Facebook offers users control on ads

Facebook says it will begin allowing users more information about the ads delivered to them and to block marketing messages they don’t want to see.

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In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook said its users “tell us they want more control over the ads they see” and that the huge social network is responding to that.

“That’s why we’re introducing ad preferences, a new tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that explains why you’re seeing a specific ad and lets you add and remove interests that we use to show you ads,” the post said.

The option will be available in the United States in the next few weeks, “and we are working hard to expand globally in the coming months,” the statement said.

As an example, Facebook said, “if you’re not interested in electronics, you can remove electronics from your ad interests”.

At the same time, Facebook noted that it would draw from users Web-browsing activities and not just from Facebook, in an effort to target ads for specific users.

“Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as pages you like,” the blog post said.

“Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising and many companies already do this.”

Facebook will also allow users to opt out of this targeted advertising.

“If you don’t want us to use the websites and apps you use to show you more relevant ads, we won’t,” Facebook said.

Joseph Jerome, a policy fellow at Future of Privacy Forum, said Facebook is offering more to advertisers while boosting control for users.

At the same time, Jerome said Facebook users will be able to see extensive detail about the ads and to edit their profiles.

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World Cup 2014: cheap holidays in other people’s misery?

By Andy Ruddock, Monash University

World Cup 2014 has aired ominous reservations about the impact of the tournament on social justice in Brazil.

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Many worry that the poor will pay for the event long after the final whistle, when global eyes turn elsewhere. These fears typically concern the motivations of businesses and governments. But how might fans affect the political result of the competition?

Painting the World Cup as ‘celebration capitalism’ hardly bodes well. It’s certainly true that fans hold the key to determining its fate as a media and consumer spectacle. Their displays of passion, not only in grounds but in pubs and public spaces around the world, will be vital elements of media coverage. And the money they spend as spectators, audiences, eaters, drinkers and tourists will be more important than their reasons for participating in the event. When the Sex Pistols sang about ‘cheap holidays in other people’s misery’ a quarter of a century ago, they could well have been addressing today.

Brazil 2014: were the Sex Pistols right?

On the other hand, research on football fans urges caution when giving consumption a bad rap; there was a time when it was celebrated as a path to social justice for fans who had very real political grievances.

After 1989’s Hillsborough tragedy, some fans wondered if ‘consumer’ might be a handy sobriquet. The idea was floated that the disaster would not have happened if Liverpool supporters had been treated like paying customers, rather than a problem to be controlled.

Others latched on to the idea that rebuilding football around consumption could make the game more culturally inclusive. In the UK, revamped, consumer-friendly stadiums were seen as chances to start afresh with Asian supporters. The physical eradication of spaces that primarily appealed to white men was no bad thing.

Certainly, a spirit of cosmopolitanism was apparent among fans who took advantage of the travel opportunities created by budget airlines and the European Champions League. Manchester United fans embraced Europe with a fervour that would make Nigel Farage weep, taking pride in their efforts to try new languages and show respect for other cultures.

Scotland’s ‘Tartan Army’ introduced the same sentiment to the World Cup. Anxious to distinguish themselves from the ‘Auld Enemy’, Scotland supporters have engaged in a more or less conscious exercise in national self-branding at international tournaments. Knowing the world is watching, they make a point of showing that it’s nice to be nice.

So there’s every reason to think that many who go to Brazil will take a genuine interest in the social controversies surrounding the tournament. But the prospects aren’t quite so positive when it comes to the television audience.

To date, television hasn’t been especially good at cultivating lasting interest in distanced injustice. Some studies show that when confronted with images of complicated overseas conflicts, audiences look for easy answers to tough questions. Struggles brought about by labyrinthine political and economic arrangements are interpreted as the inevitable outcome of an inherently chaotic developing world.

Prospects get worse when you consider how the World Cup will bind most of us to local leisure economies. The tournament’s location matters less than where we will watch it. The most pressing question for many will be, which pub offers the best deals?

But that’s another article…

Andy Ruddock does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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Abbott, Obama meeting a serious affair

Barack Obama didn’t let a thing like a war in Iraq get in the way of his meeting with Tony Abbott.

