European Football: Back to the 1950s

21 Pages Posted: 21 May 2005

See all articles by Loek F. M. Groot

Loek F. M. Groot

Utrecht University - School of Economics

Date Written: 2005


Hoehn and Szymanski (1999) argue that the interlocking system of European football creates an unbalanced system. To secure competitive balance at both the European and the national level, they recommend to reform European football into a closed superleague American-style. In this paper I argue for a radically different route. Instead of giving up dominant traditions of European football, like promotion-relegation and the interlocking system, it is possible to maintain the defining characteristics of European football by returning to the state of affairs in the 1950s, before the commercialisation of football through the media started. This requires the free of charge distribution of football matches on TV, which can be justified by standard economic welfare analysis.

Keywords: European football, competitive balance

JEL Classification: D42, D60, L41, L83

Suggested Citation

Groot, Loek F. M., European Football: Back to the 1950s (2005). Available at SSRN: or

Loek F. M. Groot (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - School of Economics ( email )

Kriekenpitplein 21-22
Adam Smith Building
Utrecht, 3584 EC

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