Steph Houghton of England in action during a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in May 2014. Photo: Getty
Why is men’s football the default “proper” sport, while the women’s game is merely a pale imitation?
By Martin Cloake - 19 June 12:07

Everything a women’s football team does is taken to represent the “quality” of the sport as a whole, while male players are allowed to be judged as individuals. We have to put an end to this sexism.

Smile! Despite being booed, the World Cup has gone well for Dilma Rousseff so far. Photo: Getty
Dilma Rousseff was booed but the riots haven’t started – and most people are enjoying the football
By Jonathan Wilson - 19 June 11:43

 A successful World Cup could create a mood of general contentment that might yet carry Rousseff to an election victory later this year.

These women like football. But it's OK if you don't. Photo: Getty
Women! If you don't like football, it's OK to say so
By Glosswitch - 18 June 15:15

Back in the 1990s, I used to pretend I liked football. Now I realise I had been taken in by the Football Mystique.

A fan on the Isle of Wight watches the England v Italy World Cup match. Photo: Getty
“I want to believe”: Russell Brand on England at the World Cup
By Russell Brand - 16 June 14:21

The world isn’t made of atoms, it’s made of stories. The World Cup is an arena in which narratives are fulfilled. Heroes, villains, scapegoats, underdogs, triumphs, near-misses and tragedies, all are played out on a global stage, a pagan drama in a secular age.

Raheem Sterling put in a good performance. Photo: Getty
England's impressive start to the World Cup: can they make it through the group of death?
By Jon Holmes - 15 June 13:48

Italy's star players prevailed, but Roy Hodgson's young team made a splash in their first game.

Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard in action for Manchester City in January 2012. Photo: Getty
A prayer for the goalies and referees of the World Cup
By Laurent Dubois - 13 June 15:39

Let’s take a minute to remember the perennial villains of the game.

Luis Suarez and the Uraguay team train in Brazil ahead of the World Cup. Photo: Getty
My World Cup training is not going well but I am perked up by Uruguay’s most charming fan
By Hunter Davies - 13 June 11:48

In Sheffield, 96-year-old Tanya Schmoller will be cheering on Uruguay. After all, she attended the first ever World Cup finals, held in Uruguay in 1930.

Italy celebrate winning the World Cup in Berlin, July 2006. Photo: Getty
The last World Cup: after Brazil 2014, is the tournament finished?
By Jason Cowley - 13 June 10:00

Football is a supreme instrument of soft power and can unite people as little else can. But allegations of Fifa corruption have tarnished the image of the beautiful game. Can anything be done to save it?

A technician at the British Cricket Balls company tests balls in a wind tunnel, 1981. Photo: Getty
If you want to imagine England under Ukip, think back to cricket in the 1980s
By Ed Smith - 12 June 10:00

Back then when critics pointed out that England had been overtaken by hungrier and more progressive teams, a stock reply was ready: “But we’re English and we’ve always done it this way.”

Poland's Kamil Majchrzak serves against US player Noah Rubin at Wimbledon 2014. Photo: Getty
Ballet on Centre Court: how modern tennis fuses strength and grace
By Ed Smith - 12 June 10:00

Tennis has not become ugly. It has got more beautiful. Professionalisation did not ruin its balletic strand; it deepened it. The ultimate athletes turned out to be lighter, leaner and more mobile.

The 1982 Brazil World Cup side in action against Argentina. Photo: Getty
Why football loves beautiful losers
By Oliver Farry - 11 June 14:19

Sport’s love affair with the myth of thwarted victory.

England captain Charlotte Edwards poses with the Women's Ashes trophy in Australia in February. Photo: Getty
Why is the media still erasing women’s achievement in sport?
By Carrie Dunn - 10 June 15:15

Within sport, women athletes are finally gaining the professional recognition they deserve. Yet the media continues to assume that “the England team” is shorthand for “the men’s team”.  

Monster's ball: part of a float satirising Fifa for the Mainz Carnival in Germany, 3 March. Photo: Getty
Why Fifa is football’s dirtiest player
By Jon Holmes - 06 June 11:00

Last month’s rush to exonerate the Premier League’s CEO, Richard Scudamore, who had been accused of sexism, was just another example of the game’s eagerness to sweep dirty linen under the carpet.

FA chairman Greg Dyke poses with the executive's controversial report on the future of the England national team, which has angered Football League clubs. Photo: Getty Images
Football League clubs are in open revolt against the B team plans of the executives who represent them
By Martin Cloake - 06 June 10:53

The continued endorsement of Premier League B teams being given access to Football League competitions has led to an open rebellion by teams and their owners against the executives who are supposed to represent their interests.