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It says a lot about the strength of the US-Australia relationship that the meeting between the US president and Australian prime minister still went ahead at the White House on Thursday.

Behind the scenes, Obama’s national security advisers were frantically coming up with a strategy to deal with key Iraqi cities such as Mosul falling to jihadists, who also had Baghdad in their sights.

In the Oval Office, Obama and Abbott were swapping stories about surfing as Abbott handed over an Air Force One-styled surfboard and a pair of RM Williams boots as gifts.

Then they got down to business.

Abbott came with the message that he would continue the tradition of his mentor John Howard and be an “utterly dependable ally” of the US.

They agreed to keep progressing the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a 12-nation free-trade zone for the Asia-Pacific – and use November’s G20 summit in Brisbane to encourage private sector-driven growth.

Obama even offered an olive branch on the issue of climate change.

He told Abbott he accepted that the prime minister had an electoral mandate to get rid of the carbon tax.

Abbott reassured the president he was committed to delivering Australia’s emission cut target of five per cent by 2020.

The means, he said, were less important than the end result.

Defence dominated much of the talks. The US is looking to boost its military presence in the region and call on Australia to help build a new coalition of well-trained and ready allies should Asia-Pacific nations fail or humanitarian crises arise.

To help this along, a Force Posture Agreement was signed to allow the US to have a sustained military presence – that is, more ships, aircraft and marines – in Australia over the next 25 years.

Abbott brought a businesslike approach to the meeting, which Obama appreciated given the seriousness of the times.

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Brazil set to dominate World Cup Group A

Go to The World Game for all your World Cup news, views and live listings

Stars named in the country’s World Cup squad include Barcelona’s Dani Alves, David Luiz from Chelsea, Thiago Silva from Paris Saint-Germain, Hulk from Zenit St Petersburg and Fred from Fluminense.

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But perhaps their brightest star this year will be 22-year-old Barcelona forward Neymar.

 

The young star says it’s a moment of significance not only for himself, but also for all of Brazil.

 

“It is a big moment and a great honour to take part in a World Cup in my country.”

“It is a unique opportunity and Brazilians are very happy that visitors are coming to discover their cities, culture and country. Opening up our doors to the entire world makes this a very exciting time.”

 

But of course Brazil must first escape Group A – which sees them face Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon – no walk in the park, by any means.

 

Let’s start with Mexico, which made life tough for itself by only managing a fourth-place finish in the CONCACAF regional qualifying group.

 

The World Cup squad named by new coach Miguel Herrera relies heavily on players plying their trade in the Mexican league – including veteran defenders Carlos Salcido, Rafael Marquez and Francisco Rodríguez.

 

In announcing his World Cup squad, Miguel Herrera said he’s trying to rebuild the Mexico team from the bottom up.

 

“Everyone is going to start from scratch, we will start working with everyone equally. Rafa Marquez will wear the captain’s badge if he is on the field,” he said.

“There is not one who is in a situation where he will play because he is among the 23.”

“We want a great competition and the 11 who will go out for the start of the first game against Cameroon will do so because my coaching staff and myself decided they should be the ones starting the World Cup.”

 

Croatia. which will have high hopes of escaping Group A, given the calibre of its squad.

 

The Croatian preliminary team boasts the likes of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric, Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic, Eduardo da Silva of Shakhtar Donetsk, Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla, and veteran captain Darijo Srna, also of Shakhtar.

 

And lastly, Cameroon, the self-styled Indomitable Lions, which has perhaps done more than any other African nation to change perceptions of African football.

 

Veteran Samuel Eto’o is joined in the 2014 squad by Tottenham Hotspur defender Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Barcelona midfielder Alex Song and Rennes’ Jean Makoun.

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How to avoid bad luck on Friday the 13th

There’s even a word for this fear: <em style="line-height: 1.

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538em;”>friggatriskaidekaphobia

Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville in the US, said the phobia affects 17 to 21 million Americans alone. 

“It’s been estimated that $US800 or $US900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do,” Mr Dossey said.

Symptoms of phobia may include mild anxiety to debilitating panic attacks.

There’s only one Friday 13 this year and it’s already proving to be a special one.

