UEFA’s Europe: An analysis of UEFA’s narratives used to border Europe
Different ideas of what the borders of Europe are, circulate, creating a confusing situation. Whereas current research focusses on the European Union’s borders a lot, this thesis will present the European borders through the eyes of a non-political, but very influential organisation: the Union of European Football Associations [UEFA]. Through a qualitative, discourse analytical desk research of a variety of official, open-access UEFA documents, different bordering narratives used by UEFA have been derived. Using the soft-hard border theory of Eder (2006) and the continuum of open vs. closed borders developed by Delaunay (2006), the narratives UEFA has employed since its establishment in 1954 have been disclosed. The six most important narratives will be discussed, as they make sure that UEFA’s borders of Europe are supported and respected by the European football community. On top of this, inconsistencies in UEFA’s narratives are introduced, showing the potential there is to improve the inclusiveness and justice of the borders. However, in order to contribute to the creation of more just and inclusive borders of Europe, some lessons that can be learned from UEFA’s policies will be offered as well.
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