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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Rasmus K. Storm

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.

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1581

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.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2019

A. Carolin Fleischmann and Martin Fleischmann

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how professional football clubs from the English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Spanish Primera División use digital…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how professional football clubs from the English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Spanish Primera División use digital media to expand their international reach in emerging football markets (EFM) outside of Europe. Based on the EPRG framework and Rugman’s home-region hypothesis, the aim is to broaden the perspective where “sports go global” for a further understanding of actors’ international orientation in the digital sphere.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on data from desk research and a qualitative survey, comprising information on international digital media activities of 58 European clubs. Cluster analysis is used to identify different international orientations with regard to digital media activities.

Findings

The data provide evidence that clubs differ strongly in their orientations towards EFM. While some global players that provide digital media content in several EFM languages and attract a large share of Facebook followers from EFM exist, other clubs focus on their home region. League-specific differences become apparent.

Originality/value

This study determines the international online orientations of European football clubs by combining two previously separated research streams in football management studies: internationalisation and digital media activities. Most clubs with a strong EFM fan base choose polycentric, multi-language digital media strategies, followed by geocentric, standardised approaches. By offering a novel angle on internationalisation in professional football, this study contributes towards optimising clubs’ international online strategies for EFM, which are markets that promise high growth rates.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2015

Rasmus Nissen

– The purpose of this paper is to outline a theoretical framework that can be used to understand coach dismissals in professional football.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline a theoretical framework that can be used to understand coach dismissals in professional football.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to embed the suggested framework empirically and thereby strengthen the argumentation, a total of 90 management accounts from 18 Danish professional football clubs have been analyzed using a qualitative content analysis approach. The accounts cover a period of five consecutive seasons.

Findings

The analysis shows that dismissing the coach is a frequent occurrence in Danish clubs. This finding is included in the discussion, in which it is suggested that a coach dismissal may be the outcome of mimetic, coercive or normative isomorphism.

Research limitations/implications

The applied methodology makes it difficult to assess whether coach dismissals actually stem from institutional forces. A more extensive research design and methodological setup is required in order to elaborate the proposed framework.

Practical implications

By focussing on the dynamics of club-stakeholder relationships, the proposed framework can be seen as an attempt to clarify key features of the decision-making process surrounding coach dismissals in European professional football. Furthermore, the framework suggests that in order for a club to stay attractive to its stakeholders, and thereby increase its chances of securing future financial support, club directors should pay attention to their external environment.

Originality/value

In contrast to existing research, this study does not aim at assessing whether a coach dismissal pays off in terms of wins on the pitch. Instead, a qualitative approach has been selected in order to offer a framework that aims at providing an in-depth understanding of coach dismissals in professional football.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2020

Daniel Plumley, Jean-Philippe Serbera and Rob Wilson

This paper analyses English Premier League (EPL) and English Football League (EFL) championship clubs during the period 2002–2019 to anticipate financial distress with…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyses English Premier League (EPL) and English Football League (EFL) championship clubs during the period 2002–2019 to anticipate financial distress with specific reference to footballs' Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected for 43 professional football clubs competing in the EPL and Championship for the financial year ends 2002–2019. Analysis was conducted using the Z-score methodology and additional statistical tests were conducted to measure differences between groups. Data was split into two distinct periods to analyse club finances pre- and post-FFP.

Findings

The results show significant cases of financial distress amongst clubs in both divisions and that Championship clubs are in significantly poorer financial health than EPL clubs. In some cases, financially sustainability has worsened post-FFP. The “big 6” clubs – due to their size – seem to be more financially sound than the rest of the EPL, thus preventing a “too big to fail” effect. Overall, the financial situation in English football remains poor, a position that could be exacerbated by the economic crisis, caused by COVID-19.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are not generalisable outside of the English football industry and the data is susceptible to usual accounting techniques and treatments.

Practical implications

The paper recommends a re-distribution of broadcasting rights, on a more equal basis and incentivised with cost-reduction targets. The implementation of a hard salary cap at league level is also recommended to control costs. Furthermore, FFP regulations should be re-visited to deliver the original objectives of bringing about financial sustainability in European football.

