This paper looks at the Europeanisation of football, which can be understood as a process of rescaling wherein spatial and temporal dimensions are central. It discusses the creation of trans-national club competitions, the increase in player mobility across borders, and the European Super League as examples of this process, highlighting that the legitimacy of such rescaling depends, in its substance, on very specific interactions between the local and the European, and, as a process, on the participation of a wide variety of actors. At a time where the resistance to EU integration increases, spatial and temporal perspectives offer important insights into the experience of European integration: what it means to live with and under EU law.
The transfer system is a peculiar institution exclusive to international football. It fascinates the fans as much as it repulses almost everyone else. In short, it is a system created by FIFA to commodify the movement of players between clubs across the world. It is justified by the aim to preserve the stability of employment contracts between players and clubs and, yet, each year FIFA celebrates the (until Covid-19) steadily growing number of transfers (negotiated breaches of contract) and fees. The transfer market is not only a source of economic windfalls and speculation for clubs, it also incentivizes a range of illegal or at least immoral activities: human trafficking, corruption, tax evasion, labour abuses. This paper questions the purpose of the transfer system, highlighting the negative externalities it creates, and discusses whether the EU could and should intervene to regulate tha transfer market, or abolish it altogether.
There is a growing sense that European football is not in a good place. Although overall successful from a sporting and financial perspective, it is increasingly criticised for incentivising problematic investments, creating inequalities between clubs, excluding fans from governance structures, and insufficiently supporting female players, among many other things. This paper will argue that the EU can contribute to improving this state of affairs. It will explore three avenues through which change can be effected: these range from the adoption of EU legislation which would aim at subjecting professional football to proper regulatory standards, a path exemplified by the UK Independent Fan-Led Review; to a heightening of the intensity of scrutiny applied in EU case law and competition proceedings in football-related cases; to a re-thinking of the terms of cooperation with governing bodies like UEFA.
The past couple of years saw a rise in abuse and harassment allegations being made within football, from Afghanistan to Haiti, from England to Gabon. While in some cases those responsible for the abuse have been suspended and banned for life, in other cases investigations are ongoing. Based on the way these cases have been addressed so far, FIFA seems ill-equipped to deal with these cases, starting with a lack of clear and transparent rules on how to respond to such claims once they have been raised. This paper maps the way FIFA responded to a number of these cases to identify the shortcomings and identify ways in which this response can be affected-persons centred and human rights-compliant