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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Antonios K. Travlos, Panagiotis Dimitropoulos and Stylianos Panagiotopoulos

The purpose of this paper is to examine the migration of foreign football players that participated in the elite football championship in Greece and the impact of this…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the migration of foreign football players that participated in the elite football championship in Greece and the impact of this migratory channel on the athletic success of the football clubs.

Design/methodology/approach

The study analyzed a database of all migrant and local athletes that participated in the professional Greek football championship over the period 2001-2013 and performed descriptive and regression analyses.

Findings

The regression analyses revealed a positive and significant statistical relation between the investment in foreign talents and the position of the clubs in the championship; however, this impact was more intense for foreign athletes after the formation of the Greek Super League (SL) in 2007 but on the contrary native athletes seem to contribute less to the athletic success than their foreign counterparts.

Practical implications

The findings indicated that valuable resources where spent after SL formation for the acquisition of foreign well-trained athletes. Therefore, this study corroborated arguments in previous research that a basic reason for foreign player migration in football is the increased revenues accrued from the media and sponsors. The study also provided useful policy implications for football managers for improving their decisions on this matter.

Originality/value

The present study fills a gap in the empirical literature and contributes significantly on the ongoing debate about the international athletes’ migration and its impact on athletic success.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 2008

Harry Arne Solberg

The international trade of players in European club football does not seem to have had any negative effects on the national teams in the major leagues. Data presented in…

Abstract

The international trade of players in European club football does not seem to have had any negative effects on the national teams in the major leagues. Data presented in this article indicate a potentially positive effect for England and no effect for Spain, Italy and Germany. Contrary to this, the national teams in Norway, Greece and France seem to have benefited from exporting players to leagues of better quality than their own domestic leagues.

Details

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1464-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 March 2020

Sonja Cindori and Ana Manola

Based on an overview of the anti-money laundering initiatives in the sport sector and recent efforts of money launderers focused toward finding alternative channels for…

Abstract

Purpose

Based on an overview of the anti-money laundering initiatives in the sport sector and recent efforts of money launderers focused toward finding alternative channels for money laundering operations, the purpose of this paper is to present the modus operandi of money laundering in the football sector especially.

Design/methodology/approach

Specifics of money laundering through the football sector have been analyzed using deductive and inductive methods. This paper provides a review of the existing anti-money laundering initiatives in the sport sector to highlight the specific features of sport that increase money-laundering risks in the football sector. Certain risks have been analyzed and linked to risk areas and money laundering methods as a way of demonstrating established modus operandi.

Findings

Analyzed vulnerabilities that arise from the structure, financial characteristics and culture of the football sector represent an increased risk of money laundering in a condition where potential money launderers achieve status of investors, football agents or owners of football clubs and players. Taking some of these roles allows money launderers to enter into transactions related to the acquisition of ownership over football clubs or player transfers. Such types of transactions are particularly exposed to abuse for the purposes of the money laundering process due to their unique features.

Originality/value

Through a wide range of clarified risks and money laundering methods applicable to the football sector, this paper offers a comprehensive review of the existing money laundering threats in the football sector and proposals of prevention.

Details

Journal of Money Laundering Control, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-5201

Keywords

Case study
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Muralee Das and Susan Myrden

Resource-based view (RBV) theory (Barney, 1991; Barney and Mackey, 2016; Nagano, 2020) states that a firm’s tangible and intangible resources can represent a sustainable…

Abstract

Theoretical basis

Resource-based view (RBV) theory (Barney, 1991; Barney and Mackey, 2016; Nagano, 2020) states that a firm’s tangible and intangible resources can represent a sustainable competitive advantage (SCA), a long-term competitive advantage that is extremely difficult to duplicate by another firm, when it meets four criteria (i.e. not imitable, are rare, valuable and not substitutable). In the context of this case, we believe there are three sources of SCA to be discussed using RBV – the major league soccer (MLS) team player roster, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to exploit this roster and the league’s single-entity structure: • MLS players: it has been widely acknowledged that a firm’s human resource talent, which includes professional soccer players (Omondi-Ochieng, 2019), can be a source of SCA. For example, from an RBV perspective, a player on the Los Angeles Galaxy roster: > cannot play for any other team in any other league at the same time (not imitable and are rare), > would already be a competitive player, as he is acquired to play in the highest professional league in the country (valuable) and > it would be almost impossible to find a clone player matching his exact talent characteristic (not substitutable) anywhere else. Of course, the roster mix of players must be managed by a capable coach who is able to exploit these resources and win championships (Szymanski et al., 2019). Therefore, it is the strategic human resource or talent management strategies of the professional soccer team roster that will enable a team to have the potential for an SCA (Maqueira et al., 2019). • Technology: technology can also be considered a source of SCA. However, this has been a source of contention. The argument is that technology is accessible to any firm that can afford to purchase it. Logically, any MLS team (or for that matter any professional soccer team) can acquire or build an AI system. For many observers, the only obvious constraint is financial resources. As we discuss in other parts of the case study, there is a fan-based assumption that what transpired in major league baseball (MLB) may repeat in the MLS. The movie Moneyball promoted the use of sabermetrics in baseball when making talent selection (as opposed to relying exclusively on scouts), which has now evolved into the norm of using technology-centered sports analytics across all MLB teams. In short, where is the advantage when every team uses technology for talent management? However, if that is the case, why are the MLB teams continuing to use AI and now the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League are following suit? We believe RBV theorists have already provided early insights: > “the exploitation of physical technology in a firm often involves the use of socially complex firm resources. Several firms may all possess the same physical technology, but only one of these firms may possess the social relations, cultural traditions, etc., to fully exploit this technology to implementing strategies…. and obtain a sustained competitive advantage from exploiting their physical technology more completely than other firms” (Barney, 1991, p. 110). • MLS League Single-Entity Structure: In contrast to other professional soccer leagues, the MLS has one distinct in-built edge – its ownership structure as a single entity, that is as one legal organization. All of the MLS teams are owned by the MLS, but with franchise operators. The centralization of operations provides the MLS with formidable economies of scale such as when investing in AI technologies for teams. Additionally, this ownership structure accords it leverage in negotiations for its inputs such as for player contracts. The MLS is the single employer of all its players, fully paying all salaries except those of the three marquees “designated players.” Collectively, this edge offers the MLS unparalleled fluidity and speed as a league when implementing changes, securing stakeholder buy-ins and adjusting for tailwinds. The “socially complex firm resources” is the unique talent composition of the professional soccer team and most critically its single entity structure. While every team can theoretically purchase an AI technology talent management system, its application entails use across 30 teams with a very different, complex and unique set of player talents. The MLS single-entity structure though is the resource that supplies the stability required for this human-machine (technology) symbioses to be fully accepted by stakeholders such as players and implemented with precision and speed across the entire league. So, there exists the potential for each MLS team (and the MLS as a league) to acquire SCA even when using “generic” AI technology, as long as other complex firm factors come into play.

