• University of Edinburgh

Football: More than a Game

Explore the role of football in the world today - including finances, clubs, nations and rivalries - with this free online course.

33,913 enrolled on this course

Football on grass
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Explore football's role in society today

Where did football come from, and where is it going? From street soccer to multi-million dollar transfers, from the beaches of Brazil to the fight against poverty and inequality in Africa, this online course looks beyond the pitch, to explore football’s role in society today.

Learn with well-known faces from the sport

You will be joined by Liverpool legend and former Match of the Day analyst, Alan Hansen, and Mel Young, founder of the Homeless World Cup.

Find out more on the FutureLearn blog.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds Football is more than a game. It’s a passion. It’s a universal language and it’s deep rooted in communities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds It involves people, players, and enormous amounts of money travelling around the world. We’re standing here inside the National Football Museum of Scotland at Hampden park in the city of Glasgow. Not far from here in 1872, the world’s first international official football match took place between Scotland and England. Other countries, such as China, also have an important part to play and say in the history of world football.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds Uruguay in 1930 won the very first FIFA World Cup. Wherever you have come from, we will introduce you to key aspects of the global game of football. Where did this come from and where it is going. We have brought together a team of experts from the University, from football, from different stakeholders, who will help to give you a behind the scenes look at the greatest game in the world today. My name is Professor Grant Jarvie. I’m here to warmly welcome you to this course. I’m really excited about working with you as we explore the wonderful and complicated game of football.

What topics will you cover?

Week One - Football: History, Myth and Power

  • Football from its origins as a folk game, to the development of FIFA as a powerful organisation and key moments in the history of football’s development.
  • Locate football within the broader context of history.
  • Consider historical facts and some football data.

Week Two - The global spectacle of football

  • An introduction to the concept of globalisation and how it helps to explain football relationships.
  • Consider objections to the term global football.
  • An introduction to issues of finance, wealth and governance.

Week Three - Great football clubs, nations and matches that changed the world

  • An introduction to case material about great football clubs, nations and rivalries.
  • Consider the basis for comparing and contrasting different clubs, places and nations.
  • An introduction to football interventions that have impacted upon society and culture.

Week Four - Who are the champions of the world?

  • An introduction to concepts such as champions, homelessness, inequality and poverty.
  • Consideration of why cities chase major sporting events and what they get in return.
  • An overview of key concepts, evidence and readings.

Week Five - Football, international development, diplomacy and peace

  • An introduction to the role and place of football in international development.
  • Examination of football based interventions designed to assist the development of mental health, peace, diplomacy and conflict resolution.

Week Six - Football finances, governance and ownership

  • A more in depth look at finances and governance issues affecting football.
  • An understanding of why data is important.
  • Examination of different models of ownership and financial fair play in football.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understand the importance of concepts to explain football in different countries
  • Understand and explain the role of football within international development
  • Critically examine and understand the use of data and evidence
  • Consider the role of history in explaining trends and change
  • Develop communication, IT and data analysis skills
  • Apply knowledge, skills and understanding to explain why Football is more than a game
  • Develop autonomy, accountability and working with others

Who is the course for?

Is this course only for football experts and fans?

Not at all, everyone is welcome - anybody interested in football and its place in the world. We recommend a broad interest in football as a contemporary phenomenon - you will cover some of the top football clubs, grass-roots football projects, the FIFA World Cup, and the Homeless World Cup.

What resources will I need for this class?

All you need is internet access to join in the discussions and time to work through each week’s content.

Who will you learn with?

Grant is Professor of Sport at the university, comes from an international sporting family and you can find out more by accessing Grant Jarvie at the University of Edinburgh.

Project Manager at Beyond Sport
MSc Sport Policy, Management and International Development at University of Edinburgh
Twitter: @NeilRankin_

Who developed the course?

The University of Edinburgh

Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top universities and is globally recognised for research, innovation and high-quality teaching.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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