Superstitious stargazers will be treated to a rare “Full Honey Moon,” which hasn’t happened on Friday the 13th for about 14 years.

So, full moon aside, here’s what you need to do to avoid bad luck on this ominous day. 

1. Don’t own, walk into, or help a friend look after a black cat.

Black cats are thought to be a sign of bad luck. Unfortunately, because of this superstition, black cats are half as likely to be adopted.

2. Instead, keep a cricket by your side for good luck.

3. Don’t let a bird fly into your window or into your house.

It is thought to be bad luck.

4. Don’t walk under a ladder

It’s just not a good idea.

5. Avoid unlucky numbers like 13 (obviously) and 666.

In some East Asian and Southeast Asian regions like China, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, people also believe the number 4 is bad luck, as the pronunciation is similar to the word ‘death’. This fear of the number 4 is known as tetraphobia, and some buildings or apartments in these countries even skip floors 4, 14, 24 and so on.

6. And while you’re at it, don’t use umbrellas inside. 7. But if you need break a spell, turn seven times in a clockwise circle. 

Seven is thought to be a lucky number.

8. Whatever you do, don’t break any mirrors.

Apart from being a hassle to clean up, some people believe mirrors hold bits to your soul. 

9. If in doubt, knock on wood for good luck. 

The symbolism of wood may come from the Christian belief that Christ died on a wooden cross to save humanity from sin.

10. And if all else fails, stay in bed until Saturday 14 comes along.

Just make sure you get out of bed on the same side you got in. 

Good luck!

And remember not everyone is afraid of Black Friday- it’s also a cause for celebration!

Hello BlackFriday the 13th and hello #NITV Black cat being a little cheeky at the studio this morning with our… 南宁桑拿网,南宁夜生活,/8jwbmUpBoc

— NITV (@NITV) June 12, 2014

 

Celebrating Blackness at #NITV today with our cheeky #BlackFriday 13 Cat – pouncing on the unexpected! pic.twitter南宁桑拿网,/dZYN9YyFp7

— Tanya Orman (@TanyaDenning) June 12, 2014

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NZ dollar soars after rate hike

The New Zealand dollar soared to a five-week high and is edging toward 87 US cents, after the Reserve Bank raised the benchmark interest for a third time this year and signalled plans for further hikes remained in place.

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The kiwi touched 86.99 US cents on Friday morning, and was trading at 86.82 cents at 8am in Wellington, from 86.50 cents at 5pm a day earlier and 85.50 cents before the Reserve Bank hiked rates. The trade-weighted index gained to 80.83 from 80.70.

Investors have pushed up the value of the New Zealand dollar after gaining comfort from Thursday’s monetary policy statement that interest rate rises would continue as the Reserve Bank indicated in its previous statement in March.

Some had bet that governor Graeme Wheeler could soften the pace of his tightening cycle on concern about the effect of lower milk prices on economic growth.

“The market was clearly taken by surprise that the RBNZ did not soften its previous stance,” said Kymberly Martin, senior market strategist at Bank of New Zealand.

New Zealand’s central bank is expected to deliver another two rate rises this year, according to a Reuters poll of economists taken after Thursday’s decision. Nine of 13 economists expect the next rise to come in July.

On Friday, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand is to release its latest house price data, and the performance of manufacturing index and the food price index will also be published.

The kiwi rose to a 13-month high of 64.23 euro cents overnight, and was trading at 64.01 cents at 8am.

It touched a month-high of 51.64 British pence and was trading at 51.57 pence at 8am. The British pound was weakened by comments from UK Chancellor George Osborne that macro prudential policies may be introduced, implying interest rates at the Bank of England may be lower for longer.

The New Zealand dollar weakened to 92.14 Australian cents from 92.22 cents and was little changed at 88.28 yen from 88.29 yen ahead of a Bank of Japan meeting where no change to policy is expected.

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What do FIFA’s finances tell us about its sponsor relations?

By Kieran Maguire, University of Liverpool

With the World Cup about to kick off, FIFA, football’s governing body and the tournament’s organiser, is under scrutiny.

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In the brouhaha surrounding Qatar winning the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, five of the tournament’s six sponsors have raised concerns over the allegations surrounding this decision.

