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Globalising Women’s Football

Europe, Migration and Professionalization


Jean Williams

With an estimated 26 million female players globally (6 million based in Europe), the evolution of football has been dramatic. Growth in the women’s game has led to more widespread player migration as new forms of professionalism emerge. This work explores those patterns of movement into, and out of, Europe using new archival evidence and player interviews.


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Introduction: Europe, patterns of migration and the professionalization of women’s football 1


Introduction: Europe, Patterns of Migration and the Professionalization of Women’s Football +RZVKRXOGDKLVWRU\RI(XURSHEHFRQ¿JXUHG"7KLVVKRXOGQRWEHDVLPSOH collection of individual national stories. This is not the only, or perhaps even the best way, to attempt to trace a process of European historical development...In the context of sport, Lanfranchi and Taylor’s study of the patterns of professional footballer migration serves as a guide on how to EUHDNDZD\ IURPDQDWLRQDO¿[DWLRQ«:KDW LV(XURSH"+RZ LV LW UHSUH- VHQWHGWRXV"7RZKDWH[WHQWGRZHIHHO(XURSHDQ"2XUQRWLRQRI©(XURSHª must be seen in terms of these various issues, and not as territory con- structed with western-Eurocentric vision (Hill 2010: 1). 1. Post-war Europe and the rise of women’s football When, in 1951, six European states formed the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), via the Treaty of Paris, economic integration on the continent accelerated. The ensuing Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957 by Belgium, France rance, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, EHJDQWRPHUJHVRPHDUHDVRI¿VFDOSROLF\0RUHWKDQ¿IW\\HDUVODWHURYHU thirty states have become involved in a complex arrangement of political, social and cultural ties in the European Union (EU). However, there have EHHQVLJQL¿FDQWH[FHSWLRQV&ROG:DUSROLWLFVSDUWLFXODUO\DIIHFWHGFHQWUDO and eastern regions (Edelman 1993: 5-10). While federalists before the war described a possible union including the USSR, communist govern- ment in the countries of central and eastern Europe saw a Soviet «sphere RILQÀXHQFHªEHFRPHLQ&KXUFKLOO¶VZRUGVDQ©LURQFXUWDLQªE\0DUFK 1946 (Kowalski and Porter 1997: 100-21). The subsequent recommence- ment of the civil war in Greece, territorial demands on Turkey and claims...

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