english premier league

As an iconic British brand and soft power asset, the Premier League engages a more global audience through its Asia Trophy.

The English Premier League recently signed its biggest deal outside of the UK. Chinese electronics giant Suning has stumped up £560m for the television rights to broadcast its games to the growing legion of fans there. But it’s not just the size of the agreement that’s eye-catching. It’s a double display of soft power at work: by both China and the UK.

Football, contrary to many other banned fun activities and hobbies, was one of the most popular sports and was played all over the country even during Taliban government. The teams played nationally and regionally. After the collapse of Taliban rule, sport in general, but especially football, began to flourish and significant achievements in football were made both nationally and at international level.

It’s quite difficult, to be honest, for the government to do that [control] because many of these soft power tools are not things that we have direct control over. Even if we did try to influence them, that would be — to use the English phrase — the kiss of death, because the fact that the government was doing it would actually detract from the effectiveness of those soft power tools.