FIFA has a total of 22 sponsors at present, including six global partners, (Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia, Emirates, Visa and Sony). These partners have paid an estimated $200 million each for the rights to be associated with FIFA over the four year World Cup cycle period.

Sponsors will be concerned about reputational damage if some of the allegations prove to be true. Some fan groups are already calling for a boycott of products linked to FIFA sponsors in the light of the bribery claims. This currently appears to be a localised rather than a global protest movement.

The sponsors have been quietly vocal about the allegations. The last thing they need so close to the tournament are distractions when they are aiming to showcase their products. The last World Cup in 2010 delivered TV audiences of up to 3.2 billion viewers.

Where does FIFA’s money come from?

Last year FIFA had total revenues of nearly $1.4 billion, even though it was not a flagship tournament final year. Those revenues came from the following sources:

 

With commercial revenues generating nearly a third of FIFA’s total income, the organisation is answerable to those who contribute so much to its income stream.

This means that if the sponsors act in a united way, they could encourage FIFA to reopen the bidding for the 2022 World Cup finals. Whether there is the will from the sponsors to do this remains debatable.

FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, also faced demands to step down when he attended a meeting of UEFA, which represents European footballing countries. Whilst UEFA seems to be a lone dissenting voice in relation to Blatter’s position at FIFA, Europe is the biggest generator of TV income for the organisation. Last year it contributed over $300 million of the total TV rights in relation to the World Cup. Blatter is however popular with the other confederations that make up FIFA. This is partially due to his generosity in distributing FIFA money to these confederations and their members.

If both UEFA and sponsors act together, their combined financial power within FIFA could result in a shift of behaviour and the removal of Blatter.

Where does the money go?

As rapidly as the money is generated, FIFA manages to spend nearly all of it as is revealed from its 2013 income statement:

 

Kieran Maguire

 

FIFA therefore made a profit last year of $72 million, compared to $89 million the previous year. This is substantially lower than the $202 million made during the last World Cup Finals held in South Africa in 2010.

One figure that is noticeable by its absence from the above list is income tax. FIFA is a “charitable organisation” and as such pays next to no tax in its domicile of Switzerland. FIFA insists as a condition of awarding the finals that it pays no tax in the country where the World Cup Finals are hosted. This rule also applies to the players who appear in the tournament.

The large number of countries who put themselves forwards to host the tournament suggests that this is deemed a price worth paying by governments, who place prestige above tax revenue generation.

Some of the other costs also appear intriguing. FIFA had 452 employees per the 2013 accounts, with an average salary of $225,000. This seems very generous for an organisation that likes to consider itself to be a ‘charity’. The pension benefits seem very worthwhile too, although Sepp Blatter has nobly agreed to put himself forward for re-election in the role next year, despite already being 78.

Conclusion

With football now being driven by money, it’s governing body faces greater scrutiny than ever before. Historically it has always taken the view that it is self governing and self perpetuating in its current form. Cronyism and nepotism have been able to flourish.

In an era of social media campaigns, guerrilla marketing and increasingly probing media scrutiny, where sponsors and TV companies have enormous influence, FIFA’s house could come tumbling down.

The smart money, however, is that once the football starts it will distract attention from FIFA’s house of shame.

Kieran Maguire does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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Facebook offers users control over ads

Facebook says it will begin allowing users more information about the ads delivered to them, and to block marketing messages they don’t want to see.

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In a blog post, Facebook said its users “tell us they want more control over the ads they see” and that the huge social network is responding to that.

“That’s why we’re introducing ad preferences, a new tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that explains why you’re seeing a specific ad and lets you add and remove interests that we use to show you ads,” the post said.

The option will be available in the United States in the next few weeks, “and we are working hard to expand globally in the coming months,” the statement said.

As an example, Facebook said, “if you’re not interested in electronics, you can remove electronics from your ad interests.”

At the same time, Facebook noted that it would draw from users web browsing activities – and not just from Facebook – in an effort to target ads for specific users.

“Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as pages you like,” the blog post said.

“Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this.”

Facebook will also allow users to opt out of this targeted advertising.

“If you don’t want us to use the websites and apps you use to show you more relevant ads, we won’t,” Facebook said.

