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Christianity and association football

There has been a long history of the involvement of Christianity and association football. In 16th-century England, Puritan Christians opposed the contemporary forms of football, due to its violence and its practice on Sunday, the Sabbath day of rest. However from the 19th century, Christians espousing the movement of "Muscular Christianity" encouraged the game for its physical and social benefits. Several of Englands leading clubs, including Everton, Manchester City and Southampton, were founded by churches, was Celtic in Scotland. There have also been leagues set up specifically for Christian clubs outside of the normal national league pyramid. Several footballers have pledged themselves to become Christian monks, preachers and clergymen in their retirement.


Football Lads Alliance

The Football Lads Alliance is a right-wing movement in the United Kingdom founded by John Meighan in 2017. According to The Times, "the movement was set up as a self-proclaimed anti-extremist movement" but has increasingly become associated with far-right politics and far-right activists. The Premier League has warned clubs that "the group is using fans and stadiums to push an anti-Muslim agenda". Concern has also been expressed that the Alliance is "giving cover to the far right" and "uses a secret Facebook page full of violent, racist and misogynistic posts".


Homosexuality in association football

Homophobia has been widespread in association football, also known as soccer, throughout the world. Journalist Matt Williams stated that being a gay professional player in football is still a taboo, which journalist Simon Barnes has said will never change. In February 2013, football magazine When Saturday Comes described homosexuality as a "continuing taboo" in the sport. John Amaechi, the first NBA player to come out, has blamed footballs "toxic" culture for the lack of openly gay players, while Clarke Carlisle has called for more education to be given to players to combat homophobia.


International Gay and Lesbian Football Association

The International Gay and Lesbian Football Association is an international organization which was founded in 1992 with the intention of promoting Association Football in the gay and lesbian community and to promote gay and lesbian football to the world at large. The IGLFA is the governing body of LGBT football and regulates the association football portion of the Gay Games, World Outgames and various other tournaments around the globe.


Islam in association football

Some association football players are Muslims, and their clubs have adapted to their principles. In July 2013, BBC journalist Rob Cowling remarked that Muslim players were changing the culture of English football. The Islamic observance of Ramadan, affects the ability of players to train and play, while some players have refused to wear football shirts sponsored by gambling and finance companies, as gambling and charging interest are forbidden in Islam. Some Muslim players have been subjected to racist abuse in the sport, and clubs which sign Muslim players have also been targeted.


Racism in association football

Racism in association football is the abuse of players, officials, and fans because of their skin colour, nationality, or ethnicity. Some may also be targeted because of their association with an opposing team. However, there have been instances of individuals being targeted by their own fans. Racism in association football has been most studied in the European Union and Russia, although racist incidents have been reported abroad. In response to racist incidents at association football matches, in May 2013, FIFA, the international governing body of association football, announced new measures to deal with racism in the sport.

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