Short overview: The global spectacle of football
Today football is regularly referred to as a global
game. Women’s football is considered to be the fastest growing game in the
what do we mean by the term global and is every country in the world involved
in football or a member of FIFA – the world governing body? How does the growth
of Olympic football compare with the growth of football at the World Cups? How
do global forces impact upon local football – or where you are?
Global football: Part I
I have tried to explore what we mean by the terms needed to examine the
arguments about why football may be thought of as global.
Do you think
football is global and if you do what does that exactly mean for you?
What evidence or
facts would you draw upon to support your answer?
perspective could help provide an insight into the fact that football was not
always global and when it changed to become more international.
Read the article
below and try and understand for yourself whether football is in fact global or
increasingly international only.
Let’s take Motherwell Football Club, a Scottish club that
dates back to 1886 as our reference point. A club that is embedded within its
local community, and is known today for the amount of talent, home-grown youth
talent, that comes through into the first team. But Motherwell has also over
the years been international in outlook. From a very early stage in its
development, Motherwell played as far as South America and teams in Brazil from
the 1920s and the 1930s onwards. More recently, it has played in a number of
European competitions, regularly qualifying for UEFA competitions.
So Motherwell, a local club, international in outlook,
having international players that play for a wide variety of countries, not
just Scotland but more recently players are signing up for clubs in Ireland and
Estonia as well.
What do we mean by global football? Clearly football as a
game is played all over the world. People watch it. Finance flows all over the
world through football. People bet on it. Motherwell Football Club is both a
local club but an international club. It has supporters’ clubs in many parts of
the world. So we have to be very careful when we use this term “global
The term “global football” is used to describe
the growth and influence of football. FIFA tell us that 270 million people are
involved in playing or officiating. Billions of people watch the World Cup
every four years. In 2014, Bosnia and Herzegovina became the 77th country to
take part in the World Cup finals. 46% percent of the population watched at
least one minute of the 2010 World Cup. You can use these fact and others to
argue that football is increasing its presence in the world in terms of
participation, the number of countries involved, and viewing figures. Evidence
and data is important when making such claims.
Discussions of global football use a number of terms.
These can be complex.
There are no agreed definition. A brief description of
the following terms may be useful. It might be easier to think of the terms
“global” and “international.” Globalisation is the process
of integration arising from the exchange of money, culture, ideas, politics,
and people. It is often used to describe a single world economy or a one worldview.
It is a historical process, which means rates of globalisation change over
Human societies across the globe have established closer
contacts over many centuries, but the pace of change has accelerated recently.
The term “globalisation” helps us to describe and analyse a number of
social, political, and economic changes that have affected football. We’ve been
talking there about the term “global” and “globalisation”. Is
the term global football a good thing or a bad thing? What are the values that
are associated with global football? Are they good? Are they bad? Could they be
Should we really talk about global or international
football? And let’s not forget that relationship between the local and the
global and the international. Internationalisation denotes a high level of
international interaction between states, companies, and transnational
agreements. The term is used to distinguish a position from globalisation. It
involves the growing tendency to work across national boundaries. This term
denotes levels of interdependence.
Internationalisation is a process shaped by agreements
between nations, states, and transnational operators. The term
“internalisation” helps us describe and analyse trends and growth in
football that is ongoing, but not yet totally global. The term is sometimes
opposed to the values associated with globalisation.
A third term is development.
The term is wide and varied, but when the term is used in
the context of global football, it usually refers to a process that normally
notes a change from a less to a more desirable state. It is often used in
discussion of developing countries where football for development is closely
associated with international development goals. Development and uneven
development often refer to relations between economically and politically
powerful states and less powerful states, and how this relationship affects the
development of football.