A study of Croatian-Australian identity and discrimination faced by Croatian-backed clubs in Australia’s elite football leagues

Kieran Edmond James*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Since the 1960s, Croatian soccer clubs have been a notable feature of all major Australian cities, and a number of regional towns, with the highest-profile of these being Melbourne Croatia and Sydney Croatia, both of which played in Australia’s now defunct National Soccer League (NSL) (1977-2004). By being barred from the new A-League, from 2005-06, these clubs experienced marginalization and discrimination similar to that experienced by Irish-Catholic clubs in Scotland. The aims of this study are to explore both Croatian-Australian identity and discrimination through the lens of Melbourne and Sydney Croatia. The myths about the clubs’ alleged fascist tendencies are also explored. The fascist allegations have obscured the very real discrimination faced by these clubs and their supporters, given that the end of the NSL ‘removed’ both clubs from the national-league when ordinary relegation was not deserved. The article draws upon interviews with two Melbourne Croatia administrators and three leaders of the club’s ‘MCF’ ultras.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPilar: a Journal for Social and Humanistic Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • anticommunism
  • Australian soccer
  • Croatian-Australians
  • discrimination
  • Melbourne Knights
  • Melbourne

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