mascarenhas: Varzeas, operarios e futebol: uma outra geografia. In: GEOgraphia

Vol. 4, No. 8(2002), p.84-92.
26 Thomaz Mazzoni: Histdria do futebol no Brasil. Sao Paulo 1950.

27 Mascarenhas: Varzeas, operarios e futebol.

30 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

The first football match to be played under the official rules brought and

organised by Charles Miller took place at Vdrzea do Carmo in 1895. The Eastern

border of the city centre and the industrial zone along the Santos-Jundiai railway

line limited this large floodplain of the Tamanduatei River. At the time of this

historical first game the area was beginning to be developed, crossed by only two

roads connecting both sides of the city.

From this initial point the football pitches were spread around the city, near to

factories and along railway lines where flat wasteland was abundant.28 The futebol

de vdrzea (football played in the floodplains) became a very popular recreation

among the working class and amateur football associations came to thrive in the

city in the first decades of the twentieth century. The main areas which were

turned into impromptu occasional football grounds were located along the

Tamanduatei River, in the districts of Carmo, Glicerio, Ipiranga and Vila

Prudente, and the Tiete River, including the districts of Vila Maria, Barra Funda

and Lapa.

However it would take some years until these amateur associations could

establish their own teams and participate in official tournaments; the exclusive

elite’s teams dominated the first years of football playing in the city. The first club

founded by the working classes, and which was not related to the local elite or

enriched iifimigrants, was -the Ypiranga,. in 1906.’ Later came Corinthians,

founded in 1910,, and Palestra-Itdlia (now Palmeiras) founded by Italian

immigrants in 1914.

The elite’s preferred football club was based in Club Athletico Paulistano,

which was joined by the djsocMfdodr/edcaPct/OTeiraj in 1902,29 a team bringing

together players from well-off families. Training sessions took place in a field at

FStima Martin Rodrigues Ferreira Antunes: Do velddromo ao Pacaembu; o movimento
esportivo em ‘Sao Paulo e a traj’etdria do futebol, de esporte de elite a paix3o nacional. In:
Revista do Departamento de Patrimonio Historico, No. 5 January (1998), p. 88-95.

29 The AAP has no relation with the Palmeiras football club, created in 1914 (as Palestra

A Transnational Investigation of Football 31

AVenida Angelica, located in Higiendpolis, a wealthy southwest district of Sao

Paulo. However the pioneer football team was Sao Paulo Athletic Club, founded

by the British community in 1888. Other foreign immigrants created their own

clubs as Germania, foimded by the German commimity in 1899, the Sport Club

‘International, a congregation of Brazilians, Germans, French, Portuguese and

British enthusiasts, founded in 1899, and the Mackenzie College football club

foimded exclusively by Brazilian players in 1898. All these teams were extinct by

1930 and the only survivors of this phase of “elitist” football – the Associafao

Atldtica Palmeiras and Club Athldtico Paulistano – created the Sao Paulo da


The main venue for organised football tournaments in this period was the

Consolagao, property of Veridiana Prado and her wealthy family.^o Veridiana

lived in the elegant district of Higiendpolis in a house designed by a French

architect and used to spend long periods in Europe. The velodrome was

commissioned to an Italian architect in 188621 and it was inaugurated in 1892 for

cycling races. In 1895 it became the firsf football “stadium” in Brazil holding a

football match organized by Charles Miller and the associates of Sao Paulo

Athletic Club, which had their headquarters just beside the velodrome.22

The initial stands had a capacity for 800 people, soon increased to 2,000

people.23 The velodrome also hosted the first official championship game of

football; the first inter-state game and the first international game in Brazil: a

combined team of “paulistas” (natives of Sao Paulo state) players against South

Afnca. In 1915 the velodrome was demolished to create space for a new road and

the Club Athletico Paulistano remained without a ground for some time until a

new one was built at Jardim America in 1917.

29 Reis Filho: Sao Paulo e outras cidades.

21 Ibid.

22 Ibid.

22 Ibid.

32 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

Another traditional venue was located in Parque Antdrtica, an enterprise of the

Companhia Antdrtica Paulista, a brewing company established in 1888 in the

district of Agua Branca, in SSo Paulo. Next to the factory the company created a

social club for its employees and a vast recreational park with many areas

dedicated for the practice of sports, including a football field.34 xhe company was

a mixed enterprise between a German and a Brazilian so the “Germania”, a club

with German origins, was the first tenant of this field playing there for almost the

entire first decade of the twentieth-century. In 1902 the first Campeonato Paulista

de Futebol, a competition organized by Charles Miller, was inaugurated in Parque

Antdrtica with the game between Germania and Mackenzie.^s During the First

World War the field was mostly used by America football team and only from

1917 onwards by the Palestra ItMia (later Palmeiras). Three years later the club

bought the whole property converting the Parque Antdrtica into its permanent


Other places used for training were Chdcara Dulley, Campo do Lenheiro and

Chdcara Floresta. These places were all located in Bom Retiro, a district north of

the city centre. Chdcara Dulley, a cottage farm belonging to an American, Charles