Jules Polonetsky, executive director at the Future of Privacy Forum in Washington, said Facebook is expanding how it uses targeted ads while at the same time adding controls.

“It’s a big step forward in giving users more control over advertising,” Polonetsky told AFP.

“This new ad preference manager definitely goes beyond what is in the market and will likely spur other companies to do the same. It’s clearly positive to show people what’s going on behind the scenes and the key part is to let people out if they are not interested.”

But Bradley Shear, an attorney specialising in social media and privacy, said the Facebook action raised concerns because it effectively shares browsing history with advertisers.

“Facebook uses the data you post and gleaned from your digital activity (posts, messages, and now websites visited, etc…) to make money,” Shear said in a blog post.

“I don’t advise anyone who values their privacy to post personal information to Facebook because it has an abysmal record when it comes to protecting user privacy.”

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Socceroos up against former champions in World Cup Group B

Go to The World Game for all your World Cup news, views and live listings

Perhaps not since Australia’s inaugural World Cup appearance in 1974 has the team faced such a challenge at world football’s showpiece.

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A young side, light on experience and light on big names but also, reassuringly, light on expectation.

 

Coach Ange Postecoglou has peppered his team with a few seasoned veterans, Mark Bresciano and Tim Cahill, though he’s left Josh Kennedy and Luke Wilkshere out of the final squad.

 

When unveiling his World Cup squad, Postecoglou said it’s a rejuvenation cycle the national team had to have.

 

“I guess they get an opportunity. Even the experienced players at some point got an opportunity and that’s what we’ve given this group of players,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a major challenge because we’re taking them to the toughest tournament on Earth and I guess the best opposition in the world. But within that, there is a unique opportunity for them.”

“I’ve got a great deal of faith in our younger players and my job is to make sure that, along with the staff, we prepare them as well as possible.”

 

The younger players he’s referring to include Ivan Franjic, Bailey Wright, Jason Davidson, Oliver Bozanic, Ben Halloran and Adam Taggart.

 

Most football lovers agree the goal for Australia this World Cup is simply not to get smashed by their world class opposition  and just maybe even cause an upset.

 

As the number one ranked team in the world, Spain will be a formidable opponent.

 

Coach Vicente del Bosque has at his disposal the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso in the midfield.

 

Retired Spain legend Fernando Hierro told Fifa TV there is belief in the Spanish camp the team can win back-to-back World Cups.

 

“When we lost to Switzerland, everyone said that no team had ever lost their first match and won the World Cup. Now they say that no defending champion [has ever won a World Cup]. Well, that’s the challenge. Statistics are there to be broken. Nothing else.”

 

As if the task could get no harder for Australia, the other power in Group B is 2010 World Cup runners-up, the Netherlands.

 

At their disposal, the Netherlands will have a thick and experienced Nigel de Jong and Wesley Sneijder; however Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out with injury.

 

Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich will likely spearhead the Dutch attack.

 

That leaves Chile, the dangerous third factor in Australia’s group stage equation.

 

Chile comes into the World Cup after chalking up victories in five of their last six qualifiers to make a second successive World Cup for the first time.

 

This offence will be headlined by the likes of Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona, and Eduardo Vargas – on loan with Valencia – as well as attacking midfielder Arturo Vidal of Juventus.

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It may be the World Cup, but how global is the ‘world game’?

By Keith Parry, University of Western Sydney

In 1863, the newly formed English Football Association (FA) drew up and published the first Laws of the Game of football.

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The aim was to provide a set of universal rules to govern the various forms of “football” that existed. But it is unlikely that these early lawmakers would have predicted that 150 years later the sport would become a global behemoth.

The game’s world governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), claims that 46% of the global population – or 3.2 billion viewers – watched at least one minute of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. English club Manchester United has suggested that they are followed by around one in ten people globally.

While such claims need to be taken with a pinch of salt, football’s worldwide appeal is clear.

It is not just off the pitch that football seems to be scoring goals. FIFA’s Big Count survey suggests that 270 million people are involved in playing or officiating the sport. This figure has grown by 9.5% since the last (FIFA-conducted) survey, and probably carries more weight than the previously cited numbers.

