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Sport and Society in Global FranceNations, Migrations, Corporations$
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Cathal Kilcline

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382899

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781781382899.001.0001

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Football’s Françafrique

Football’s Françafrique

(p.49) Chapter 2 Football’s Françafrique
Sport and Society in Global France

Cathal Kilcline

Liverpool University Press

As television revenues boosted the financial rewards to clubs and players since the mid-1980s, European football has become one of the very few routes for (a very small minority of) young Africans to access previously unimaginable wealth. Linguistic affinities and pre-existing networks have facilitated the flow of African talent to France in a process accelerated by the plethora of ‘academies’ set up in Africa. Whilst abiding representations of immigration in French sport focus on the glorious achievements of star sportspeople, and on the communal and national pride generated by their accomplishments, a growing body of literature concentrates on the disappointment, failure and exploitation of sporting migrants. This chapter demonstrates how ‘la Françafrique’, the asymmetrical nature of exchanges that characterises France’s neo-colonial relationship with its former colonies in Africa, functions in a sporting context. The role of certain French institutions and individuals in African football is demonstrated to be a factor in the ‘extraterritorialisation’ of African football. The contemporary directions and forms of sports-related migration are also shown to inflect a series of ‘psychodramas’ that have afflicted French football in recent times.

Keywords:   Slavery, Academies, Migration, Senegal, Football, Psychodrama

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