Originality/value

The paper extends the evidence base of measuring financial distress in professional team sports and is also the first paper of its kind to examine this in relation to Championship clubs.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Steffen Merkel, Sascha L. Schmidt and Dominik Schreyer

The purpose of this paper is to explore the future of professional soccer by 2025. Scientific foresight studies on this industry do not yet exist despite its current…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the future of professional soccer by 2025. Scientific foresight studies on this industry do not yet exist despite its current position at a crossroads: toward further exploitation of profit potential? Or clear commitment to the traditional European Model of Sport?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a Delphi-based scenario study. In total, 62 high-level experts from sport, business, and society evaluated the probability of occurrence, impact, and desirability of 15 future projections over at least two rounds. The resulting 5,940 quantitative judgments and 670 qualitative comments were condensed into probable scenarios and surprising wildcards.

Findings

Two probable scenarios for European professional soccer by 2025 exist: in an extrapolation scenario, clubs will reap long-term gains from fulfilling public demands regarding stadium security, competitive balance, and social engagement. The less likely alternative is an extensive commercialization, including a short-term exploitation of all imaginable income sources, such as virtually augmented stadiums, financial investors, and league-owned broadcasting channels.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are primarily based on qualitative research and an all-German sample. Further studies could incorporate additional quantitative data or might survey an international panel to increase predictive accuracy.

Originality/value

The paper is novel in that it examines a yet unaddressed research gap – the future of professional soccer – with a common scientific foresight method that is already established in sport management research – the Delphi technique.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Petros Parganas, Roman Liasko and Christos Anagnostopoulos

Professional football clubs currently strive for a number of concurrent goals, ranging from on-field success to profit maximization to fan expansion and engagement. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Professional football clubs currently strive for a number of concurrent goals, ranging from on-field success to profit maximization to fan expansion and engagement. The purpose of this paper, theoretically informed by the social penetration theory, is to analyze the economics behind such goals and examine the association between team performance, commercial success, and social media followers in professional team sports.

Design/methodology/approach

A data set relating to 20 European professional football clubs that combines financial (revenues and costs), sporting, and digital-reach measures for three consecutive football seasons (2013/2014 to 2015/2016) was used. In addition, to elaborate on this data in terms of a descriptive study, the study constructs a range of correlation statistical tests and linear modeling techniques to obtain quantitative results.

Findings

The results indicate that all the three main sources of club revenues (match-day, commercial/sponsorship, and broadcasting) are positive drivers for Facebook followers. Staff investments (staff costs) are also positively related to Facebook followers, albeit to a lesser extent, while higher-ranked clubs seem to follow a constant approach in terms of their revenues and cost structure.

Originality/value

This study seeks to bridge the communication and sport economic research, providing evidence that Facebook followers are part of the cyclical phenomenon of team revenues and team performance. In doing so, it initiates a debate on the relationship between the digital expansion of a football club and its sports and financial indicators.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2009

Chantal Rouvrais-Charron and Christophe Kim

Consumers are increasingly looking beyond products, and are expressing concern for the respect of societal values. This paper analyses how football organisations and…

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217

Abstract

Consumers are increasingly looking beyond products, and are expressing concern for the respect of societal values. This paper analyses how football organisations and governing bodies in Europe are adapting their marketing strategies to reflect these concerns. 'Ethical charters' or 'ethical codes of behaviour' need to be redefined under close scrutiny from shareholders and stakeholders. Whether it is a deliberate decision or a forced change, football organisations must respond to simultaneous commercial and political pressures.

Details

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1464-6668

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Roberto Fernández-Villarino and J. Andrés Domínguez-Gómez

This study aims to explore how responsible corporate behaviour, specifically self-imposed financial regulatory control, might subsequently be reflected in the financial…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore how responsible corporate behaviour, specifically self-imposed financial regulatory control, might subsequently be reflected in the financial performance of companies subject to such regulation.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, the authors aim to explore how financial compliance in the form of the Economic Control Regulation (ECR) has impacted on the financial performance of professional football clubs in Spain. To this purpose, the authors adopted a quasi-experimental before and after study design. This type of design assesses the object of study before and after a specific event in order to determine whether this event has had any effects on the object. In this case, the event was the coming into effect of the ECR in the fiscal year of 2012, and the object hypothetically affected was the clubs’ economic performance.