A truly global game?

Football has traditionally been popular in its heartlands of Europe and South America. While growth in these markets may have slowed, the increased globalisation of the game has opened up other regions.

A trip through Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport hints at the popularity of the sport in Asia. Alongside Cartier watches and Dior fragrances one can also buy (perhaps less fashionable) Leicester City Football Club replica shirts.

Leicester City is just one of an increasing number of football clubs with owners based in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia. Other European clubs commonly visit the region on tour, playing against local teams in stadiums packed with fervent local fans. The English Premier League has, in particular, looked to cash in on a passionate Asian following by holding a Premier League Asian Trophy every two years since 2003.

Africa has long been recognised as a source of footballing talent. Successful showings at World Cup finals by African teams bring the talented players of these countries into the global shop window.

African players are also seen as cheaper alternatives to “home-grown” talent and are lured abroad by the prospect of success and economic stability. However, it is only a small minority that attain these goals, with many struggling to forge a career in a foreign land.

However, despite being the world’s two most populous nations, China and India boast only one World Cup appearance between them. China’s solitary effort in 2002 resulted in elimination at the group stage, after losing all three games without scoring a goal.

And yet, in their economic guide to the 2014 World Cup, investment bank Goldman Sachs suggests that China and India are football’s future growth markets.

 

English clubs such as Manchester United have extremely large, passionate followings in Asia. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

 

You say ‘soccer’, I say ‘football’

The spread of the game has met with local resistance in two regions. Until 2005, the North American and Australian and New Zealand national associations all included the term “soccer” rather than “football” in their names.

Australia and New Zealand have both recently embraced “football” as a term in a bid for increased integration with the global game. However, the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation have stood firm. In all of these countries, football has typically come off second (or ever third or fourth) best to sports that are regarded as more traditional.

In the US, “football” is typically reserved for American football. Along with baseball, basketball and motor racing, American football leaves association football behind in terms of popularity. A total attendance figure of 2.25 million for the country’s professional association football league, Major League Soccer, is dwarfed by the 75 million attendees that Major League Baseball attracted in 2013.

Recently, the popularity of association football in America has been helped by a string of high-profile players such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry moving there in the twilight of their careers. American investment in European football clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool, and an increasing number of top European clubs choosing America as an alternative pre-season destination, have also boosted the profile of the sport.

Participation in association football in the US, particularly by children, has grown since the 1970s. Where once the sport was derided as fit only for those who were too wimpy or cowardly to play one of the more traditional American sports, globalisation and immigration have helped football to establish itself. Participation levels even suggest that the US now has the second-highest number of players in the world.

In Australia, the term football (or footy) can mean many things. In the southeastern, central and western states it is likely to be Australian Rules football. In the northeast, football is likely to refer to rugby league.

In terms of spectator attendance, the A-League lags some way behind the AFL and NRL. Yet in participation terms, this trend is reversed: Football Federation Australia puts it at almost two million players in Australia.

It has been a difficult road for association football in Australia. For long periods, it was seen as an immigrants’ sport and termed “wogball” – a racial slur aimed at those who played it. Former Australian captain Johnny Warren captured such views on association football in the title of his 2002 book Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters. For those accustomed to the physicality of rugby league or Australian Rules, association football was seen as effeminate and alien.

In Australia and the US, it may be that the characteristics of football that were once mocked and derided are actually its greatest strength. With growing concern over the long-term dangers of more physical sports such as rugby league, American football and ice hockey, safety-conscious parents are increasingly likely to push their children towards association football.

 

Association football has often been derided as a minority sport in Australia, but is this mentality changing? AAP/Dave Hunt

The real growth area

There is one area for growth that can be forgotten in discussions about football.

While football in Australia was historically viewed as a sport for “sheilas”, women’s participation does not reflect this. Of the 270 million participants claimed by FIFA only 29 million are women. In Australia the FFA puts the number of female participants at around 100,000, which is only one in five of all registered participants.

These figures can, and should, be viewed positively as participation by women has grown steadily in recent years. However, when female participants in some countries are still discouraged and threatened, much work clearly needs to be done.

Keith Parry does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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