Race to the Bottom Podcast
Brought to you by Joe Harman, Race to the Bottom is the football podcast that discusses the crucial, wider issues affecting football, bridging the gap between the game we love and the world we live in. Each month the podcast will focus on topics of race, politics, governance, finance, gender, arts and ethics, in the hope of raising awareness of
Disinformation in football: A talk with Marc Owen Jones on; social media, astro-turfing and sock puppets.
This weeks interview features Marc Owen Jones, Assistant Professor for Middle Eastern Studies at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar. Mark's specialises in the field of social media disinformation He spoke with @ginolasleftfoot about its growing presence in football's ever complex landscape. Mark breaks down the evolution of social media disinformation and how it is being weaponized to distort narratives in the world of football. Further reading of Mark's work can be found here. As always, you can follow and subscribe to Race to the Bottom Podcast here.
The take over of Newcastle Utd by the state wealth fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia is imminent. It casts a tremendous shadow over the morality of football. Many human rights organisations have spoken out against the proposed purchased of the historical North Eastern football club. Amnesty International, Fairsquare and Human Rights Foundation are among several bodies to have issued statements to the EPL's CEO Richard Masters, in hope of preventing the takeover going through. Miguel Delaney, Chief Football Writer of The Independent, spoke with @RTTBPodcast about the issues regarding the takeover. You can follow via @RTTBPodcast and subscribe here.
Facial Recognition Tech. An interview with Amanda Jacks of Football Supporters’ Trust on privacy and policing.
This week I spoke with Amanda Jacks of @FSA_Faircop . We discuss the recent report that facial recognition technology was used in conjunction with traditional policing methods during the recent Swansea vs Cardiff match. The topic proves a difficult one to currently assess as little legislation or governance exists to monitor or regulate it's use. This link from the Home Office gives an overview of the current framework of FRT's use and highlights the role of South Swales Police trialling live facial recognition ( LFR ) . Privacy rights organisations such as Liberty and @BigBrotherwatch have campaigned extensively to ensure the rise of invasive data surveillance is limited and monitored. Football fans will need to be aware of the growing possibility that in time, sporting events will testing stations for digital screening. This is a deep read from BigBrotherWatch's site regarding Scotland's use of facial recognition technology which they worked on with Open Rights Group. Please follow and subscribe to the podcast, and as always, all sharing of my pod is deeply appreciated.
In this week's episode, I talk with Rachel Bachman, Senior Sports Writer for the Wall Street Journal, about her recent findings concerning the profit and cost status of the Womens World Cup '19. Rachel discusses the implications of an error in the FIFA financial report, and its wider reaching effects. You can find more of Rachel's work at the @wsj and via @BachmanScore. If you enjoy the podcast then check out my other episodes, please share, like and subscribe via your platforms.
A stand off has arisen in the MLS over a ruling that Portland Timbers fans, mainly those of the Timbers Army, along with all who attend MLS matches, cannot fly the Iron Front Symbol, due to its political connotations and links with the Antifa movement. Race to the Bottom spoke with Professor Jules Boykoff of Portland University, to unpack the wider implications of the MLS's stance and activism's growing voice in sport. Please follow here and subscribe here.
Friday, August the 23rd will for most of us be regular day. If you support Bury FC, it will not be a regular day. It will be the day when perhaps one of the oldest clubs in the world, ceases to exist. When generations of loyal, loving Shakers fans will see their club removed from the Football League. Peter Taylor, writer and blogger of the excellent burymeinexile.com shares his thoughts and feelings regarding his beloved Bury FC. Should you wish to subscribe to Race to the Bottom podcasts, you can do so here, and here and also here.
Dan Leydon is a man who's work you will have seen. If you love football that is. Nike, ESPN, BTSport, Liverpool to name a few. Dan's unique style of art has exploded through Twitter and Instagram. And his iconic images have become symbolic with football's interwoven relationship with social media. Speaking with Dan gave me an enormous insight to the level of commitment that illustrators put themselves through before their work finally reaches the point of it being received by the public. Those of you who haven't come across Dan's work, should request to be allowed out of your cave and check him out. dan.leydon.com , @dan.leydon on Twitter and Instagram @danleydon . I appreciate all listeners and subscribers to Race to the Bottom Podcast . Any who haven't yet subscribed can do so here.
This week's episode focusses on the work of Human Rights researcher and reporter, Nic McGeehan. His wealth of knowledge on the Man City take-over in September 2008 hones in on the issues of governance and morality. Nic's work with Human Rights Watch and Open Democracy highlights the paradox of perennial human rights abusers and their acceptance into the lauded platform of elite football club ownership. He was previously the Bahrain, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates researcher at Human Rights Watch and having lived in the U.A.E for a number of years is a voice to be listened regarding these matters. I highly recommend a read of Nic's football related articles and his work at @HRW . Those of you who listen and enjoy the podcast can download and subscribe here.
