Who are we? My club? My people? My state? The dilemma of the Arab soccer fan in Israel

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11 Scopus citations


This paper deals with the problematic identity of the Arab male fans of Bnei Sakhnin F.C., which is an Arab soccer club in the city of Sakhnin, Israel. Seemingly, the Bnei Sakhnin F.C. male fan identifies with his club for the same reasons as every other football fan in Israel. However, as an Arab and minority in a state that is in continuous strife with his people - the Palestinians - his fandom and hence his identity as a fan is inevitably affected. The Arab fan of Bnei Sakhnin cannot rest his identity on the club alone. The Arabs' status in Israel, which is imported to the football stadium, stems from identity being heavily connected to ethnicity/nationality. In essential ways, the Arab male fan cannot separate his identity with the club from his ethnicity/nationality. He is foremost an Arab and then a football fan. Consequently, the football league becomes a constant dilemma of identification by posing the question of "Who are we?"

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-189
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Arabs
  • Israel
  • collective
  • identity
  • soccer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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