Australia, Asia and the new football opportunity

Christopher Hallinan, Tom Heenan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After numerous attempts to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Australia finally became a member in 2006 and was immediately re-designated from 'Oceanic' to 'Asian'. In examining the impact of this move, we contextualize it within Australia's broader economic and socio-cultural shift from its British roots to an increasing economic enmeshment with Asia. Australia's AFC membership coincided with football's corporatization locally, exemplified in the A-League's establishment. This altered the dynamics of identity politics in Australian football shifting the game at the elite level from its multicultural roots to a corporate assimilationist model and generating debate surrounding the very essence of multiculturalism. We show this move was a necessary pre-condition to Australia joining the AFC. We assess whether this complex interplay of politics, national identity and regionalism has facilitated any paradigm shift in Australian attitudes towards Asia; or was the move based on Australian football's opportunistic quest for bigger market?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-767
Number of pages17
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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