The political instrumentalization of professional football in Francoist Spain 1939-1975
The objective of this thesis is to be the first systematic study of the political instrumentalization of football in Francoist Spain from 1939 to 1975. Seven separate and contrasting aspects of this political instrumentalization may be isolated, and, accordingly, this thesis will consist of a chapter examining each one of these seven aspects in turn. After a first introductory chapter, Chapter Two will examine the application of Fascist concepts to Spanish football. In the third chapter, the questions of whether and to what extent football was used by the Franco regime as a political soporific will be discussed. The theme of Chapter Four is the lack of democracy within the structures of the game, a situation that is alleged to have been deliberately imposed by the regime in order to not create an uncomfortable comparison for itself with the lack of national and local political democracy. The poor working conditions of the footballers, which mirrored those of the great majority of Spanish workers during the Franco period, are the subject of Chapter Five. In the sixth Chapter, the political significance of the presence in Francoist Spain of a group of refugee players and coaches from Europe will be examined. The diplomatic and ambassadorial significance of football, in particular of the spectacular international triumphs of the Real Madrid club, will be discussed in Chapter Seven. The political significance of football as a focus for Basque and Catalan nationalist sentiment, in opposition to the centralist Madrid regime, is the subject of Chapter Eight.