Poles apart: Foreign players, Polish football and Euro 2012, Soccer and Society special issue, 'Exploring the cultural, ideological and economic legacies of Euro2012

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The 14th running of the UEFA European Championships represented a watershed moment for football, and sport more broadly, in Eastern Europe. Whilst the competition itself might have been restricted to Europe’s elite national teams, world football’s gaze was drawn towards the joint hosts, Poland and the Ukraine, for the duration of the tournament. At this juncture, therefore, this paper seeks to consider the ‘place’ of football in Eastern Europe, and in this case, Poland specifically, by conducting an analysis of the economic value of Poland’s top division – the Ekstraklasa, and by examining the factors that influence foreign players’ decisions to migrate to that particular league. The paper identifies that whilst the Ekstraklasa might sit outside of Europe’s core football economies, it still offers much as a migration destination for certain sorts of players. However, the paper also shows that whilst the 2012 UEFA European Championships provided significant exposure for Poland in the football context, it is less clear if hosting the event will have a lasting effect on the development of Poland’s top league and its desirability to foreign players.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-271
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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