An independent, football activism podcast. Race to the Bottom aims to raise questions about the governance and ethics of the game of football. Each week, Joe Harman presents short discussions about activism within the game. Assessing tropes that continue to dominate much of football. Asking questions of how we can stem the ever-widening injustices that permeate throughout. Race to the Bottom interviews activists and campaigners who strive to challenge, change and overcome the many issues that still remain in football.

Governing bodies such as FIFA, UEFA and the FA find themselves morally stretched further and further as the exponential growth of football fails to show any signs of slowing down. Wealth continues to pour into the upper echelons of football. With many other facets of the game struggling to grow. Race to the Bottom has a desire to enusre a platform exists for those voices that cry out for change. Also to strive to uphold human rights and those activists that make a stand.

Race to the Bottom: Football Activism 

The world’s greatest sport appears resplendent, draped in all its glory. Way beyond the stadiums and grassy pitches there remains deep levels of discrimination and biases . More groups use social media platforms to gather support and clarity for their messages as activism in the sport is slowly on the rise. Race to the Bottom strives to spread the stories of hope, activism and social awareness that exist across the landscape of football.

A challenge to inequality.

The growth of football has led many factions to hurtle further towards a tipping point. Morality within the game is cordially ignored. Clubs sally up to whichever company proffers a reasonable financial sum. Academies scout children at an ever younger rate. Investors trade football clubs of great reknown, with disregard and neglect. Our governing bodies struggle to make sense of society’s growing complexity and how it fits with football.

At best, they are complicit in the gentrification of a sport once regarded with utter disdain by the ruling elites. The airwaves and print are filled with variations of the same, a never ending groundhog-day, where the top tiers are modestly interchangeable yet always resulting in the inevitable outcome.

Yet, hidden  in between the cracks, where you can barely stretch those fingers, lies stories untold. People and places that want football to be a tool for positive social change. And that is where Race to the Bottom wishes to be.

The role of Social Media.

We are privileged that the world is connected and that we can share and hear the plights of others. Social media allows us the opportunity to take action, to highlight, to raise awareness if the things we deem important. Race to the Bottom’s hope is that it will be the platform for those voices to be heard.

The aim is to spread the word of activism in football. Race to the Bottom will explore current tropes through interviews, podcast shorts and articles . For if football is to truly be for all, then the disenfranchised and isolated groups that make up part of the football fabric must be heard.

Race to the Bottom: Stories

In the short time of Race to the Bottom , we have seen Iranian women confronting the ban on them attending football matches. Iran remain the sole country which denies women of its own nationality the right to watch a game of football in the company of men.However, This is despite FIFA’s policy against any such action.

The Bahraini footballler Hakeem al Araibi’s 73 day detention in a Thailand prison. As a result of a false red flag issued by Interpol. Finally, ending with heavy pressure from activists like Craig Foster and @BIRD.

An open letter issued by landmark club Lewes FC, to the FA regarding #FACupPrizeGap.

Lewes F.C stand unique among the vast number of football clubs because of it’s stance on gender equality . It is clear that those behind the scenes are pioneers of a different kind of football club. I talked with Charlie Dobres about the Sussex club that challenges long standing gender bias. Also, we cover the club’s plans to further grow the game.

Fan unity.

Fans of Blackpool FC have in recent months, finally seen the fall of Owen Oyston. The Tangerine Knights acting alongside the Blackpool Supporters Trust and other protest groups played a pivotal role in ensuring the media continued to follow the events. As a result, fans gave up all attendences of game, remaining united in their #OystonOut and #NotaPennyMore campaigns.

Blackpool FC should have seen millions of pounds passed down throughout the club, because of  their memorable season in the 2010-2011 Premier League season. However,the fans instead fans saw the money funneled into various Oyston business projects. This was finally addressed by a High Court in November 2018. When a judge ruled Owen Oyston had  stripped the club of assets.

Community Activism

These events are proof that activism is growing in the football community. From grassroots clubs to national governing bodies, change is being brought about through positive, community activism.

Based in Plymouth, England, Race to the Bottom is the brainchild of Joe Harman. It will remain an independent, advertisement-free,activism-centric, no sponsorship necessary, football podcast. Please subscribe here , or via iTunes and share to all.

Any questions or queries, please contact. @RTTBPodcast @ginolasleftfoot

All music and production is the work of Tetragrammatons who’s work can be found via Soundcloud