Dulley, was the training field for the S§Lo Paulo Athletiq Club.36 Campo do

Lenheirp (Pojtuguesp for Wood Seller’s Field) was an improvised field used as a

training pitch by one, of the most traditional teams in Sao Paulo, the Corinthians

Footballs ^lub, fortncled in 1910. Chdcara da Floresta was located in Ponte

Grande next to t)ie TietS River and was used by As^ocia9ao Atletica Palmeiras

35 Aidan Hamilton: An entirely different game: the British influence in Brazilian football.

Edinburgh 1998.
36 Ibid.

A Transnational Investigation of Football 33

and Paulistano.37 This location was also used for the final games of the Paulista

Championship in 1917,1920,1922 and 1928.3®

Table 1: Places andfootball clubs in Sao Paulo between 1890 and 1930^^

Football Clubs

Year of

foundation –



First phase – the elite’s football

Sao Paulo Athletic Club




(1895 – 1930)

Mackenzie College 1898-1923


Sport Club Germania 1899-1930




Sport Club



(1899- 1930)

Club Athletico


Chacara da


(1900- 1930)






37 Rene Duarte Gonsalves Junior: Friedenreich e a reinvenfSo de Sao Paulo: o futebol e a
vitoria na funda^ao da metropole. DissertafSo de Mestrado. Sao Paulo, 2008.

3® Valmir Storti and Andre Fontenelle apud Gonsalves Junior: Friedenreich e a reinvenfSo
de Sao Paulo.

39 Jose Sebastiao Witter: Os esportes na cidade de Sao Paulo. In: Paula Porta (ed.). Historia
da cidade de S3o Paulo – A cidade no Imperio 1823-1889. SSo Paulo 2005, v. 2, p. 595. Valmir
Storti and Andr6 Fontenelle: A Historia do Campeonato Paulista: 1902-1996. SSo Paulo 1997.
historia-do-spfc/genealogia/;;; (Accessed
January 2013).

34 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

Associafao Atletica


Chacara da

(1902- 1930)

Second phase – the popular football

Clube Atletico


Parque do



Sport Club Corinthians


Campo do



Ponte Grande



Parque Sao




Palestra Italia

(now Soc. Esportiva


1914 – present





Associafao Portuguesa

de Desportos
1920 – present

Campo do



Sao Bento /





Crespi Football Club

(now Clube Atletico



Rua Javari

(1925 –


Sao Paulo’da Floresta®

(now Sao Patilo Futebol



Chacara da


Caninde /


(1935 –





Sao Paulo da Floresta was the first denomination of the reunion of Club AthMtico

Paulistano and Associa9ao’Atletica Palmeiras and it lasted until 1935; when the club was “re

funded” as Sao Paulo Futebol Clulje.

A Trbnsnational Investigation of Football 35

Map 1: Places of football in Sao Paulo from 1890’’

1 Varzea do Carmo

2 Chacara Dulley

3 Chdcara da Floresta

4 Mackenzie College

5 Velodromo da Consolafao

6 Parque Antartica

.7 Campo do Lenheiro

8 Jardim America

9 Ponte Grande

10 Campo do Cambuci

11 Rua Javari

12 Parque Sao Jorge

13 Parque do Sacoman

14 Pacaembu

15 Caninde

16 Morumbi

*> Map developed by Gloria Land, 2013. Source for the base map: Mapa Digital da Cidade,

Prefeitura do Municipio de S5o Paulo, 2012.

36 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

Co nc l usio ns

Many studies of football in Latin America in the Anglophone world assume

that there was an informal empire, and that football was a function of



American writing on football, in contrast, often adopts a bottom-up, organic view

of the subject, stressing the importance of local actors and local contexts to the

growth of the sport.

In this chapter we have attempted to combine a transnational perspective with

a local subject in order to answer questions relating to urban growth, the British

presence and the origins of football. David Wood has remarked that the

development of sport in the late nineteenth-century is characterised by a

relationship between Europe and Latin America characterised by “mutual


Our study presented here backs up calls made by J.A. Mangan,’*’ himself

following Joseph Arbena,’*2 in suggesting that “it would be both fascinating and

valuable to locate and discuss these foreigners and locals more fully than has been

done.” We echo these calls for detail. Who designed the first layouts of pitches

and stadiums? Why did they choose these locations? Who were the British players

and eoaches, the school-teachers, the locals who had travelled? Can we build a

precise map of the British teams that toured? Who were the signatories to the first

documents establishing clubs? Can we build a repository of all these documents?

