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Building Europe with the Ball

Turning Points in the Europeanization of Football, 1905–1995

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Edited By Philippe Vonnard, Grégory Quin and Nicolas Bancel

Since 1990, football history has become increasingly important within the field of sport science, yet few studies have centred on the Europeanization of the game from the interwar period onwards. This period saw the creation of a sovereign institution dedicated to European football, the establishment of specific rules about players’ transfers and contracts and, in particular, the development of competitions.
This book examines the development of European football between 1905 and 1995 from a transnational perspective. It offers a space for discussion to both early-career and established historians from a range of different countries, leading to a better understanding of the crucial turning points in the Europeanization of the game. The volume aims to promote valuable new reflections on the role of football in the European integration process.

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Part II: The Second Europeanization: A EuropeanTurning Point (1930s to the 1960s)

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Part II The Second Europeanization: A European Turning Point (1930s to the 1960s) Nicola Sbetti 4 The Quest for Legitimacy: The Road to Redemption for Italian Football in Europe after the Second World War (1943–1949) Introduction In May 1939, the international prestige of Italian football was at its height. After victories in two World Cups (1934, 1938), in two International Cups (1930, 1935), by drawing 2–2 in San Siro against England, the Azzurri had demonstrated that they played well enough to challenge the supremacy of the English masters in the game. One year later, Mussolini’s decision to enter the Second World War alongside Nazi Germany changed the scenario completely. The foreign policy decisions of the Fascist government, which dragged the country into a catastrophic conflict, also deeply affected Italian sport. In fact, at the end of the war Italy had to face a period of exclusion from a significant number of International Sport Federations (ISFs), that in some cases (swimming, gymnastics, ice skating and tennis) lasted until 1947.1 Curiously, the echo and the memory of this ‘quarantine’ are limited and the re-entry of Italy into the international sports arena after the Second World War is under-studied, especially if we compare it with the German case.2 The main reason is probably the fact that Italy, in contrast to Germany and Japan, could actually participate in the 1948 Olympic Games. However, another important factor was the fact that the official strategy of Italian sporting diplomacy was to minimize the impact...

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