June 2017

Last modified: 29.06.2017


CIES Football Observatory’s latest Monthly Report analyses the composition of squads in five of the world’s most developed leagues in women’s football: Germany, Sweden, France, England and the United States. It notably shows that women’s football is generating more and more international movements. With the exception of the French league, players attached to clubs outside of the national association where they have started their careers form at least one-fifth of the team’s squads. In total, 274 footballers were expatriated in the 55 analysed clubs of which only 5 clubs did not field any expatriate player (record date 1st June 2017).

Canada is the main exporter of footballers to the leagues surveyed in this report with 23 players, followed by US Americans (22) and Dutch players (22). In total, 47 associations from all confederations have expatriates in the leagues analysed. The German Frauen Bundesliga attracts the biggest number of origins (30). In the other leagues of the sample, this number varies between 12 (England) and 21 (Sweden).The study also points to the value of expatriate players in professional football: In all the championships, the relative presence of expatriate players is greater on the pitch than in squads. The observation of greater playing time for footballers from abroad is particularly noteworthy in the Swedish Damallsvenskan and the US Women’s National Soccer League. In total, expatriates represent 22.3% of squads and play 26.3% of minutes. In the two cases, the highest values were recorded in the German Frauen Bundesliga.The report (No. 26) was published in June 2017 and can be downloaded at http://www.football-observatory.com/-Reports-


The Football Collective is hosting their second annual conference at the University of Limerick in late November. Established in the UK in 2016 ‘The Football Collective’ is a dedicated International network of over 200 academics and practitioners across a range of disciplines (Sociology, Business Management, Economics and Finance, Political Science, Gender Studies, History, Social Media and Fan Studies, Corporate Governance, Musicology etc).

Through sharp analysis and research it has provided a platform for thought provoking critical debate in football studies. The theme of the conference is ‘football, politics and popular culture’ and they welcome papers or panel proposals on football migration. Abstracts and panel proposals are due on 6th September. If you are interested in forming part in a panel on football and migration please contact Paul Darby. This link provides more detail:



By Nina Szogs, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017

Football is a crucial part of many people’s everyday lives in Europe – even if they do not like football they cannot escape from it. It is talked about in the media, at the work-place, among family and friends. Fandom does not only happen on a local level but is increasingly intertwined with transnational and translocal discourses – and with migration. Europeanisation, transnationalisation and migration processes are deeply entangled in football fandom practices.

The book is based on ethnographic fieldwork of 18 months in Austria, Turkey and Germany and focuses on fans in Vienna that support a club abroad. Particularly the Turkish, German, Croatian and Serbian diaspora in Vienna established fan clubs and many fans regularly frequent fan bars to follow the respective football league. The supporters of the two Istanbul clubs Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe have a big fan base in Vienna and are therefore particularly visible in the city on match days on the streets and in front of bars. The ethnographic studies show how these fans interpret, adapt to and subvert local, national, European, transnational and global processes. One of the main parts of the book is the analysis of the meanings and strategies that Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray supporters link to their football fandom practices from an actor-centred and inductive approach.

Particularly within the field of migration research, discussions often form part of larger political debates. This also applies to the interplay of football fandom and migration. Consequently, the study on the intermingling of migration and football fandom provides detailed insights into recent discourses in society. Migrant fans are, like female fans or queer fans, still a neglected field in football fan research and are often considered as a non-regular and exceptional part of football fan cultures. In this book, it becomes clear that football discourses and fan discourses intersect with migration discourses to a large extent. Consequently, narratives about football fandom are often linked to migration experiences. This particularly includes practices of (self )ethnicisation in the diasporic context in Austria. Here, prejudices, stereotypes and other hegemonic discourses about different people and groups in an Austrian society and also in Europe intersect in a nexus of attributions and self-attributions. Constructions of ethnicities, masculinities, femininities, subculture and class meet in football fan performances and in the construction of what makes a (proper) football fan. The intersection of, for example, negative attributions on different levels is what makes this research particularly socio-politically relevant. Turkish football fandom is a field where various and discursive powerful prejudices, stereotypes and clichés amalgamate and interact. The analysis of these social and cultural processes that are relevant to many people’s everyday lives reveals hegemonies in society and their subversion in and via football fandom practices.


Two members of the network (Esson and Darby) have been commissioned to undertake a piece of desk based research on behalf of UNICEF UK which examines the ‘sites’ of interaction between the global football industry’s recruitment networks and practices and the rights of the child enumerated in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The research seeks to identify tensions between policy and regulatory frameworks within the football industry and the UNCRC and to summarise the risks posed to children’s rights by existing recruitment processes. Uniquely for research on this topic, we will also examine how legal and regulatory frameworks correspond with cultural understandings of a child/youth/adult in different regions. UNICEF intend to use the final report to guide further research in this area.

James and Paul are working on this project with other colleagues from Loughborough University (Carolynne Mason and Serhat Yilmaz) and from the University of Liverpool (Eleanor Drywood).  


The Center for African Studies with support from The Institute of European Studies and The Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at the University of California, Berkeley hosted a research workshop May 9-10, 2017 on African Athletes & Migration to the European Union– Beyond Men’s Football.

There is a growing body of scholarly work on migration related to sport. With respect to Africa, this research has mainly focused on male footballers leaving Africa for Europe. What of women footballers and of athletes in other sports? What of EU-based coaches, agents and medical personnel working in sports in Africa? With funding from the European Union-funded Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at UC Berkeley, this workshop looked beyond men's football to explore other aspects of sport-related migration between Africa and the European Union. Goals of the workshop included:

To assess whether and how what we have learned about men’s football (soccer) migration is applicable in other arenas;
To assess progress in knowledge production around women’s football and Africa-EU migration;
To map out promising and innovative areas of research, especially in sports other than football;
To consider theories, methods and data sources for pursuing this research;
To consider various ways of disseminating knowledge and promoting discussion, including through journalism, graphic novels, and other media;
To generate new research questions;
To connect with the Sport Migration Network based at Aarhus University in Denmark;
To introduce this topic to scholars and students at UC Berkeley and in the Bay Area.

The day and a half workshop included panels, a round-table and a summary session. The first panel covered an assessment of the current state of theory, methods, data, research and knowledge on the migration of African footballers, male and female, to Europe. Subsequent panels turned to other sports, especially athletics and basketball. In all panels, gender was a key frame for analysis. In the roundtable, participants focused on the practicalities of conducting such research. The final session summarized critical next steps for theorizing and conducting research on migration and African athletes. More details on the programme can be found here.


The Network is happy to welcome the following new member:

Gerard Akindes