The project “Imaginary European Football Championships” is a combination of modern football and the European history. It provides an overview of European championships through history hypothesizing what would have happened if…i.e. it hypothesizes how the football  teams would have looked like if the Championships had been held in 868, 920, 1030, 1130, 1250, 1350, 1477, 1580, 1648, 1748, 1812, 1825, 1878, 1914, 1930 and 1942 –the years when significant states’ borders changed.

 Norms and aims:

  • With every team goes historical text about hat country (and literature)
  • The only prerequisite for selecting football players were their birth places, i.e. a footballer plays for team of the country where his birthplace was located in that specific moment in history. If a player’s birth place did not exist in a certain historical period, then we checked in which country that birth place would be located in the future. 

(We took the year 868 AD and chose 8 historical countries that existed at the time. One of them is, for example, West Francia, whose territory spread from present-day Catalonia in the south, through west and central France, to Flanders in the north. Therefore, the football team of West Francia is made up of footballers born in those areas, mostly national team members of Spain, France and Belgium. The team is covered with a historical text on West Francia of that time.)

  • Footballers modern national, racial and religious identities were ignored.

(For example, Luka Modrić. Althought Croat, he will not be select for Kingdom of Croatia or (Croatian-)Hungarian Kingdom or Habsburg Monarchy). Becouse his birthplace is Zadar, he will play for state where Zadar was situated in a particular period of the history (Byzant, Venetian Republic, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy)

  • When selecting players, all religious, racial and ethnical laws enacted in a certain period as well as certain historical anomalies (such as the non-existence of a race or a national identity) were ignored. All those laws will be mentioned in a historical text.

(For example, Mesut Ozil, born in Gelsenkirschen, plays for Christian East Francia)

  • The reason why the year 868. was chosen is that the second half of the 9th century marks the beginning of political activities that dictated the majority of events in Europe in the following centuries. On the other hand, the Third Reich was at its prime in 1942. which presents the last Imaginary championship because Europe experienced its last major border change then.
  • In addition to independent states, states which have big autonomies within larger states, areas ruled by kings or noblemen or areas ruled by a ruler who only had a formal authority (shires, provinces, principalities, etc.) were taken into account.
  • Altought same football team can be mentioned in few Championships, however, the players’ rosters do not repeat. For example, France participated in Championships in 1030., 1477., 1648., 1748., 1812., 1914. and 1942. and the players’ selections depended on the changes of states borders.
  • We tried not to select political entities from the same part of Europe within the same year. For example, the teams of Portugal, Aragon, Castile, Leone, Navarro and Islamic Granada would be favorites to win the championship 1477. However, we provided historical information from different parts of Europe in a certain period.
  • The majority of coats of arms are replications of the real coats of arms used by political entities. Some, however, represent the ruling noble families (Capet for the Kingdom of Burgundy, Hohenstaufen for The Duchy of Swabia, Welf for the Duchy of Bavaria, Anjou for the County of Province, Visconty for the countries ruled by the dukes of Milan). Some are the improvisations of symbols which were used by the political entities in certain periods (Byzantium, East and West Francia, the Papal State, the Emirate of Cordoba, March of Tuscany, the Kingdom of Knut, Duchy of Saxony and Duchy of Francony, the Kingdom of Italy, Spanish Netherlands, German empire in 1914, France in 1914 and 1942, Italy in 1878, 1930 and 1942 and Reichskommissariat Ukraine which was actually an officer badge). The coat of arms of the Ottoman Empire (crescent, which was one of the Islamic symbols, and a sultan’s tughra) belong to this category. It is important to notice that the majority of these coats of arms did not exist at those periods, rather they were designed decades or centuries later (Moravia, the Kingdom of Northumbria, Mercia, Hungary, Lorraine, Bulgaria, Poland, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, The Kingdom of Asturias, Dalmatia).
  • The colors of football kits were based on the colors used in a coat of arms or a flag (if there was a flag), i.e. if a country did not have any symbols (especially in the early Middle Ages), imagination was used.  
  • We tried to use the names of political entites that were use in specified history period, however, occasionally, we used anachronisms such as “The Byzantine Empire” or we used “empire” in a metaphorical rather than a figurative sense, i.e. the empire does not imply that an emperor rules the country like in the cases of the Great Britain or France. These two countries were a kingdom and a republic in the observed period but with the usage of the word empire, we wanted to stress the size of the territory they had. Furthermore, instead of the names the Kingdom of Hungary and the Czech Kingdom, the names the The Lands of the Czech Crown and The Lands of the Hungarian Crown are used because we do not want readers to compare these countries to a modern Hungary and the Czech Republic and because the kingdoms consisted of wider areas where more smaller self-governing areas were located.


So-called etnical and historical rights are human fabrications

Most of population from medieval Milan or Venice did not consider themselves as Italians, from Barcelona or Bilbao as Spaniard, from Dalmatia or Slavonia as Croats, from Wallachia or Transylvania as Romanian, from Brussels as Belgians, from Ototman Empire as Turks, from Kievan Rus as Ukranian or Russian, from Berlin or Munich as Germans, from Brittany or Gascogne as Frenchman etc.

The Age of nationalism as ideological movement that serves for the creation of nations, national states and legitimacy of political power in the same began in the late 18th century and continued during the 19th and the 20th centuries.  So, all nations are - though they want to present their existance from the "beginning of time" - the political-social constructions of the modern age. In the past, there was a multitude of ethnic, regional, local and other identities that have either disappeared in the modern age or simply left the primacy, whether or not, to a new national identity.

"National" policy (especially in the case of modern European nations), starts with the 19th century, projects a contemporary national mark on persons, groups, languages and areas in the past into ''their own national basket" and thus proving their so-called national, ethnic or historical rights. For this achievement, it was necessary to select, invent, preform and mythologize innumerable historical facts and knowledge about it proclaim as" education "and, when it comes to a neighboring case, as " indoctrination. "

Of course, the creation of modern Russia or Ukraine and the history of Russians and Ukrainians can not be understood without knowing the history of the Kievan Rus, or the modern Czech and Czechs without the history of the Lands of the Crown of st.Vaclav, Greece and Greece without Byzantium, Turkey and the Turks without the Ottoman Empire, Croatia and Croats without the Croatian kingdom, Serbs and Serbia without medieval Serbia, Germany and Germans without the Holy Roman Empire etc. However, it is absolutely wrong to study them in the direction of proving the continuity that would serve as a historical and national right to a modern nation state in a particular territory.

(Read more about the nation as a political-social construction of the modern age in books and articels from Ernst Gellner, Benedict Anderson, Eric J. Hobsbawm, Thomas H. Eriksen, Anthony D.Smith, Marko Pijović, Siniša Malešević, Vjeran Katunarić, Ivana Čolović etc.)