N° 36, 2012/1 – The European Soccer Space. Institutional Dynamics and Social Constructions


edited by William Gasparini, Jean-François Polo, 2012/1 (n°36)


Special Report


William Gasparini, Jean-François Polo – The European Soccer Space. Institutional Dynamics and Social Constructions


William Gasparini, Mickaël Heidmann – The European Treatment of Young Migrant Football Players: A New Issue of Power at the European Level. New European Power Game

At the European level, we notice that the young migrant football players have often to face practices which are not complying with the European legislation in terms of immigration, as long as ethic principles for the Council of Europe. In the context of a new connection between the European Union and the Council of Europe since the entry into force of the Lisbon’s Treaty on December 1st 2009, our survey will aim at comprehending what is at stake in a new European migration’s policy toward the young professional sportsmen. An analysis carried out from the migration’s issue will allow us to understand the main questions of these crossroad and trans-national spaces where institutions, social groups and agents, among whom strategies and resources result, for the main part, from other structured social fields and which are contingent on the interests of groups and specific national stories, are in confrontation.


John Marks – UEFA, the EU and Financial Fair Play. « On ne dépense pas plus d’argent que l’on n’en génère ! »

This piece looks on the transformation that European football has undergone in recent times. Whilst acknowledging the importance and validity of the what has been identified as a process of Europeanisation, the piece argues that some thought needs to be given to a “political economy of football, particularly in the light of the current financial crisis. The concept of Financial Fair Play provides a useful focus for a consideration of the way in which profound questions are now being posed – both in football and in a wider context regarding the accumulation and distribution of various forms of capital.


Cornel Sandvoss – Jeux sans frontières ? Europeanisation and the erosion of national categories in European club football competition

Based on the study of secondary fan attachments among fans of the German Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen, this paper explores articulations of Europeanness in contemporary football fandom. Drawing om qualitative audience research with textually and enunciatively active fans and tracing the complex and hybrid identity formations among fans that are articulated through multiple, transnational fan objects, the paper argues that Europeanisation facilitates post national attachments within a European frame of changing horizons of experience.


Jean-François Polo – Political Stakes of Sport in Turkey. A Path to the EU?

In Turkey, sport has been continuously supported by the political authorities which try to promote the Turkish candidacy to the European Union through its capacity to organize sporting mega-events, its celebration of the Turkish sport victories or its use as an instrument of diplomacy. But sport, – being a social practice which participates to the dynamics of identity building – draws in Turkey tensions between “us the Turks and “them the Europeans which goes far beyond the sport fields and reveals the complex relationships of Turkey toward Europe which is reluctant to accept it in the EU.


Loïc Trégourès – Serbian Football Fans and the EU. Between Indifference and Rejection

The incidents in margin of the Belgrade Gay Parade in October 2010 showed that a few hundreds of very well organized hooligans were able to challenge the Serbian state. This parade, as well as the independence of Kosovo, are considered to be evidences of the degeneration of Serbian identity triggered off by Euro-atlantic integration. However, if the majority of Serbian football fans seem to be against European integration, the EU as such, though, is not the direct target of their political actions and revendications.


Andy Smith – Europe, Soccer, and Political Sociology. Concluding Remarks




Alistair Cole, Romain Pasquier – The impact of European integration on centre/periphery relations. A comparison France/United-Kingdom

The core research question in this article is a straightforward one : has EU regional policy, interpreted as a form of Europeanisation, produced policy change ? What explanatory variables might explain such change, or resistance to change ? These questions give rise to consideration of three main hypotheses to explain change : those of misfit, convergence and mobilisation. The three hypotheses are “tested with reference to two cases, France and the United Kingdom. The research thus captures two distinct state types that represent contrasting liberal democratic poles and yet contain sufficient variation to allow internal, as well as cross-national comparison. The cases considered offer some evidence of inertia (the management of structural funds reaffirming pre-existing national patterns of centre-periphery relations), some evidence of policy recalibration (in the UK devolved nations and the French regions), but none of policy transformation as a result of EU cohesion policy. As a more general point, structural funds policy is perhaps not the most appropriate instrument to measure policy change ; from this survey, structural funds are an epiphenomenon of deeper explanatory variables rooted mainly (but not exclusively) in domestic institutional orders and change.


Areas of Research


Albrecht Sonntag – Grids of Perception and Dynamics of Identity in the European Soccer Space. The FREE Project (Football Research in an Enlarged Europe), 7th PCRD, 2012–2015


Critical Readings


Xavier Saint Denis – Sociology of the European Union

Claire Visier – European and Turkish Opinions

Romain Tinière – The Origins of Human Rights in Europe: Legal Issues and Government Strategies (France, Great Britain, and Scandinavia, 1945–1970)