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Building Europe with the Ball

Turning Points in the Europeanization of Football, 1905–1995


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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Grégory Quin: 2 Central Europe Rules European Football: The ‘Golden Age’ of Regional Connections in European Football (1926–1938)


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2 Central Europe Rules European Football: The ‘Golden Age’ of Regional Connections in European Football (1926–1938)1


During the interwar period, as a consequence of the spread of modern sports from England to the rest of the world, football experienced an unprecedented development and saw the influences weighing on it begin to multiply in the context of the progressive professionalization of the sport, both on the field and in its administration. Controlled by an international institution (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), founded in 1904), football took on diplomatic and political aspects,2 acquired an economic dimension,3 and reached into every social class across Europe, although the processes involved differed from one country to another.4 Along with this, and beyond the dynamics of the sport’s democratization, a process of exacerbation of sporting nationalisms began to develop around football, offering increasing possibilities for the masses to identify with the sporting ‘values’ and ‘performances’ of each country5 – a process nurtured by the advent of more regular international competitions, pitting not just clubs but nations against each other on an increasingly more regular calendar.

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