The need for regulating professional soccer in Europe

Rasmus K. Storm (Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Publication date: 16 March 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue for the necessity of regulating European club football financially, in order to create a fair structure of sporting competition.

Design/methodology/approach

By deploying the soft budget constraint approach – originally developed by Hungarian Economist János Kornai in order to understand (public) business behavior in socialist and post‐socialist economies – and combining it with empirical analysis, the paper develops an understanding of why the majority of European top league clubs are loss‐makers and why regulation is needed. The paper rests on its application of the soft budget constraint approach to build its argument and uses existing empirical research in order to support it within the field of European professional football.

Findings

The paper finds substantial evidence of soft budget constraints in professional football clubs, and argues that softness punishes the few financially well‐managed clubs in sporting terms for balancing their books.

Research limitations/implications

From a theoretical point of view, the new perspective of soft budget constraints takes political, cultural and emotional aspects into account in order to understand economic behavior among professional team sports clubs. This gives promising new insights into the discipline of sports economics and sports management.

Practical implications

The paper's findings demand action to be taken to secure financial fair play in order to deal with issues of equal sporting competition. It argues that this must be done through a central regulation scheme covering all European leagues, thus endorsing the new UEFA financial fair play program. At the same time, however, the paper recognizes the problems in implementing the program efficiently.

Originality/value

The originality and value of the paper is its application of a new theoretical approach that clarifies the problems of European professional football and the reasons why regulatory solutions are necessary to harden the budget constraints.

Keywords

Citation

Storm, R. (2012), "The need for regulating professional soccer in Europe", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 21-38. https://doi.org/10.1108/20426781211207647

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.