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Playing by the rules… but which ones?

Benoît Senaux (Sport and Event Management Department, Coventry University Business School, Coventry, UK)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the increasing commercialisation of professional football in France, and its implications for clubs’ governance and management.


A historical analysis using a narrative approach based on historical data from various sources, will allow for identifying the emergence of and shifts in institutional logics. Due to the role of the state in the subject in question, particular attention was paid to parliamentary documents.


Rather than replacing the former logic, a new commercial logic coexists alongside this, leading to institutional pluralism.

Research limitations/implications

The paper outlines the governance implications of institutional pluralism of football clubs; thus opening up new perspectives for future research on clubs’ governance. It does not, however, provide a response to these implications and therefore further research is needed to analyse how clubs’ managers can shape organisational identity and make it more consistent.

Practical implications

Governance and management issues in football might be explained by the multiple logics clubs are facing. Football clubs’ managers thus need to take these logics into account when addressing their key stakeholders, and have to work on shaping a consistent organisational identity.


This article is original in that it analyses the commercialisation of football as a move towards a more complex institutional pluralism, rather than a change in the dominant logic. This perspective is valuable for managers because it helps them to identify the levers they should work on to better manage clubs’ stakeholders. It is also useful for academics in terms of opening up new ways to conceive clubs’ governance.



Senaux, B. (2011), "Playing by the rules… but which ones?", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 252-266.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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