Post-secular Religiosity and Sport: Football as Religion
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Football Sport Game Religion Fictional Religion Secular Religion Ritual Maradona Church Identity Post-Secularism

How to Cite

Poliakov, N. (2023). Post-secular Religiosity and Sport: Football as Religion. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 5(4), 332-349.


The passion for sports sometimes takes on such hypertrophied forms that it actually turns out to be one of the variants of religion, fulfilling a number of its significant functions. Football, like few other modern phenomena, demonstrates a close connection to religion, usually with prefixes like “pseudo”, “para”, or “quasi”. In the conditions of post-secularism, when primary institutions, such as religion, lose their initial importance, secondary institutions may begin to play the role of the primary ones. And in this context, we can talk about football as a secular religion. The article examines the ritual origins of the ball game in Mesoamerica and China, the history of football formation in England and the role of priests in this process, various forms of mythological thinking manifestation among football players and coaches, and idolatry on the example of invented religions (the Church of Maradona and the Church of Football). As a result, we can come to the following conclusion: football, at least, functionally replaces religion, which is well seen in the example of England, where football identity is sometimes more important than religious one. The results of the study contribute to better understanding of the features of contemporary religiosity, the so-called religion-like phenomena, and may be of interest to a wide range of readers: religious scholars, historians, sociologists and philologists.
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