Findings

The authors can confirm that in general terms and for the whole set of clubs analysed, the ECR has had a strong and positive effect on financial performance.

Research limitations/implications

In this study, the authors wish to establish a link between the idea of “compliance” and that of “responsible corporate management practice”. It is not just a matter of compliance with the law. The fact of complying with certain laws could, in general terms, or from the point of view of common sense, be qualified as “responsible behaviour”. However, under the contemporary concept of corporate responsibility, compliance with the law is a behaviour that must be taken for granted. Responsibility, therefore, would entail going beyond such expected behaviour to one that exceeds the environment's expectation of the corporate actor.

Practical implications

What extent improvements in financial performance have also boosted social performance. Confirming such a positive effect endorses the argument that ethical improvements in corporate culture have a general effect on business sustainability in its different aspects: economic, social, environmental and in governance.

Social implications

The authors may foresee that the culture of compliance will spread from the finance departments to other management areas. Its connection with ethical business practice is directly linked to the more complex concept of the “citizen company”. There are suggest interesting bases on which professional football clubs might move from a traditional profit-oriented company model towards a more contemporary one oriented towards relationships of integrity with the sport's environment. This study shows that the ECR has been a starting point for the development of Spanish professional football clubs towards this type of “citizen company”.

Originality/value

It was a single-sector study whose principal value lies in the verification of whether responsible economic management (the main consequence of applying the ECR) had any effects on company profits, financial results and other important indicators. In addition to fostering responsibility, this new management model involves a special innovation, as it is based on self-regulation (i.e. on regulations not imposed by national or supranational states), designed and implemented to ensure the sector's viability.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Birnir Egilsson and Harald Dolles

The sports industry is a forerunner in the international quest for talent as the search by sport clubs and the corresponding self-initiated expatriation of athletes starts…

Abstract

Purpose

The sports industry is a forerunner in the international quest for talent as the search by sport clubs and the corresponding self-initiated expatriation of athletes starts at a very early age. The purpose of this paper is to address this phenomenon by exploring the experiences of talented young Icelandic footballers (soccer players) in their transition from Iceland into senior-level professional football in European leagues across six dimensions – three individual and three cultural.

Design/methodology/approach

Biographical narrative interviews have been conducted with eight Icelandic players moving overseas at a young age with the purpose of advancing their career. To investigate the coping strategies applied, a purposeful sampling approach was chosen, given that half of the participants successfully dealt with transitions in their career, while the other half did not experience the same success.

Findings

As an overall result, the expatriate journey for young footballers is complex, influenced by many events, expectations, conditions and pressures that affect their support web and ability to adjust. Reflecting on the experiences of successful transitions, problem-focused coping strategies have been more effective than emotion-focused coping.

Research limitations/implications

This study highlights some necessary conditions and coping strategies for young self-initiated sports expatriates to cope with the expatriate transition successfully.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to research on expatriation, as this specific group of “young professionals” has not yet been addressed by the research within international human resource management. Our research framework responds to calls in the literature to consider additional stages of player development and an array of individual and cultural factors that may have a significant role in shaping players’ careers abroad.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2018

Girish Ramchandani, Daniel Plumley, Sophie Boyes and Rob Wilson

This paper aims to provide empirical evidence on competitive balance in the “big five” European football leagues, namely, the English Premier League, French Ligue 1…

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1655

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide empirical evidence on competitive balance in the “big five” European football leagues, namely, the English Premier League, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses recognised measures of competitive balance to measure levels of concentration (within-season competitive balance) and dominance (between-season competitive balance) in the selected leagues over 22 seasons between 1995/96 and 2016/17.

Findings

French Ligue 1 emerged as the most balanced league in terms of both concentration and dominance measures. The analysis also points to a statistically significant decline in competitive balance in all leagues apart from Serie A (Italy).

Originality/value

The findings of this study are of concern for the league organisers. Competition intensity is a key component of a sport league, and a league that is dominated by one or a select few clubs is less attractive within the marketplace. This paper presents challenges at the league governance level for the five leagues examined.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

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