'Best Run Club in the World': Manchester City Fans and the Legitimation of Sportswashing?

KEARNS, Colm, SINCLAIR, Gary, BLACK, Jack, DOIDGE, Mark, FLETCHER, Thomas, KILVINGTON, Daniel, LISTON, Katie, LYNN, Theo and SANTOS, Guto Leoni (2023). 'Best Run Club in the World': Manchester City Fans and the Legitimation of Sportswashing? International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

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Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/101269022...
Open Access URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/1012... (Published)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1177/10126902231210784


The term sportswashing has been discussed and analysed within academic circles, as well as the mainstream media. However, the majority of existing research has focused on one-off event-based sportswashing strategies (such as autocratic states hosting major international sports events) rather than longer term investment-based strategies (such as state actors purchasing sports clubs and teams). Furthermore, little has been written about the impact of this latter strategy on the existing fanbase of the purchased team and on their relationship with sportswashing and the discourses surrounding it. This paper addresses this lacuna through analysis of a popular Manchester City online fan forum, which illustrates the manner in which this community of dedicated City fans have legitimated the actions of the club’s ownership regime, the Abu Dhabi United Group – a private equity group operated by Abu Dhabi royalty and UAE politicians. The discursive strategies of the City fans are discussed, in addition to the wider significance of these strategies on the issue of sportswashing and its coverage by the media.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Centre for Sport and Exercise Science; Sport Industry Research Centre; Sociology, Politics and Policy Research Group; Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute; Department of Sport; Department of Media Arts and Communication; Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics; 1504 Commercial Services; 1608 Sociology; 2002 Cultural Studies; Sport, Leisure & Tourism; 4207 Sports science and exercise; 4410 Sociology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/10126902231210784
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2023 14:39
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 16:15
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/32620

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