Football support without borders

New Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann admits it will be difficult for the club to sign Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar this summer.

What drives fans to support football teams from countries other than their own?

This used to be something of a phenomenon, but is now an increasing trend the world over. It is particularly prevalent with the Premier League, which has massive global appeal on the back of excellent marketing and the fact that players from abroad participate in the cash-rich league in the United Kingdom.
These factors and more, no doubt, come into play when ascertaining the appeal – regardless of geographical placement.

Worldwide reach
The reality is that we live in an evolving world, where sport is a prime commodity and – admittedly – a frequent relief from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. The reach of the internet and mainstream media has seen hundreds of thousands of fans start investing time, money and emotion in teams that are actually based many, many miles away from them.

Betway recently interviewed a young West Ham United fan, who became so infatuated with Mark Noble and company after doing a simple search on the world wide web. The Shanghai-based fan found out about the Bobby Charlton allegiance and it was all ‘go, go, go’ from there. With the tech and information available at our fingertips these days, the Shanghai West Ham fan’s example is just one of many of such ilk.

The fact than an England team and a person from the East can form such a bond over football really typifies why it is known as the beautiful game. Faith in humanity is often restored when one witnesses such great bonds formed by football.

World Cup wonder
When the World Cup comes around, every four years or so, it is another reason to pledge allegiance to the team of a country you don’t live in. Your country might not be competing in the tournament – they might not have qualified or just didn’t get there for some or other reason. From Brazil to Italy and Argentina to Spain – these are just some of the nations that get plenty of support from people in other countries when the World Cup rolls around.
You see people from Japan going through the streets in Uruguay jerseys and Americans donned in Brazilian regalia, for example. What you probably won’t see, though, is a split of the fiercest rivalries in world sport. For instance, a South African might not where anything to do with Australia in any sporting context, let alone football.

More reason to support globally
Whichever way it stacks in the end, it is just important that the global appeal of the game of football continues to grow. It’s great that the premier league is viewed with such pride and esteemed the world over, so much so that people from Shanghai and other areas of the East are supporting English teams. When guys like Maya Yoshida and Ryo Miyaichi get gigs in the premier league, this spreads the cosmopolitan appreciation of the season even more. There is no two ways about it, really, support of countries in football are not limited by borders anymore, nor was it much in the past – the global game is truly here to stay.