British Informal Empire and the Origins of Association Football in South America

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Most historical and sociological studies of association football in South America assume that the game was first played, and became popular, as a result of British informal empire in the region between 1830 and 1914. This article shows that historians of British informal empire in South America, in contrast, have never found evidence of such a link. It demonstrates that the conventional belief in a link between football and informal empire rests on assertion rather than evidence, and on a very narrow source base of English-language newspapers and case studies drawn from only two countries, Brazil and Argentina. It reviews some of the recent South American historiography on the origins of football, and offers some conclusions for future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages16
JournalSoccer & Society
Issue number2-3
Early online date13 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Football
  • South America
  • Brazil
  • Charles Miller
  • Empire
  • Commerce


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