Having completed his PhD in British politics and
international development in 2012, Dr David Webber is now a Teaching Fellow and
Early Career Researcher in the Department of Politics and International Studies
at the University of Warwick.
David’s doctoral studies culminated in the publication of his first monograph, Global Statesman (2017) which examines the central role that the former Chancellor and Prime Minister, Gordon Brown played in the design and delivery of the international development policies implemented by the New Labour government.
Since completing his PhD, David’s research has since evolved to explore the cultural
political economy of English football, and focuses specifically upon the way
different fan groups have negotiated ‘the great transformation’ that the
English game has undergone over the past 30 years. He is particularly interested
in how English football might be democratised, and the prospects for a more
economically and socially inclusive sport.
Alongside this work, David has
appeared on a number of media outlets in Britain and across the world including
BBC, ITV, Sky, ABC (Australia), Al Jazeera, CNN, and France 24 to discuss the
political, economic and cultural impact of a number of football-related
stories. David is the Political Economy Editor of the Football Collective.
Doing Our Bit by Wearing the Kit: Liverpool FC, Standard Chartered and the Post-Colonial Subjectivities of ‘Sport-for-Development’ and Corporate Social Responsibility
Since 2012, Liverpool FC has for two matches per season displayed on its famous red shirts philanthropic messages concerning the global charitable initiatives of its main sponsor, Standard Chartered. This self-proclaimed ‘Perfect Match’ has led the club to commemorate World AIDS Day, and seek to raise awareness of avoidable blindness in the developing world through the bank’s ‘Seeing is Believing’ programme. More recently, this ‘match’ has also promoted ‘Global Goals’, a campaign “to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030”. The purpose of this paper is to consider the post-colonial subjectivities of this so-called ‘ethical’ shirt sponsorship. It notes how, on one level, a lucrative partnership between one of the world’s most famous football clubs and a banking institution firmly ensconced within the ‘new markets’ in which Liverpool would seek to extend its support, makes a great deal of commercial sense. Furthermore, such a partnership is an attractive vector for both club and sponsor to display a strong sense of corporate social responsibility through their joint support of these development-led initiatives. Critically however, these otherwise laudable commitments have been assimilated within a set of post-colonial hierarchies deemed crucial for consolidating the global economic ambitions that both Liverpool and Standard Chartered harbour. It is against this backdrop of imperial expansion that this paper concludes, these health issues have not only been simplistically portrayed but actually co-opted in the pursuit of wealth accumulation within the post-colonial spaces of these new markets.