Introduction: The Global Football League
‘Globalisation’ has become a key theme in social scientific debates since the early 1990s (Delanty 2000: 82). However, it has been used to refer to widely ranging social transformations across the world, often in connection to processes related to national sovereignty and borders (see also Held et al. 1999; Dicken 1998). Since ‘globalisation’ is a contested term (Beck 2000), it is tempting to talk about the ‘globalisation of nothing’ (Ritzer 2003) and assert that the use of the term becomes so wide it loses much of its potency. However, adopting this argument ignores the social changes which clearly continue to impact upon societies around the world. Despite Luhmann’s (1990) and Robertson’s (1992: 58–60) claims that globalisations and world-societies have existed since at least the fifteenth century, there are recent changes — with respect to time-space distanciations and compressions (Giddens 1990; Harvey 1990) — that have, in some ways, led to increasing global interconnections. Sport has not been exempt from this, and one result is the emerging literature which explores the ‘globalisation’ of football. In 1999, Giulianotti explicitly addressed the issues with his wide-ranging sociological discussion of ‘the global game’, while Sandvoss (2003) discussed the changing consumption patterns of football fans across the world, which are directed by changes in media coverage of matches.
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