The factory of hope. Youth football in Italy between illusion and exploitation (1995)
How many children and young people are involved in football clubs? And how are they structured? It is a pyramid system: from a numerically rich base, one arrives, through routes with stages that are not always pre-established, at a restricted elite made up of a small group of protagonists, within which a different hierarchy is configured that elevates the star player to its model of reference and representation. From the very beginning, football has been based on free sporting associationism, which today operates by adopting a corporate model. The child in this logic becomes merchandise, a bargaining chip, for his promising abilities that make him a ‘champion’. The deeper reasons must indeed be searched for beyond the football community, which in any case reflects the malaise of a society.
Youth football in Italy