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Management implications of foreign players in the English Premiership League football

Nnamdi Madichie (University of East London Business School, London, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 6 February 2009




The purpose of this paper is to show how one of the biggest phenomena of the twenty‐first century is the internationalisation of professional sports and how premier league football epitomises this. With the influx of foreign players, managers and now owners, European League Football has become big business. This paper aims to provide a theoretical analysis of the management implications of foreign players in the English Premiership League football – renamed the Barclays Premier League to suit the needs of its major sponsors.


The approach adopted is purely qualitative in nature, evaluating the top Barclays Premier League teams and the impact of globalisation on their reconfigurations since the early 1990s to date. The study draws mainly from a review of the extant literature on sports and management, as well as a critical analysis of media reports.


Globalisation has emerged as a new force that has changed the way corporations are managed. Financial services, retail and information technology firms have all responded to this new wave – and so also has sports. Unfortunately while sports have the potential to teach lessons on management strategy, management researchers seem to have relegated sports to the sociology and psychology disciplines.

Practical implications

The Barclays Premier league football provides a unique environment for management decisions and processes to occur in a range of markets and at varied levels. However, the globalisation of professional sports has received relatively very little attention in the academic literature – especially in the field of business and management.


This paper contributes to the scant literature on the management implications of football by highlighting how globalisation has affected and reconfigured professional sports using the influx of foreign players into the English football league as a point of departure.



Madichie, N. (2009), "Management implications of foreign players in the English Premiership League football", Management Decision, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 24-50.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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