On Racism in Soccer

Photo taken at night of people playing soccer. There is one person in the foreground, who has the ball. The ground is illuminated from lights, and there is steam coming up off the ground. You can see that the layer in the foreground is in motion, because they appear to be running and their hair looks like it's moving in the wind as they go.

Racist Stacking in Professional Soccer in Germany

Peer-reviewed academic research by: Tina Nobis and Felicia Lazaridou

That racism exists in sports is nothing new, there is loads of research evidencing racism in sport, from organizational structures to media representations exists. What is ‘racist stacking’ in sport, and how does it appear in professional soccer in Germany? This article, however, shows how professional soccer players in Germany are discriminated against in terms of the positions that they play. Read the abstract below to learn more, and then click through to the free, open-access article. 

Racist stacking is a phenomenon in team sports in which Black players are underrepresented in tactical and leading positions, while they are overrepresented in decentralized and physical positions. In this article, we propose that racist stacking is a type of institutional racism characterized by racist ascriptions incorporated in the daily routines of sport institutions. We explored whether racist stacking happens in soccer in Germany based on these assumptions. The results of an examination of the 36 teams in the male divisions of the first and second Bundesliga in the 2020/2021 season are presented in this article. We discovered patterns in our data that support a theory of racial stacking. White players are more likely to play positions associated with leadership, oversight, responsibility, intelligence, and organization, whereas Black players are more likely to play positions associated with aggressiveness, speed, and instinct. We conclude that, contrary to popular belief, professional sports do not just rely on the competitiveness principle. Instead, some decisions appear to be made on the basis of racist attributions, whether purposefully or accidentally.

Click here to read the full open-access article, published in 2023 in the journal International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

Full Reference //

Nobis, T., & Lazaridou, F. (2023). Racist Stacking in Professional Soccer in Germany. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 58(1), 23–42.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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