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  • 2 years ago
In Wales the Ball is Round

In Wales the Ball is Round

Football is the Welsh national sport. Yes, you read that right. Comedian and writer Elis James gives a polemical appraisal of football's role in constructing modern Welsh identity. (1/2)

The story of football in Wales tells a richer, geographically-wider, more socially-inclusive national story than rugby, the country's much vaunted "national sport". The Welsh football story has long embraced crosspollination from ethnic communities, the influx and growth of industries other than coal and steel, and the myriad geographical, social and linguistic divisions that crisscross Wales. In 2016, more Welsh people watch football and follow their local team than rugby; six times as many Welsh women play football than its oval-balled cousin.

But no-one's listening. Across Offa's Dyke and within the Welsh media, we're being sold a myth. Rugby articulates a set of comfy, uninterrogated clichés about a fabled Welsh national psyche (Poetry! Coal mines! Celts! Oppressed by the English!) that's oss