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Title: The European Union and the governance of football: a game of levels and agendas
Authors: Garcia, Borja
Keywords: European Union
Multilevel governance
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: © Borja García García
Abstract: The institutions of the European Union (EU) have been involved in football-related matters for more than 30 years without having a direct competence in sport. This apparent paradox is the starting point of this thesis, which investigates the origin, development and consequences of EU policies on football. The EU interventions in football issues are examined through a conceptual framework based on models of agenda-setting and multilevel governance. This thesis draws on qualitative research through primary sources, mainly semi-structured interviews and official documents. The most important policy initiatives and decisions of the EU on football matters can be grouped under three headings: freedom of movement for workers, football broadcasting and football governance. EU institutions did not become involved in football matters by their own volition, but as a result of their responsibilities to adjudicate in legal disputes related to freedom of movement for workers and competition policy. The commercialisation of professional football especially over the last few decades generated internal conflicts in the governance of football that were only resolved with recourse to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The EU has acted as an alternative policy venue for football stakeholders wishing to challenge the decisions of football federations. Thus, the EU and football appear as two systems of multilevel governance that have coexisted in parallel for some time but have since clashed as a result of the instrumentalisation of EU venues by football stakeholders. The policies of the EU on football are a compromise between two different visions of the game. Whereas football was initially introduced onto the EU agenda only in economic terms through the ECJ and the Commission, the EU has subsequently developed a more holistic and nuanced vision of football that takes into account its wider social and cultural values. The intervention of the Member States and the European Parliament, at the request of football governing bodies, facilitated the further evolution of EU policies on football. As a result of all these processes, the authority of federations such as the international football federation (Federation Internationale de Football Association, FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has been diffused in favour of a horizontal network of governance that includes representatives from players, clubs and leagues.
Description: A Doctoral thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/5609
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Politics and International Studies)

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