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Colonialism, christians and sport: the catholic church and football in Goa, 1883-1951

Mills, James (2002) Colonialism, christians and sport: the catholic church and football in Goa, 1883-1951. Football Studies, 5 (2).

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Abstract

The chapter uses the development of football in Goa, the Portuguese colony in India until 1961, as a case study with which to critique existing histories of sport and colonialism. The start point of the article is that when taken together existing studies of football in particular, and to an extent sport in general, in colonial contexts bear a range of similarities. Broadly speaking a model can be drawn from them, one in which Christian missionary activity and colonial government projects act to introduce and encourage western sports among colonised populations who then eventually adopt and adapt the games. The Goa example offers a fresh perspective as it argues that while elements of the story of football there are familiar from these other studies, the role of indigenous agents in propagating the game at its earliest stages is crucial to understanding how the sport took off and became embedded in local society and culture.