‘*0 David Wood: Reading the Game: The Role of Football in Peruvian Literature. In: David
Wood and Louise Johnson (eds.): Sporting Cultures: Hispanic Perspectives in Sport, Text and
the Body. London 2008, p. 128-146.

James A. Mangan: The Early Evolution of Modem Sport in Latin America: A Mainly
English Middle-Class Inspiration. In: James A. Mangan and Lamartine P. Da Costa (eds.): Sport
in Latin American Society: Past and Present. London: 2002.

“*2 Joseph Arbena: Nationalism-and Sport in Latin America, 1850-1990: The Paradox of
Promoting and Reforming ‘European’ Sports. In: James A. Mangan (ed.): Tribal Identities:
Nationalism, Europe and Sport London 1995.

A’Transnational Investigation of Football 37

Whht were the players’ personal, economic and social networks outside the


This subject is crying out for databases of the individuals involved, detailing

their’ personal relationships, their business links, who they owed money to,

borrowed from, where they lived, where they worked – and who they played with.

Only then will we be able to get to the bottom of the links between football, other

sports, financial investment and social and urban transformation in Brazil and

elsewhere in Latin America.

Football is essentially an urban sport. In Brazil it first flourished in Rio de

Janeiro and in Sao Paulo, the two cities that dominated the politics and the

economy of the coimtry for the whole twentieth century. Sao Paulo witnessed the

dvalanche of poUtical and social transformations that would follow the abolition

of slavery and the beginnings of the republican regime. More than any other city

in Brazil it experienced a technological revolution that imposed upon its

inhabitants a profound change in lifestyle. Sport was part of this neW society and

it was in tandem with the ideologies of progress and development that

impregnated the urban mindset.’*^

The history of football in Sao Paulo has direct connections with the urban

development in the city, as we have indicated in this paper. This process was

characterised by intense industrialisation, establishment of new institutions and

rupture with the rural aristocracy. It can be argued that this process of

modernisation is part of the expansion of ideas generated elsewhere in countries

like France and England, which had a great influence in the formation of the urban

elite in SSo Paulo. The redesign of the city erased the colonial village and its

countryside surroundings at once; and football became by far and away the most

popular sport in this new configuration.

‘*2 Nicolau Sevcenko: Orfeu extitico na metr6pole: Sao Paulo, sociedade e cultura nos
frementes anos 20. S3o Paulo 1992.

38 Matthew Brown and Gloria Land

Such sudden changes were occurred nearly without any transitional stages.

Modem European projects were adopted in Sao Paulo intermediated by the vision

of the elite and of the foreign entrepreneurs. Town planning in Sao Paulo was not

used to try to solve social housing problems caused by immigration. Rather, urban

planning because a simple tool to modernize parts of the city, which fitted the

purposes of accumulation of capital and of economic progress by the exploration

of urban land as commodity. 44

A similar process occurred related to sports practice in Sao Paulo, which was

often introduced through the dominant classes because of support for the idea of

sports as a disciplinary institution that combined with (in their vision) the new

social modem order. Rationalization through mles of play, the organization of

sporting clubs, the idea of physical activity as a complement to work and of

“dignifying” man, all presented elements that could be related to the “civilizing

process”45 that was so important at the time. These elements were also directly

“imported” by the local elite through their ties with the British. In the first years

of its practice, football was primarily an amateur entertaining activity with a

significant role in asserting social distinctions, by means of exclusive clubs and

teams limited to a restricted membership.

The very same “civilizing process” stretched out* into the factories as

industrialists itjcoiporated another foreign concept, the ‘Vila .pperarp”, with its

own clpbs and leisure areas. Whilst they >vere part of the dominant„patemalistic

ideology of attempting, to – organize the masses,, prpmotp -“civility” and of

educating them jn apprppriate .behaviopij, the ‘Vilas opprarias” also had an

important role in the popularization of the football, j

JVorking class districts were established ,in parallel with the displacement of

the elites from the old town of Sao Paulo, whichTeft behind its sportpig legacy.

44 Rolnik: A cidade e a lei; Somekh: A cidade vertical.

45 Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning: A busca da excitaeao. Lisboa 1992.

A Transnational Investigation of Football 39

football included. Into this space, as the twentieth centmy progressed, came the

organization of popular teams of football. These teams appropriate the urban

spaces vacated by migrating elite sportsmen, and made them their own. New

popular teams incorporated manufacturing workers, black men, mulattos, and

poor whites, and launched the roots of professionalism, which finally made

possible the development of football as the “sport of the crowds” by the second

half of the century. The role of mban space in shaping and facilitating these

changes was particularly significant, and we have only just begun to imderstand


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