Chapter 6: Moroccan ultra groups of football: from Tifos to street politics
Open access

The ultras phenomenon has become the most spectacular form of football fandom in the early twenty-first century. Yet, since their appearance in Morocco, they have been associated with violence and vandalism. This chapter aims to explain the political dimension of the Moroccan ultra group in terms of their chants in Morocco in the post-February 20, 2011 era. It seeks to analyze their narratives which have shifted to a form of social Hirak, or, using Asef Bayat’s term, non-movement. The chapter focuses on the dynamics of two nationally, and universally notorious, groups located in Casablanca, Morocco’s biggest and most densely populated city, namely the “Winners” (supporters of the Wydad Athletic Club) and the “Green Boys” (supporters of the Raja Club Athletic) of Casablanca. The chapter adopts a critical perspective analysis that attempts to sketch out some examples of their “political” chants to understand their discourses, spaces of their activities, levels of their impact on the street protests, and their prospects in the political scene. It also seeks to deconstruct the concept of “social movement” while referring to the Ultras as well as discussing their political transition.

  • Alomari, M. (2019). Political activists or violent fans? Understanding the Moroccan ultras perspective through social media discourse analysis. MA thesis, SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT.

  • Anderson, C. W. (2013). Youth, the “Arab Spring,” and social movements. Review of Middle East Studies, 47(2), 150–156.

  • Bayat, A. (2010). Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  • Bernache-Assollant, I., Lacassagne, M.-F., & Bouchet, P. (2007). Les groupes de supporters ultras à Marseille: Des modes de gestion identitaire différents? Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 39(4), 247–265.

  • Boen, F., Vanbeselaere, N., & Feys, J. (2002). Behavioral consequences of fluctuating group success: An Internet study of soccer-team fans. The Journal of Social Psychology, 142(6), 769–781.

  • Bourkia, A. (2018). Ultras in the city: A sociological inquiry into urban violence in Morocco. Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence, 2(2), 322–333.

  • Cialdini, R. B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M. R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L. R. (1976). Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(3), 366–375.

  • Diani, M. (1992). The concept of social movement. The Sociological Review, 40(1), 1–25.

  • El Ahmadi, M., & Radi, A. (2015). Morocco’s February 20 movement: Has this protest movement petered out? In Stuart Schaar & Mohsine El Ahmadi (eds.), The Birth of the Arab Citizen and the Changing Middle East. Northampton, MA: Interlink Publishing Group, pp. 123–141.

  • End, C. M., Dietz-Uhler, B., Demakakos, N., Grantz, M., & Biviano, J. (2003). Perceptions of sport fans who BIRG. International Sports Journal, 7(1), 139–149.

  • Ginhoux, B. (2015). Beyond the stadium: how “ultra” supporters fit into the urban space.

  • Hannerz, U. (2010). Diversity is our business. American Anthropologist, 112(4), 539–551.

  • Hirt, E. R., Zillmann, D., Erickson, E. A., & Kennedy, C. (1992). Costs and benefits of allegiance: Changes in fans’ self-ascribed competencies after team victory versus defeat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63(5), 724–738.

  • Hourcade, J. P. (2008). Interaction design and children. Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction, 1(4), 277–392.

  • Le Bon, G. (2004). Psicologia Delle Folle. Milan: TEA.

  • Raghib, A., & Ammara, M. (2014, March). Violence and vandalism erupts during FAR-Raja football game in Rabat. Morocco World News.

  • Shank, M. D., & Beasley, F. (1998). Gender effects on the university selection process. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 8(3), 63–71.

  • Strauss, C. (1992). Models and motives. In R. G. D’Andrade & C. Strauss (eds.), Human Motives and Cultural Models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–20.

  • Wann, D. L., & Dolan, T. J. (1994). Attributions of highly identified sports spectators. The Journal of Social Psychology, 134(6), 783–792.

  • Wann, D. L., & Grieve, F. G. (2005). Biased evaluations of in-group and out-group spectator behavior at sporting events: The importance of team identification and threats to social identity. The Journal of Social Psychology, 145(5), 531–546.

Edited by
Monograph Book