Professional Coaches and Their Influence of French Soccer Results, 1932–1973

Sport, Performance, and Society
By Laurent Grün

In spite of the introduction of professional soccer in 1932, French soccer results, as compared to those of other nations, remained poor until the 1970s. Professional French coaches believed they were not responsible for this partial failure. This paper seeks to study in detail the mechanisms which explain the organization of this professional group of coaches, as well as its influence on the level of French soccer. The leading role of Georges Boulogne, Head of the “Amicale des entraîneurs” (Coach Association) from 1956 onwards, is emphasized: through both his will to promote and improve soccer, as well as defend the interests of his peers, he came to be considered as the man who guaranteed their professional identity. However, in spite of his total involvement and activism, he failed to lead coaches to contribute to a meaningful improvement of French football.


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