This paper aims at illustrating the dynamics of multilingualism in football teams focusing on the Italian professional football, especially the Serie A and Serie B leagues (sporting year 2012-2013). Since very few works deal with multilingualism in football, the research illustrates a theoretical and methodological approach to describe the linguistic interaction in multilingual football teams. Before reflecting about this issue, the paper briefly analyzes the immigration history of foreign players in Italy. For this survey, which is still in progress, traditional support – interviews and questionnaires addressed to players, coaches, team managers, referees, etc – and new technology as backup tool are fundamental to collect and analyze data. On the wake of this framework, the research led us to construct two models to manage language interaction in football: the Toscane Favelle versione Albero di Natale (TFAN) which illustrates how to identify the 11 most spoken languages in any football league considering the countries of origin of foreign players; and the Pentecoste in Campo (PC) model which examines the multilingualism of each player considering his football career and duration of stay in the different countries but also his educational background, country of origin, new citizenships, sociolinguistic contexts and family life. Actually, on the basis of the rising tide of foreign players’ mobility and the mapping of their languages, the research points out that if multilingualism in football is poorly managed it could create a situation of misunderstanding in the teams. For this reason, thank to the MULTI SPORT project of the University for Foreigners of Siena, in collaboration with the Italian National Olympic Committee of the Tuscany Region, the work introduces the professional figure of linguistic and cultural mediator in sports, who is supposed to assist foreign players and trainers, on the pitch and in the society, to facilitate their linguistic and cultural integration. The paper concludes considering multilingualism, that is language and cultural contact in football, as and asset for the football teams and the society, not as a barrier.
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