PtG Article 23.04.2012

FREE: Football Research in an Enlarged Europe

New research project funded by the European Commission seeks to investigate football’s impact on identity dynamics and cultural change in Europe.

Football Research in an Enlarged Europe (FREE) is a new research project with the overall objective to develop a better understanding of football as a highly relevant social and cultural phenomenon in contemporary Europe.

FREE is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project which brings together researchers from nine universities in eight European countries. It is coordinated by the Centre for European Integration at ESSCA School of Management, Angers, France. 

The project studies, among other things, how collective memories of popular culture have emerged during the history of European football, what trace they have left in mutual perception patterns across the continent and the extent to which cultural commonality may grow out of historically grown diversity in the field of everyday culture.

FREE is structured around six thematic research strands:


  •  Phases of Europeanisation: the history and impact of European competitions;
  • Memory:

  •  Collective memory: football as transnational media event; 
  • Feminisation:

  •  Gender, football, and trans/national identities; 
  • Identities:

  •  Everyday lives and football identities; 
  • Public Sphere:

  •  The football community as an existing European public sphere; 
  • Governance:

  •  Transformed governance structures and stakeholder empowerment.

The project is expected to go on for three years, during which a kick-off conference, six conferences focusing on each of the project’s six thematic research strands and a conclusions conference will take place.

More information on the conferences can be found on the events page on the project website.  Go to the project website for more information