The FREE project: Football Research in an Enlarged Europe – University of Copenhagen

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04 March 2015

The FREE project: Football Research in an Enlarged Europe


The FREE project (Football Research in an Enlarged Europe) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project which seeks to understand the impact of football on identity dynamics, perception patterns and cultural change in Europe.

The overall objective of the FREE project is to develop a better understanding of football as a highly relevant social and cultural phenomenon in contemporary Europe. Members of the WCSF2015 Scientific Committee are involved in the FREE project; Albrecht Sonntag being the project coordinator, and Gertrud Pfister being in charge of the research strand of “The feminisation of Football”.

FREE project concluding event on 17 March 2015

Picture courtesy of L'Équipe

Photo: Picture courtesy of L'Équipe

The FREE Project will hold its concluding event on 17 March 2015 in Brussels, a one-day event focusing on the policy-relevant aspects of the FREE project findings. Roundtable debates with policy-makers, representatives from football organisations and supporters will focus on three major themes:

  • Still a man’s game? Challenges for Women in Football in Europe.
  • Whose game is it? Stakeholders and Governance in European Football. 
  • The Public Sphere of European Football: Findings from anthropological, historical and political research.

From the research group in Copenhagen, Denmark, you can ex look forward to hear results from a European online survey conducted on dedicated male and female fans. Only 10% of the individuals who participated in this survey were females. Gender differences showed in particular with respect to the interest in women’s football. Only 25% of the female and 19% of the male respondents were interested or very interested in women’s football. Also there were large differences between the attitudes of the respondents in the various countries, as in France 19% of the women and 6% of the men were very interested in women’s football teams, whereas in Turkey these numbers were only 5% (women) and 2% (men).