Global football: Part II
How the definition
of globalisation connects to football.
Here, I have tried
to describe the concentration of power as being from the centre to the
periphery or from the core to the outside or from the outside to the core which
is what makes football global.
that makes football global is the connection of the small clubs and the big
five football leagues trying to drain talent from them?
If the talent of a football club is dependent on that
talent moving on to a more financially bigger club, what does that mean for
clubs that are continually producing young talent and selling it on?
If you think about that relationship– of having to sell
your players on to bigger clubs– in the context of the relationship between
small countries and big countries, cores and peripheries.
If a country is continually dependent on selling its
football talent on to a bigger country, what implications does that have for
the development of that country, or the development of talent in that smaller
country? So the relationship between core and periphery, the relationship
between a financially strong football club and a feeder club, these are
relationships which are the heart of this discussion on global football. Now,
if we develop that point a little bit further. Here we will talk about the big
five financially-powerful football leagues. All of them are in Europe.
What is the consequence of what we’ve just been talking
about? The drain of talent. The flow of footballers from less-wealthy places to
the wealthiest places. What does that mean in terms of the flow of footballers
into the big five football leagues in the world? If countries around the
world– Brazil, for example– are continually feeding their best young talent
into these big five football leagues in Europe, what does that mean for the
countries that these players have come from? Is it a continual feeder
relationship? Is there a talent drain from country B to country A? Do these
five financially wealthy European football leagues continually depend upon a
flow of talent from less-wealthy places?
And what are the benefits to developing countries from
that flow of talent into these five big football leagues? In a nutshell, where
does the money go? Where should it go? And who really benefits from the flow of
football finance around the world? So what is globalisation? Globalisation has
been described as the widening, speeding up, and deepening of the way in which
the world is connected. The term has been used to reflect the compression of
the world as one whole world. It refers to a phase of development, which
distinguishes it from the past. There are at least two competing notions of
Firstly, there is the notion of a world of global
And the issue there is whether football– or global
football– can help that global community.
So what does global football do to help the notion of a
global community of citizens?
The second notion of globalisation is in terms of the
free market. The global market of finance, some use the notion of capitalism.
And what is the impact of that global free trade market? So one notion of
globalisation based around common causes and community and citizenship. And
another notion of globalisation based around the flow of money, the flow of
finance, the free trade of money, and capitalism. And in each of these cases,
what is the impact on different parts of the world? Is it good or is it bad?
Does it help or does it use different places and people?
Now, when we talk about some of these ideas related to
globalisation, there are at least four ways in which they connect with global
football or international football.
And the four ways are political, economic, cultural, and
This refers to the increasing or decreasing number of
football organisations that influence or govern international football. The two
major ones being FIFA and, to a lesser extent, the International Olympic
Committee. But we also have UEFA– the Union of European Football Association–
and many others.
In August 2014, Real Madrid were ranked top club by UEFA,
and yet, at this time, Spain was having a number of economic issues. Barcelona,
spent a vast amount of money to acquire Luis Suarez, whose salary alone was
estimated to be 10 million pounds. And this was in a country where rates of
unemployment at the time were high. The exchange of finance, trade, and capital
across national boundaries, including the trade of football players and
merchandise, the operation, control, and distribution of football finances, often
contribute to whether countries and places are winners or losers.
It’s now more than 20 years ago since the Brazilian Pele
asked the question, when will a team from Africa win the World Cup?
Africa as a continent is a useful thing to think about in
the context of our discussion on globalisation.
Whether we agree with the notion of globalisation which
refers to human citizenship and working for the common good, or the other
definition of globalisation, which refers to the free market economy.
If you think about both of these notions of globalisation,
does football help Africa?
In terms of social responsibility and health for some of
the poorest parts of the world, does some of the money from football go to
helping good causes in Africa? On the other hand, does the immense talent of
African footballers from different parts of Africa mean that there is a drain
of talent out of Africa?
Not only into the big five football leagues, but into
other parts of the world? And how much of that money goes back to Africa? So in
the context of the discussion which was started at least by a question that
Pele asked 20 years ago, does global football help or hinder Africa? What do
you think? This term refers to the growth and exchange of culture between
nations and people. Many have pointed to the growth of commercial television,
internet, and social media platforms as having created a world in which
football consumption is more identical than different. Football is part of the
cultural exchange whereby diffusion of culture takes place.
Has the exchange of football culture influenced national
or local cultures into being more similar or different? Technology, of course,
is an important aspect of how ideas about culture flow across the world.
Footballers help this. Footballers are icons. Which,
because of technology, because of social media, because of their celebrity
status, they become icons for fashion, for tastes. But also, they carry
messages about other things, such as peace and conflict. All of which is helped
because of the relationship between technology and culture. Technology helping
ideas about culture flow to different parts of the world. The footballer Didier
Drogba intervened when his country, Ivory Coast, was at war. He pleaded for
peace. His celebrity status as an international footballer, an icon within his
own home country of the Ivory Coast, meant that he was an obvious person for
carrying key messages.
This became known as Drogba diplomacy.
So can international footballers carry diplomatic
political messages which help intervene in important situations? This term
helps us to explain that shifting patterns of migration across different parts
of the world has turned issues of migration, immigration, and social welfare
into a major issue. The movements of footballers and the patterns of movement
between countries means that football is not immune from these broader patterns
of migration. And social globalisation helps us to explain this.