Football, futebol, soccer, calcio, Fußball - the political implications of the dominant ballgame
have been treated more or less thoroughly in the past few years. Nevertheless, religious
similarities in its system and function were discussed rather reluctantly. Football and religion
have far more in common than one might expect at first glance. Various religious aspects can be
found here, from the emotional passing through affection, grace, sin and redemption to an
extraordinary willingness for brutal violence: Nowadays football offers an 'existential touch'
and serves certain functions that have been represented by the church and its institutions in
Many aspects of the game show a religious perspective that might prove rewarding to deal with,
not only for church associates, but also for theology, social science and all interested people.
One has not to be a regular church-goer to explore the multitude of symbols and rituals in
contemporary football culture that have at least religious roots.
However, is it appropriate to speak about religion in relation to a commercial event like
professional football? If so, what does it tell us about the human being in its ways of
understanding itself and the world? What can we learn about the ways of how to live a religious
life in a (post-)modern secular age?
We try to give a few modest answers on how the phenomenon emerged and what could be the secret of its success. Starting from the European context with its Christian roots and traditions, we want to leave space for further investigations and raise more questions about the topic. Any ideas and opinions, even from other religious points of view, are most welcome. Just send us an e-mail.
Although this Website had been constructed in German, there is an academic thesis in English that deals with the veneration of football stars in comparison to the Roman-Catholic cult of saints. You can download this text right here.