National teams, multiple loyalties: A discussion of through three football case studies from 2018

2019-11-08T09:38:35Z (GMT) by Albrecht Sonntag Borja Garcia-Garcia
In several Western European countries, multi-ethnic societies are also reflected in national football teams that field players of migrant origin. The article presents three case studies from Germany, Switzerland, and France, dating from 2018 and highlighting the different manners in which such football players are confronted with their dual identities when opting for the national team of their “country of adoption”. While the national identity of professional players seems to be largely irrelevant in the globalised club football and leagues of Western Europe, players with migrant background face serious difficulties when expressing, spontaneously or intentionally, their dual allegiance. This reveals to what extent large parts of public opinion and media discourse, even in countries with a long-standing history of migration, have trouble to come to terms with dual loyalties, explicitly requesting single allegiance when bearing the nation’s “colours” on the football pitch.