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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Big men, big gains? The involvement of African club officials in the transfer of players
Author:Pannenborg, ArnoldISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review
Geographic terms:Cameroon
sports associations
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17532523.2010.483804
Abstract:This paper examines the actions and motivations of members of African elites who are involved in football and the influence they have on the game itself. Many so-called Big Men sponsor and run football clubs or take up key positions within one of the various football associations, special committees or ministries of sports. This paper focuses on those Big Men who occupy key positions within clubs and on the economic side of football (e.g., the trade in footballers), as opposed to the prestige and political motivations Big Men may have. Many of these men of means and power have taken an interest in football to (further) enrich themselves. Football, in their eyes, is a lucrative business and their objective is to unearth talented players and sell them to big clubs, both locally and abroad. As a result, several clubs have been founded or taken over purely for business purposes, and there is often unrest within the management ranks of traditional clubs due to the infighting of their members. The Big Men use their influence to get players recruited for clubs or selected into the squads and in many cases they employ 'age-cheats' to get their players fielded and sold. Extensive networks among these Big Men make sure such illegalities linger on without punishment. The focus of this paper is on the situation in Ghana, where the author conducted research between 2008 and 2010, but it also refers to developments in Cameroon, where data were collected in 2003. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]