Thursday, February 4, 2016

Global soccer and the nation-state

In my soccer and economics class I was asked in the two groups I have the same question: what would happen to the participation of FC Barcelona in the Spanish League in case of Catalan independence. My answer went more or less as follows. In the very unlikely case of Catalan independence, most probably the borders of soccer jurisdictions would not correspond to the borders of political jurisdictions. Either FC Barcelona would be invited to remain in the "rest-of-Spanish" league (and the club and even those fans that are pro-independence would be happy to accept) or it would be invited to participate in the French league, or who knows, perhaps even in the English Premier League. The overlap between sports and political boundaries already takes place in soccer, for example the Scottish having their own league and national team without being politically independent, although they do not participate independently in the Olympic Games. The Welsh have their own soccer national team but their club teams participate in the English leagues. Hopefully, in the future this will matter little because we'll have a true European superleague (also, hopefully political independence will matter less because we'll have a united, federal and sovereign Europe). Monaco participates in the French league, and Canadian teams participate in the mostly US Major League Soccer and in the NBA in basketball. National flags and anthems still matter a lot and are part of the show of World Cups, games and tournaments among national teams, but perhaps in the future (or is that already happening?) one of the few remaining roles of the current nation-states will be to wave a flag in the soccer World Cup and in the Olympic Games.

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