The Migration of Elite Athletes

Authored by: Raffaele Poli , Loïc Ravenel

Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Sport

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415829731
eBook ISBN: 9780203404065
Adobe ISBN: 9781134116621

10.4324/9780203404065.ch41

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Abstract

Football is often considered as an activity which has developed hand in hand with the process of globalization. As the late historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote, ‘There is nothing that illustrates globalization better than the evolution of football in recent years. This sport has become truly international, and teams are no longer tied to a particular country, and even less to a city. There is a nucleus of world class players who are recruited and run around the world, as happened before for the divas of the opera or the great conductors’ 1 (2000: 132). In his book on the cosmopolitan vision, German sociologist Ulrich Beck also proposes a parallel between football and globalization. He underlines that players under contract with Bayern Munich, the club in his hometown, ‘are neither from Bavaria, nor from Munich; they are of many different nationalities, speak many different languages and have many different passports’. For him, ‘Bayern Munich stands for a profane cosmopolitan “We” in which the boundaries between internal and external, the national and the international have long since been transcended’ (2006: 11).

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