Football has always reflected the culture of its time. And as society evolves, so does football.
Football can be a progressive force for good. More than a game, more than a sport, for billions of people football is part of the fabric of our everyday life.
Despite the colourful nature of the comment, the great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly’s sentiment remains true: “some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
Traditionally, the world of football has served as a forum for community and national expression. Bearing a significance extending far beyond the pitch, football provides players and fans with much more than a venue for athletic competition—it serves as a vehicle to strengthen identities and foster goodwill with other social actors.
Football is a sport. But it is also has global commercial impact. Football is entertainment. It competes for disposable income against disparate forms of leisure and entertainment activities. And, in a very real sense, the competition is not just basketball or Formula 1, it is also the electronic leisure industry.
But more than a sport, more than a business, football can be more than just a reflection of society. As such, football has a choice: it can be a leader and shape change, or it can be a follower and be shaped by change.