Global and local interactions in football : comparing the development paths of Finland and Hungary
Published inStudies in sport, physical education and health
The aim of this study is to increase understanding of football’s global and local contexts. More specifically, the development paths of Finnish and Hungarian football are explored and compared in four research articles from different perspectives within a global framework. These viewpoints, in addition to a historical-sociological overview in the article I, cover closely interrelated phenomena observable in the landscape of top-level football: the organization of elite youth football, the professionalization of players and the development of football stadiums. The main research question of the study is as follows: In what way have glocal interactions in men’s football shaped the development paths of less developed football countries such as Finland and Hungary? The theoretical framework is formulated around the globalization of football within the social sciences of sport. The main approaches applied are figurational sociology and the concept of the duality of glocality. The research data consisted of thirty-six semi-structured expert interviews with Finnish and Hungarian football practitioners, media and club documents and data from observation. The data were transcribed, coded and themed according to the research questions of each article. The results suggest that the player pathways and the financing of elite youth clubs differ considerably in the two settings. In the 2010s, for example, the main source of income for Finnish clubs is provided by households. On the other hand, Hungarian clubs earn the majority of their revenues through a corporate tax scheme and support from the Hungarian Football Federation. Simultaneously, professionalization, growing amount of full-time coaches and expanding social networks are typical in both countries and suggest homogenization processes at work. Since the 1980s, football players in Finland have transitioned from amateur status into different levels of semi-professionals whereas in Hungary the movement has been from hidden professionals to professionals. The development of players’ unions has mirrored the professionalization of players. However, in neither of the countries have football players achieved the status of regular employees to date. Regarding football stadiums in the 2000s, international and national governing bodies have strengthened their control over the different aspects of stadiums, indicating increasing standardization. Importing knowledge, increasing specialization and the appearance of commercial elements have been typical trends in both countries. On the other hand, the size of the facilities and the types of playing surfaces have been adjusted to the given football environment. In addition, facility development and stadium management solutions have differed in the two countries. The findings indicate that the interactions of local as well as global forces are reflected in the development paths of football. This means that the diverse roots and routes of football mirror the social, economic, cultural and political background of the given country. In Finland, it was a strong civil society and the amateur origins of football, while in Hungary it was the state socialist past and the strong national status of football. At the same time, however, both countries have been increasingly integrated into the global football system. Football practitioners can benefit from the understanding gained by discussing what the concepts of, for example, youth football club, football academy and professional player represent in different localities. Further practical applications are provided by exploring the increasing commercialization of football as well as the ways of acquiring knowledge in the various segments of the sport. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
- Artikkeli I: Szerovay, M., Itkonen, H. & Vehmas, H. 2017. ‘Glocal’ processes in peripheral football countries: A figurational sociological comparison of Finland and Hungary. Soccer & Society 18 (4) 497–515. DOI: 10.1080/14660970.2015.1067785.
- Artikkeli II: Szerovay, M., Perényi S. & Itkonen, H. 2016. Glocal processes in peripheral football countries: Elite youth football clubs in Finland and Hungary. Hungarian Review of Sport Science 17 (65) 26–33. Manuscript.
- Artikkeli III: Szerovay, M. & Itkonen, H. 2015. Suomalaisten ja unkarilaisten huippujalkapalloilijoiden aseman muutokset 1980-luvulta nykypäiviin [The professionalization of Finnish and Hungarian top-level football players since the 1980s] In H. Roiko-Jokela & E. Sironen (Eds.) Urheilun toinen puoli. Suomen urheiluhistoriallisen seuran vuosikirja 2015 [The other side of the sport. The yearbook of the Finnish Society for Sport History 2015] (pp. 109–127). Suomen urheiluhistoriallinen seura. suhs-vuosikirja-2015.
- Artikkeli IV: Szerovay, M. & Itkonen, H. Global and local interactions in football: The changing field of professional football stadiums in Finland and Hungary in the 2000s. Sport in Society. Submitted manuscript.
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