2012 September | FREE

Archive the month of September 2012

September 23, 2012

DO you think football is just about Ball and Money?

A new documentary on 5 inspiring stories of football players: Football Rebels

Presented by Eric Cantona.

Might offer a bit of inspiration in the upcoming FREE Conference on Footbal History.

Post by : Özgehan Şenyuva in the category : Identities, Posts, Public Sphere - 1 comment

September 17, 2012


This week  the Champions League starts again, celebrating at the same time the twentieth anniversary of its inception. There is a lot that can be said against its rationale, its accessibility and its consequences, but even the most nostalgic of observers will have to admit that from a purely marketing point of view, the Champions League is a formidable product.

The Champions League was the iPad of football: it was not really a new product, just a kind of extremely carefully packaged crossover of existing formats, and consumers had not really expressed any urgent desire for replacing the good old European Champion Clubs’ Cup. But it imposed a new ‘premium’ product category with an extraordinary well-defined and well-designed brand identity. And it did its job of eliminating UEFA’s potential competitor – the project of  a break-away Super-League by a closed circle of European top clubs.

Unchanged for 20 years already: the Champions League logo.

What the marketing experts at TEAM in Lucerne managed to create is an event that, like the Tour de France, is more important than the champions themselves, whatever their individual prestige. It did so by imposing the same audio-visual environment on all participants: an excellent new product name that was not yet connotated in any way and easily translatable into all European languages; an omnipresent logo with a high recognition value; the same pre-kick-off ceremony imported to club football from the national teams but with only one – transnational – neo-baroque anthem; the same exclusive event sponsors flagged at the same places in all stadia concerned; and most important of all, the rigorous simultaneity of all matches.

Given the huge difference across the continent in time perception, especially when it comes to the definition of ‘evening’ or ‘dinner time’, the fact that the Champions League has defined and imposed 8.45 pm as the definitive ‘prime time’ of the Europe of football is a most striking example for the power of markets in setting new standards. Imagine what the reaction would be if any political entity imposed a ‘standard’ time slot for, say, evening TV news all over Europe… The Champions League has created a transnational time zone of its own, and everybody has accepted its dictatorship.

Post by : Albrecht Sonntag in the category : Governance, Posts, Public Sphere - No comment

September 9, 2012

Football and democracy

Two recent books about the crisis of contemporary democracy. One by a renowned French political philosopher, the other by a German law professor – both underpinned by a deep concern about the direction in which our European societies are heading.

Pierre Rosanvallon writes about the ‘Society of Equals’ (1). His book is a plea to revisit the original democratic ideal of the French and American revolutions. According to him, the democratic idea has three dimensions: it is not only embodied in representative institutions and kept alive through a public culture of practiced citizenship, but it is also a project of creating a world of equals. The first two dimensions are not in such a bad shape: whatever one may say, our democratic institutions function pretty well, and citizens are increasingly making good use of all available communication channels for expressing criticism and demands. It’s the idea of equality which keeps regressing: social classes have nothing in common any more and this trend inevitably hollows out democracy as a whole.

Post by : Albrecht Sonntag in the category : Posts, Public Sphere - No comment