The pay-gap between men's and women's football has risen to the top of the sport's agenda. Players from the USWNT are demanding equal pay for their sporting achievements spurred on by the most commercially successful Women's World Cup . Their fight for equal pay has been a long worn journey, but may finally be coming to a positive resolution. If you have listened to Episode 4 I discuss Lewes FC's approcach to equality. Led by players such as Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo , law suits have been filed. These women are challenging the entrenched stereotype that women should earn less than men. What is clear, is that these women have no intention of putting up with it anymore. Their feet have done the business on the pitch and it's now time for the deal makers of the game to do the same.
As the growth of the women’s game continues, I look at the sexual abuse case affecting the Afghanistan Women’s National Team. Brought to the media’s attention by ex player Khalida Popal, several squad players sought Popal out to confide in her regarding them being sexually abused by head of Afghanistan Football Federation Keramuudin Kerim. I talk about whether the football world is doing enough to protect players at risk of exploitation.
This week, Race to the Bottom talks with @EveorEvie from the Tangerine Knights. We discuss theire #OystonOut Campaign alongside the #Notapennymore movement. Fan activism is proving to be a powerful and positive model for change. The Tangerine Knights and other protest groups united in the #OystonOut finally have the reality of their club being returned to normality. After their memorable season in the 2010-2011 Premier League season, Blackpool FC should have seen millions of pounds, passed down throughout the club. Alas, this couldn't have been further from the truth, as fans saw the money funneled into various Oyston business projects. This was finally addressed by a High Court in November 2018, when a judge ruled Owen Oyston had illegitimately stripped the club of assets. With the removal of the Oyston family as owners of the club, this weekend's away fixture to Bristol City, stands to be a momentous day for all Blackpool fans, post #OystonOut. I talk with @EveorEvie about the sacrifices made by fan activists of the club. Finally, we look at what is next for @KnightTangerine , who have their sights on raising awareness on governance issues that are rife throughout the EFL. Should you wish to lend your support to @TangerineKnights or @BlackpoolST please follow them thought their Twitter and Facebook links. Please subscribe and share the podcast with fellow listeners via iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify.
Lewes F.C stand unique among the vast number of football clubs for it's stance on gender equality . It is clear that those behind the scenes are pioneers of a different kind of football club. I was fortunate enough to speak with Charlie Dobres, one of the club's directors. We discuss how Lewes F.C spearheaded a campaign to champion equal rights within the club. And how they have set out to challenge the dominant tropes regarding women's football. Previously covered in Episode 4 with its #FACupPrizeGap open letter to the F.A board, Charlie maps out how they hope to play a positive role in ensuring that the F.A Cup is a reflection of equality in all aspects of the tournament. Should you wish to play your part in ensuring equality exists within the game of football, then check out Lewes FC's community-based , fan ownership scheme.
This week, finally saw the safe return of exiled Bahraini footballer, Hakeem Al Araibi, to his adopted country of Austrailia. I review Bahrain's history of human rights abuses towards it's activist athletes, asking whether the governing bodies of FIFA and the IOC, can do more in the future to ensure the protection of its athletes.
In episode 5, I look at John Barnes’ 7 minute talk on unconscious racism, and highlight the imprisonment of British-Sudanese football fan Ali Issa Ahmad, in the UAE, due to him wearing a Qatar shirt at the Asian Cup. Note how Barnes' voice is muted towards the end of his interview. https://youtu.be/Ze66N6XK88M
Episode 4, in which I say the words ‘Lewes FC’ a lot. I delve into the history of women’s football and amateur football club Lewes F.C’s stance on equal rights for their players, also highlighting their open letter to the F.A board which looks to address the gender pay gap in the F.A Cup. Check the video from Lewes FC Women regarding the #FACupPrizeGap https://youtu.be/7FoB-9ue8Bc
I talk in my car, in the rain about how I feel the rise of racism in football is something that must be confronted, and briefly discuss a weird advert.
In this month's episode, the World Cup brings women's rights into focus. I interview Iranian activist Sarah of @openstadiums. We discuss her campaign to allow women access to stadiums for sporting events in her home country of Iran.
The construction of Wembley stadium was both over budget and late in its completion. I look at the possible long-term implications of a governing body without a national stadium as the F.A's proposed sale to Fulham F.C owner Shahid Kahn, appears to be gathering steam,. Later in the show, I review the media's treatment of Raheem Sterling ask whether there will come a time when athletes call out their critics. All reports cited in the podcast can be found below. 2003 Report on public funding for Wembley 2002 England National Stadium Review by Patrick Carter 2001 DCMS Wembey National Stadium Project: Into Injury Time