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Football, place and migration: foreign footballers in the FA Premier League

David Storey

The connections between sport and geography are many and varied. This article explores one facet of this, focusing the increasing number of foreign-born players in football's Premier League in England. In recent years the league has seen a sizeable influx of players from outside Britain and Ireland, a reflection of an increasingly commercialised game with a global reach. From data on players' places of birth, the internationalisation of the game in England is readily apparent, though distinct spatial patterns are clearly evident. However, as the article shows, when information on where players are purchased from is taken into account it becomes clear that the Premier League is more limited in its global reach, with the majority of foreign imports being signed from just western European countries. The flows of migrant footballers appear to be shaped by various networks and channelled through specific routes.

  • Price: £2.49 / FREE to subscribers
  • Page Numbers: 86-94
  • Volume: 96
  • Issue: 2
  • Date: Summer 2011

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