Football Fandom in Egypt



Football, known as soccer in the United States, is the world’s most popular ball game both in terms of number of spectators and in terms of number of participants. And, almost nowhere is the sport more popular than in Egypt, where participation in and viewership of the game is well over 50% of the entire population.

Paper Contributions

In this project, we trace using the evolution of football fandom in Egypt, arguing that this fandom has played an important role in the political evolution of the country. Using archival material from the British colonial era, text data from the Egyptian Independent news article corpus, and survey data from the World Values Survey, we build up a holistic picture of fandom—how the fandom has played a role in fights against colonialism, in the promotion of Egyptian nationalism, and in conflict with authoritarian governments.

In addition to building this general argument about fandom, we also describe the critical features of fandom in the country. For example, we analyze the geographic and demographic distribution of support for various teams (such as Al Ahly SC, Al Masry SC, and Zamalek SC), as well as analyzing data on the kinds of people more interested in the sport (perhaps unsurprisingly, these tend to be younger urban males, but we also find some interesting variation within Cairo).

We also analyze fandom around international superstars from Egypt such as Mohamad Saleh. After analyzing evidence around how ethnicity and gender operate in football participation and fandom, we conclude with some thoughts on possible futures of fandom in the country in light of ongoing political change and of evolution in the sport itself.


Connor T. Jerzak. Football fandom in Egypt. Routledge Handbook of Sport in the Middle East, pages 196-207, Oxfordshire, UK, 2022. Routledge. Danyel Reiche and Paul Brannagan (eds.)
  title={Football fandom in Egypt},
  author={Jerzak, Connor T.},
  booktitle={Routledge Handbook of Sport in the Middle East},
  address={Oxfordshire, UK}

Related Work

Connor T. Jerzak. Ultras in Egypt: State, Revolution, and the Power of Public Space. Interface, 5(2): 240-262, 2013.
  title={Ultras in Egypt: State, Revolution, and the Power of Public Space},
  author={Jerzak, Connor T.},

Back to Research
Back to Home