A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Discusses social issues like race, sexism, homophobia, labor inequities, and mental health in football, and how this reflects broader national and global values and practices.
Positive Role Models
Introduces a range of professional players, coaches, and organizations that are committed to equalizing all aspects of the sport. It also points to some who are not.
Athletes, coaches, experts, and others are from different parts of the world, and footballers of different ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and social class are prominently featured. The difficulties experienced by women, LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants, and players of color to participate in, and be embraced by, the sport are addressed. The human rights violations against these communities are also discussed.
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Violence & Scariness
Racist spectators are shown giving Nazi salutes, shouting epithets, and throwing objects at Black and African players. Threatening and bigoted social media posts are also shown. Archive images show female footballers being pushed or grabbed by police. The threat to the lives of players, LGBTQ+ community members, and others is discussed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One episode features drawings and close-up images of people's behinds. Crude references like "c--k block" are sometimes made.
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Words like "ass" and "goddamn," and curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are audible. British swear words, many of which are presented in a racist or sexist context, are also introduced in one episode.
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Products & Purchases
Logos for Adidas, Nike, Puma, Bud Light, Emirates, Spotify, Coca-Cola, and other corporate sponsors are visible. The logos for football clubs around the world are highlighted. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are also featured, and discussions about how players make money from this are had. Excerpts from different movies and TV shows are shown throughout as part of the humor.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen drug and alcohol abuse, and the way football has helped reduce this problem in some countries, is discussed in one episode.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The World According to Football is a documentary series that addresses serious social issues through the topic of football (soccer). Racism, sexism, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and other serious global issues are discussed, and specific examples of racist, sexist, and homophobic behaviors are shown. There's cursing and crude humor, some occasional strong innuendo, and alcohol and drug use among teens is briefly discussed. There are lots of sport and endorsement logos, social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are shown, and the way players can make money from both is discussed.
Is It Any Good?
The unique and insightful docuseries creatively examines important social issues by using football as a way of contextualizing them. From the lost decades of women's football in Brazil due to a nearly 40-year ban of women from the sport, to the United States' "pay to play" system, which prevents kids from underserved or "othered" communities from playing club soccer, The World According to Football demonstrates how a country's football culture reflects national and global systems of political, economic, and sociocultural power. It also highlights the different ways individuals within the football community are challenging the practices reinforced by these systems and spearheading change within the sport.
The weightiness of the topics and events discussed is mildly offset by Trevor Noah's trademark humor, and by excerpts from popular movies and TV shows that are included for some laughs. But none of this takes away from the intelligent and honest conversations about the inequities that persist in the sport, and how this is directly linked to the history and practices of the countries in which it's played. You don't have to be a football (or soccer!) fan to appreciate what's being offered here, but chances are you'll come away with more respect for those who continue to work hard to make the sport, and the world, better for everyone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.