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The Transformation of Spanish Football: Parochialism or Innovation?

Borja Garcia Garcia

Spanish football has been transformed in the last two decades both structurally and financially. This transformation has featured a strong implication of the national public authorities through legislation. This paper identifies the main transformations of Spanish football as being: The working conditions of players, the transformation of clubs into plcs and the transition from central marketing of TV rights to individual selling. In the first case, one can find a clear top-down direct Europeanisation that, however, does not go beyond what was strictly necessary. The Spanish transfer system is of special interest because a system transformation was implemented 10 years before Bosman. The motors of that transformation were the demands of the players' trade union and the role of the government imposing legislation The transformation of clubs into plcs shows the importance of the regulatory powers of the Spanish state. The National Sports Act forced clubs to undergo a profound structural This was enforced through legislation as a trade-off for a financing of the clubs' public and private debt. Finally, the transition to individual selling of TV rights presents some indirect top-down europeanisation, but once again national political factors overshadow the European level. Overall, the Spanish case brings to our attention the extent to which national structures and traditions mediate in very clear and strong top-down Europeanising forces.

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