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From remote African villages, where the balls are made from old socks or pilfered rubber, to the terraces of top European teams, where the players are billionaire brands, via the favelas of Brazil and the casinos of Vietnam, the June issue of the Al Jazeera Magazine travels the globe to explore our sometimes troubled relationship with the 'beautiful game' and the business behind it.
We hear from football fans the world over as they share stories of heartache and jubilation, passion and despondency. We revisit some of the key moments that have shaped the modern game, and examine the points at which it intersects with politics and patriotism, social class and sectarianism, identity and ideology.
And, for those already suffering from World Cup football fatigue, we also profile some other sports – from the Kenyan athletes running towards a better future, to the aspiring mountain guides hoping to climb their way out of poverty in Tajikistan, the female boxers fighting sexism in the slums of Uganda and the weightlifters pursuing a personal revolution in Egypt.
Featured in this issue are:
• Amen: Grassroots football - "In Africa, football is not a religion but it is everything a religion should be."
• Ten moments that shaped football - From wars to wages, football writer Sam Pilger tells the story of the modern game.
• Slum fighters - The story of four female Ugandan boxers fight for their future.
• Who controls the global game? - Marketing consultant Simon Rines breaks down some of the sport's money myths and asks whether European clubs have grown complacent.
• The broken business of Brazilian football - The country may be synonymous with the game, but what does the financial fate of Brazil's football clubs reveal about its faltering economy?
• Confessions of a football fan - Supporters from around the world share stories of hope and heartache, despair and delight.
The magazine was honoured at the 2013 Webby Awards where it received the People's Voice Award in the Best News Tablet category.