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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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Xavier Breuil: 5 Football and the Construction of a European Area in the East: Ruptures and Continuities after 1945

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XAVIER BREUIL

5 Football and the Construction of a European Area in the East: Ruptures and Continuities after 1945

Introduction

During the interwar period, Central and Eastern Europe was the most dynamic region for the creation of proto-European football competitions. While the leaders of Western Europe procrastinated on the importance of launching a tournament for clubs or national teams, their Eastern European counterparts set up several international competitions: the Baltic Cup, the Balkan Cup, the Mitropa Cup and the International Cup.1 The advent of communist rule in several of these countries after 1945 and the gradual integration of the Soviet ‘Big Brother’ into the sports movement overturned the balance of football relations in Europe, impacting the competitions born at the end of the 1920s. Therefore, it is legitimate to explore the emergence of a communist European region in football and, hence, the place within this of the popular eastern democracies after 1945. Based on the archives of various football federations and on the Belgian, German and Austrian sporting press, we will explore the ruptures and continuities perceived after 1945 in Eastern Europe.2 Firstly, we will consider the creation and development of football competitions during the interwar period. Then, we will see to what extent the political, social and economic developments after the Second World War led to the emergence of a new Europe of football. Finally, we will show the limits of the political reconfiguration of football in this eastern part...

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