En 2012 un milliard de personnes des 5 continents se sont rassemblés devant leurs écrans pour suivre le match Manchester United – Manchester City. Crée en 1888, la première ligue a depuis connu un grand succès national et mondial.
Football is considered a religion in British society: the number of fans who follow the games (34,000 each day), the songs sung for the glory of the clubs and the communion created between supporters during games testify to it. On the international scene, the English Premier League is the 4th most watched sport league (first football league), which enables the UK to shine culturally around the world. Moreover, 750,000 tourists come each year to England to attend a match.
But all this would not have been possible without the fight against hooliganism, a real scourge of English football. Hooliganism became common among workers oppressed by austerity when Mrs.Thatcher was the Prime Minister. In the aftermath of the Heysel Stadium disaster, which resulted in the death of 39 people, many reforms were undertaken to improve the image of the sport: stadiums were made safer and given seats, prices were increased to attract wealthier – supposedly less aggressive- families.
Moreover, this price increase was a real windfall for the clubs. The English league is real business: 2.400 billion euros in revenue are generated each year (more than any other league) and some clubs are listed. English football is also a real boon for the media, especiallu TV (channels like ESPN or Skysports purchase the broadcasting rights for millions of pounds) and newspapers (tabloids like The Sun and the Daily Mirror regularly publish articles on the subject). In 2010 the Premier League was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Wikipedia).
The economic stakes may be high for the league but it also has a lot of social virtues: it provides good cohesion between the countries of Great Britain (in 2007 Swansea was the first non-English team to participate in the championship), it is also an excellent way to integrate the black population (more than half of the national team is black like Danny Welbeck, Walcott, Lennon, Ashley Cole,…) even though they used to be booed when they scored for their team. It is nevertheless regrettable that the level of male English football does not benefit their feminine counterparts since they don’t even have a professional league, meanwhile the French women teams are often well represented in continental competitions for example.
Loick BOINNARD, Yassine FILALI & Alexandre BEL