The 60th anniversary of the UEFA European Championship in 2020 was supposed to kick off on the 12th of June 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament was postponed for one year, to start in June 2021. The Football Makes History project is designed to launch new educational resources and a public awareness campaign at this tournament.
Instead, members of the Football Makes History team, including history teachers, youth workers, historians and cultural entrepreneurs – united in their love of the game and it’s past – decided to fill this ‘lost year’, with a carefully curated and inclusively built-up calendar of #onthisday #euro2020 #footballmakeshistory posts and articles. This calendar aims to highlight people and events in the history of football that are symbolic for, tell a story of or raise awareness on diversity and inclusion.
The European Championship of 2020 is a special one. It will be held throughout Europe, in 12 cities, positioned on the theme of “building bridges”, whilst celebrating 60 years of the iconic championships. As a platform that connects educators from all over Europe, we applaud this mission. Europe’s most popular sport, intertwined with the history of football in Europe gives us a plethora of examples of inclusion and celebration alongside repression and propaganda. Amid entrenched conflicts, football falls prey to forces of fanatic nationalism, sectarianism and racism – yet it equally is the strongest cultural catalyst for peace and mutual understanding. This is why we will make many past events, players and key moments, always from an angle that challenges us to think and reflect.
June in Football History
In June, starting on the 12th, we will highlight stories that connect football to social and cultural developments on the continent. Doing so, there will be special attention to the football history of the tournament. Some highlight you can expect:
On the 13th of June, we mark the publication of the photo in 1925. The photo shows an international women’s football match at Herne Hill, London. The captain of the France team, Carmen Pomies, is greeting the England captain, Florrie Redford, just before the kick-off. It’s a picture that makes you want to know more: about the women’s game in the 1920s; and about the two captains and their friendship.
On 20th June, when The Netherlands was supposed to play Austria in Amsterdam in the Euro2020 group stage, we will explore the connections between the Second World War, Migration and Identity through the story of successful European football manager Ernst Happel.
On 22nd June, we will look back at the only official match to have ever taken place between East and West Germany and draw connections to adjacent histories.
Euro2020 in Perspective: Bridging a divided Europe
As we go about retelling stories of past European Championships, we see two pillars in place. “Bridging a divided Europe” connects the dots for a story of the founding of the European Championships and its first tournaments. These events are inextricably bound up with the divisions of post-Second World War Europe. Over the course of the 20th Century, as divisions have strengthened or weakened, the European Championships have reflected these divisions and ultimately echoed and aided the building of bridges around the continent.
Euro2020 in Perspective: Building a home for diversity
The second pillar is about diversity. The presence of divisions and conflicts have vastly changed Europe. Conflicts and labour migration have precipitated the movement of peoples, instigated increasingly diverse societies. The European Championships have reflected this increased diversity in societies, often intertwined with Europe’s troubled colonial past, and in many cases have irrefutably brought nations and the wider European community and identity together. Still, there is a long road to go for diversity to be accepted as norm, as exclusivist notions of identity find fertile ground in European countries still more.
With special help from our friends
In launching this year-long effort, we want to recognize the initiative taken by two of our Football Makes History team members: history teacher Marcel Put and creative storyteller Peter Bijl. Pondering about the Covid-19 pandemic and the postponement of football, they were quick to take the lead and bring on board several other content developers in the Football Makes History team. So, spread the news and follow us on Twitter, Facebookand Instagram!
As the UEFA 2020 European Championships got pushed ahead one year, the team of Football Makes History will provide you with a 365-day #onthisday series of posts to help all fans out there to go back in time, think, and reflect.