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The Swedish Model and International Sport: Lennart Johansson and the Governance of World Football

Bairner, Alan and Darby, Paul (2001) The Swedish Model and International Sport: Lennart Johansson and the Governance of World Football. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 36 (3). pp. 337-359. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1177/101269001036003006


One of the most striking features of the development of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) during the 1990s has been the emergence of a political and economic alliance between the Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA) and the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF). What is remarkable about this state of affairs is that the relationship between the two confederations has traditionally been characterised by acrimony and mistrust. However, the election of the Swede, Lennart Johansson, as Europe’s leading football administrator in 1990 has transformed the climate of power relations between African and European football. As well as exploring the nature of the Afro-European coalition and assessing its impact on world football politics, this article examines how and why Johansson came to form the central axis around which this new relationship was brokered. Particular attention is accorded to Johansson’s nationality and it is argued that his approach to the governance of world football is underpinned by the broader philosophies that are embodied within his own country’s system of political, social, economic and sporting organisation, or the ‘Swedish model’ as it has come to be known. The paper adopts a qualitative methodology involving in-depth interviews with Johansson as well as key figures within Svenska Fotbollförbundet (Swedish Football Association) and those parliamentarians responsible for their respective parties’ sports policies. Extensive use is also made of primary archival sources obtained from the Swedish Sports High School (Idrottshögskolan) in Stockholm, the Swedish Sports Confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet) in Farsta and additional primary research sources obtained from FIFA, CAF and UEFA.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Swedish model, Swedish Sport, Lennart Johansson, FIFA, UEFA, African football
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Sport
Research Institutes and Groups:Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute > Centre for Sport in Society
ID Code:18067
Deposited By: Dr Paul Darby
Deposited On:19 Apr 2011 08:57
Last Modified:19 Apr 2011 08:57

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