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French Football and its shortcomings in the European environment

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Football is the most popular sport in the world today. This is a sport where the financial flow is very important, as the game involves various things like the wages of players and coaches, budget clubs and investments to build new stadiums and television royalties. This sport is so developed that many experts agree to call it the "football business". Since the 1980s, football has undergone profound changes.

Professional clubs with the biggest budgets have become very business like, and have only one goal: profit. To maximize profits, football clubs are now trying to minimize the hazards involved in the sport and are trying to achieve a positive result, regardless of the scores they achieve. Yet, over the past fifteen years, the French football clubs have been struggling to exist.

The only two French victories in the European competition date back to Olympique Marseille in 1995 for the C1 and Paris Saint-Germain of C2. In addition to this, Europe's professional football has five major championships, the first English League, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga. Thus, when the clubs meet in competitions organized by UEFA in Europe, we find the same clubs in the finals regularly . The French club qualifying for the final is a rare occurence though.

However, since 1996, Team France has been present in all international competitions. The French Football Team was the World Champion in 1998, won the European Championship in 2000, won the Confederations Cup in 2003 and entered the finals of the 2006 World Cup.

The French training centers are very efficient and attractive for large European clubs. In addition, a large majority of the players who play for Team France have played in major international championships for ten years. Players like Ribery, Anelka and Henry are in major European clubs that are not in France. The picture here is clear. The French clubs are struggling to retain their best people, and are becoming less efficient, with respect to confronting their European rivals. During the 1995-96 football season, only four French clubs had managed to reach the European Finals six times.

During the same period, the Italian clubs had reached the European final 11 times, and the Spanish and the German clubs, 9 times each. This suggests that there were environmental differences, which caused the French clubs to not compete on equal footing with their foreign competitors. This leads us to ask the question: What are the economic reasons that make the French football league inferior to its European counterparts?

How can we explain the differences in competitiveness between the top clubs in French football, and the best of the other four major European leagues: England, Italy, Germany and Spain?

First of all, this is to define the term competitiveness used in the above problem. Club that is "competitive" is a club capable of withstanding competition with others, as defined in the Larousse dictionary 2004 edition.

Tags: French football league, European Championship, Confederations Cup

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