Journal article

Euro 2008 in Geneva: A city’s experience organizing a large-scale event. “Examining “friendly” fan and hooligan behaviour in the Fan Zone

Large-scale events like the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship (commonly referred to as the Euro) put a great deal of strain on the cities that host them, forcing them to find a provisional balance between the pursuit of everyday activities and the activities and persons involved in the event. Such events put a particular strain on cities because they tend to overstep the boundaries of a simple event involving specific actors (organizers and spectators) and well-defined limits. In fact, the organizing of major sporting events can be seen as the process of temporarily reorganizing an entire city. As such, this means reorganizing collective life on a citywide scale to better respond to issues at the social, economic, and operational levels. The key is conciliating the order of the event (the factors that determine its success economically, security-wise, and as a celebration) and that of the city. In this article we will explore the impact of the 2008 Euro on Geneva, its host-city, based on collective research done on this case study. By ‘impact’ we do not in this case mean a balance sheet of the Euro’s fiscal benefits or a statistical accounting of transactions. Rather we will focus our attention on how the city reorganized itself at different levels in order to host the event. Simultaneous to reflection on Geneva’s transformation as a receptacle for this sporting event, we will also look at how the city was used based on our observations of the supporters.

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