State of Play, the next film in the award-winning BT Sport Films series, will premiere at 10.30pm on Wednesday 29 May on BT Sport 2.

Based on the bestselling book by Michael Calvin, State of Play is a continuation of the award-winning author’s fascination with the human side of a game that creates international sporting legends. Narrated by Calvin himself, and featuring a wide range of contributors, from talismanic players to managers at different stages of their careers, the film is a fascinating look at the modern game, looking at the role of:

  • The Player: how does the current generation of British players, both here and abroad, cope with the pressures of playing in an age dictated by social media? Are they dehumanised by the modern game?
  • The Manager: in what way has the role of a manager changed in recent years?
  • The Club: at what point do clubs become corporate vehicles? Are they too detached from the communities they represent?
  • Society: who are the people working behind the scenes to enrich lives and combat far-reaching problems?

State of Play features interviews with a diverse range of figures from all levels of the game including Gareth Bale, Frank Lampard, Danny Rose, Jadon Sancho, Emma Hayes, Joe Montemurro, Sam Allardyce, Sean Dyche, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Les Ferdinand.

Broader issues are addressed by Troy Townsend, Head of Education for Kick it Out, and Dawn Astle, daughter of former England forward Jeff Astle, whose premature death led to a 17-year campaign to highlight the dangers of concussion in sport. Ryan Atkin, the first openly gay professional referee, speaks about the challenges facing any prominent player, wishing to come out.

Tackling key topics like racism and homophobia, and supporting mental health, player welfare, and the rise of women’s football, the film is the second collaboration between BT Sport Films and Calvin that look at the broad societal impacts of the sport. It follows on from No Hunger in Paradise, which explored the perils and pitfalls of football’s academies and youth development.  

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “State of Play is both a confrontation of modern football’s flaws and a celebration of its virtues. The film continues BT Sport Films’ strong output of original films this season, following Too Good to Go Down, the story of how relegation allowed Manchester United to find a new identity, and Two Tribes, which examines how football was able to breathe new life into the city of Liverpool in the 1980s.”

Tom Boswell is the film’s producer and director with Sally Brown its executive producer for BT Sport. It is the latest in the award-winning BT Sport Films series:

  • Brothers in Football: the extraordinary true story of how South London amateurs Corinthian-Casuals, set out on a pilgrimage to finally play a historic match that was abandoned on the eve of the Great War
  • Too Good to Go Down: rarely-told story of how relegation in the mid-1970s enabled the modern-day Manchester United to emerge
  • Two Tribes: focuses on the city of Liverpool during the 1980s and how, against a backdrop of social unrest, the city’s two football teams rose to bring a fresh hope and a new identity to Merseyside.  

In addition to acclaimed original films, BT Sport is the sole home of the UEFA Champions League, continues with Premier League coverage, is offering more matches than before from the Emirates FA Cup and continues with exclusive coverage of MotoGP. BT Sport is also the home of domestic and European club rugby, while boxing fans can look forward to a top-class line up of fight nights featuring boxers from the Frank Warren stable.

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