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Europeanisation, Bosman and the Financial ‘Crisis’ in English Professional Football: Some Sociological Comments

Platts, Chris, and Smith, Andy. (2007) Europeanisation, Bosman and the Financial ‘Crisis’ in English Professional Football: Some Sociological Comments. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)

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    [From the introduction]. During the last two decades there has been growing concern over what has been described as the financial ‘crisis’ in English football. This is not just a media-inspired view, but one that has emanated increasingly from within the football authorities in England, government ministers and others within the professional game following the formation of the Premier League in 1992. It is also a view that has come to be expressed – particularly in light of the financial management of clubs before and after the introduction of the Bosman ruling in 1995 – about the financial position of football clubs elsewhere in Europe, such as Italy, Spain and Germany. Lago, Simmons and Szymanski (2006: 5), for example, have suggested that ‘the imbalance between income and expenditures, and … evidence of rising debt’ serve to ‘demonstrate the possibility of a crisis’ in European professional football. Similarly, the former Chief Executive of UEFA, Lars-Christer Olsson suggests ‘you have clubs now where the turnover is €200m-€300m (£140m-£205m) and they still make a loss. This is very unhealthy, and stupid’. In addition, he argues ‘The growing wealth gap between clubs, and the resulting predictability of the league title race in so many European countries, is a key issue. If left unchecked it will kill off a lot of the interest in football, which depends on unpredictability of outcome to keep fans’ (Olsson, 2006: 16). Set in this context, the objective of this paper is to offer the beginnings of a sociological explanation which highlights the extent to which Europeanisation processes, among others, have helped to make a central, though largely unplanned and unforeseen, contribution to the increasingly unequal concentration of financial resources among only a handful of clubs in English professional football. More specifically, by drawing upon aspects of figurational sociology and focusing, in particular, upon the differential interdependencies or relational networks in which football clubs are located, we shall argue that these processes can be explained in terms of the outcomes of the complex combination of intended and unintended consequences of dynamic networks of human relations which are lengthening and becoming more complex on both a European and global scale before analysing the correlative emergence of the Europeanisation process and some of the consequences this has had for professional football in England.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > europeanisation/europeanization & European identity
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    Countries > U.K.
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > business/private economic activity
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2007 (10th), May 17-19, 2007
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2008
    Page Range: p. 15
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:51

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