People wave the Portuguese flag during a protest against government's austerity policies in 2012. Photo: Getty
Why I’ll be cheering for Portugal, not Brazil, in the World Cup
By Oliver Farry - 04 June 15:08

Brazil tends to eclipse the very land whose colonial undertakings shaped it and gave birth to it – Portugal.

Going to the dogs: down to the wire at Wimbledon
By India Bourke - 29 May 11:18

Wimbledon Stadium is the last of the 33 dog-racing tracks in London. Now that the owners want to sell, the institution that is the English Greyhound Derby may be about to  leave the capital for good.

Calling urbane, European managers such as André Villas-Boas "the gaffer" verges on surreal. Photo: Getty
Back to mine: why we still talk about footballers in the language of the pit
By Ed Smith - 29 May 10:00

They may earn millions and drive Maseratis but today’s footballers are still described using old working-class terminology. It’s the last link with the game’s roots. 

Football stand. Photo: Getty
Punk football: how the rise of fan ownership could save the sport
By Martin Cloake - 28 May 10:58

A new book charting and questioning the rise of football's supporter governance movement predicts a bright future for fan ownership of football clubs.

Richard Scudamore addressing the press at The London Nautical School on October 23, 2013 in London. Photo: Getty Images
Scudamore's sexist emails reveal the Premier League to be an unaccountable institution
By Martin Cloake - 23 May 13:39

If asking why there is one rule for the person who runs the richest league in the world and can control access to its key figures and another for the chief executive of a fans’ organisation counts as grinding an axe, we’re in deep trouble.

American Samoa footballers Nicky Salapu and Jaiyah Saelua with their coach Thomas Rongen. Photo: Getty
Next Goal Wins: a football film with a vital message about overcoming transphobia in sport
By Eleanor Margolis - 20 May 10:15

A new documentary about the American Samoa football team (who hold the world record for the biggest international defeat – 31-0 to Australia in 2001) gives hope that professional sport won’t always be prejudiced against those who are different.

Footballers on a Brazilian beach.
Golazo! by Andreas Campomar and Futebol Nation by David Goldblatt: the football myth behind Brazil's World Cup
By Jonathan Wilson - 15 May 16:00

The Brazilians have won five World Cups, more than anybody else. So why was there rioting last summer when teams arrived for a warm-up? Brazil's relationship with football has never been an easy romance.

Wayne Rooney. Photo: Getty
It’s hard to remember a time when Rooney hasn’t been injured
By Hunter Davies - 15 May 11:47

I hardly slept for weeks during the run-up to the last two World Cups, terrified he wouldn’t make it.

Personal bubble: professional society isolates us by career. Photo: Getty
It’s good to stray from your professional bubble – you might learn something surprising
By Ed Smith - 15 May 10:00

In three recent meetings with people who work in entirely different fields, I felt instantly at home, even though the territory was often unfamiliar to me.

FA chairman Greg Dyke launches the latest report on grassroots football on 8 May at Wembley. Photo: Getty Images
The FA’s report proves that money and power are the fundamental problem with English football
By Martin Cloake - 09 May 15:57

The FA has ignored the concerns of fans and lower league clubs in favour of the interests of the wealthiest soccer interest – once again showing it’s mostly concerned about serving the already-powerful. 

White Hart Lane is going to close for refurbishment. Photo: Getty
The season after next, Spurs will go a-wandering
By Hunter Davies - 07 May 12:06

Where will the fans park then?

Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge for the second leg of the quarter final against Paris Saint-Germain, 8 April. Photo: Getty
David Baddiel: I can’t win when even a bain-marie gag lands me in hot water on Twitter
By David Baddiel - 30 April 10:00

The novelist and comedian on anti-Semitism in football, a night out in Pocklington and plans for his 50th.

Usual fare: queues at a pie and mash shop at Upton Park. Photo: Getty
The tasteful food van made me ponder – have football fans gone soft?
By Hunter Davies - 30 April 10:00

Once Wigan scored, though, it was a different story: the affable familes were suddenly full of hate and fury.

David Moyes during a League Cup match with Sunderland. Photo: Getty
David Moyes, Manchester United, and the nightmare dream job
By Phil Hartup - 22 April 16:40

Of all the managers who have been sacked this season in the premier league, David Moyes can have perhaps the fewest complaints.

Seeing red: a plane towing a banner flies over Old Trafford. The former Man United manager was sacked on 22 April. Photo: Getty
“Wrong One – Moyes Out” read the plane’s banner
By Hunter Davies - 22 April 10:59

Football fans have always had a keen sense of the ridiculous. 

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