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Capital structure and corporate governance of soccer clubs: European evidence

Panagiotis Dimitropoulos (Department of Sport Management, University of Peloponnese, Sparta, Greece)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 10 June 2014




The present study aims to examine the impact of corporate governance quality on the capital structure of European soccer clubs and specifically on the level of debt that soccer clubs decide to issue.


A sample from 67 European soccer clubs over the period of 2005-2009 was analyzed, and panel data techniques were performed to assess the impact of specific corporate governance provisions on the capital structure of football clubs (FCs).


Evidence indicate that efficient corporate governance mechanisms such as the increased board size and independence and the existence of more dispersed ownership (managerial and institutional) result in a reduction in the level of leverage and debt, thus reducing the risk of financial instability.

Practical implications

This evidence suggests that corporate governance could be used as a monitoring mechanism for reducing the fictitious level of debt that characterizes the majority of European soccer clubs. This study could prove useful to Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) regulators because it provides an additional insight for the importance of establishing sound governance principles in European soccer so as to enhance the effectiveness of the recent “financial fair play” regulation which was launched in 2010, as well as to improve the financial status of the clubs and sustain their future viability.


This is the first study internationally that examines capital structure within FCs, thus extending the existent empirical evidence in the literature and adding to a growing body of research on the issues of corporate governance and financing decisions.



The author would like to thank the editor and four anonymous referees for insightful comments and suggestions which improved significantly the initial version of the paper. The author remains responsible for remaining errors and omissions.


Dimitropoulos, P. (2014), "Capital structure and corporate governance of soccer clubs: European evidence", Management Research Review, Vol. 37 No. 7, pp. 658-678.



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