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The Coming of Age: The World Cup of France ’98

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Abstract

France is not commonly regarded as a major footballing nation, yet football is the most popular sport in terms of players and spectators. Football and other modern sports were imported into France in the late nineteenth century from England. The first football club was founded in Le Havre in 1872. Since 1894 and the first amateur ‘national’ championship between six Parisian clubs, the game has become a national sport, professionalised in 1931, but still retaining nearly two million registered amateur players and 23,000 clubs, far ahead of any other sport, including rugby. Football’s early development in France, as in Britain, has much in common with the creation of a shared sense of place in the emerging urban working-class communities. But the French game differs from Britain organisationally. Its regulatory system and its governing bodies and clubs have been shaped by the French state’s concept of public service, of republican and democratic values, and of centralist interventionism, as opposed to laissez-faire individualism (Miège 1993). French administrators, following in the footsteps of the founder of the Olympic movement, de Coubertin, have helped move football beyond the national context, at a time when its English inventors were turning their backs on Europe and the rest of the world.

Keywords

  • National Team
  • Front National
  • French Public
  • National Hero
  • French Team

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© 1999 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Hare, G., Dauncey, H. (1999). The Coming of Age: The World Cup of France ’98. In: Armstrong, G., Giulianotti, R. (eds) Football Cultures and Identities. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230378896_4

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