Research methodology

This case relied on information that was widely reported within media, press interviews by MLS officials, announcements by various organizations, journal articles and publicly available information on MLS. All of the names and positions, in this case, are actual persons.

Case overview/synopsis

MLS started as a story of dreaming large and of quixotic adventure. Back in 1990, the founders of the MLS “sold” the league in exchange for the biggest prize in world soccer – the rights to host the 1994 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup before they even wrote up the business plan. Today, the MLS is the highest-level professional men’s soccer league competition in the USA. That is a major achievement in just over 25-years, as the US hosts a large professional sports market. However, MLS has been unable to attract higher broadcasting value for its matches and break into the highest tier of international professional soccer. The key reason is that MLS matches are not deemed high quality content by broadcasters. To achieve higher quality matches requires many inputs such as soccer specific stadiums, growing the fan base, attracting key investors, league integrity and strong governance, all of which MLS has successfully achieved since its inception. However, attracting high quality playing talent is a critical input the MLS does not have because the league has repeatedly cautioned that it cannot afford them yet to ensure long-term financial sustainability. In fact, to guarantee this trade-off, the MLS is one of the only professional soccer leagues with an annual salary cap. So, the question is: how does MLS increase the quality of its matches (content) using relatively low cost (low quality) talent and still be able to demand higher broadcast revenues? One strategy is for the MLS to use AI playing technology to extract higher quality playing performance from its existing talent like other sports leagues have demonstrated, such as the NFL and NBA. To implement such a radical technology-centric strategy with its players requires the MLS to navigate associated issues such as human-machine symbioses, risking fan acceptance and even altering brand valuation.

Complexity academic level

The case is written and designed for a graduate-level (MBA) class or an upper-level undergraduate class in areas such as contemporary issues in management, human resource management, talent management, strategic management, sports management and sports marketing. The case is suitable for courses that discuss strategy, talent management, human resource management and brand strategy.

Details

The CASE Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 1544-9106

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1464-6668

Article
Publication date: 6 February 2009

Nnamdi Madichie

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…

7192

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 November 2015

Stig Arve Sæther and Harry Arne Solberg

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what degree football clubs recruit talents and give them playing time in matches. It also investigates if foreign players

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what degree football clubs recruit talents and give them playing time in matches. It also investigates if foreign players displace younger talents. Furthermore, it analyses to what degree the use of younger talents and foreign players influence the performances of clubs.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data are from Norwegian elite clubs, and come from two web sites: www.altomfotball and www.nettavisen.no. The analyses were done by means of OLS-regressions.

Findings

OLS-regressions showed that clubs that had many foreign players gave less playing time to U20 players than other clubs did. However, these clubs did not have fewer younger talents in the squad than other clubs did. This indicates that foreign players reduce the playing time being given to younger players, but not their ability to train with other teammates. The clubs that won the most points gave less playing time to U20 players (in terms of minutes). Surprisingly, the regression showed that the clubs that had most foreign players did not win more points than others.

Research limitations/implications

Norwegian football clubs have significantly less financial resources than, for example, clubs in the big European football nations. Therefore, more research is necessary to find out whether the findings in this research corresponds with the pattern in other nations.

Originality/value

So far, the discussions about these issues have mainly been based on anecdotal evidence and very little on the findings in academic research. Therefore, this research give new insight to a field that needs more empirical-based analyses.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2009

Nicolas Chanavat and Guillaume Bodet

The purpose of this paper is to provide better understanding of potential foreign customers or satellite fans' perceptions of professional‐football brands, as this…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide better understanding of potential foreign customers or satellite fans' perceptions of professional‐football brands, as this constitutes a necessary step toward setting up an internationalisation strategy to create a global professional‐sport brand.

Design/methodology/approach

Twelve semi‐directed individual interviews with French satellite fans about how they perceive the English Big Four brands of Arsenal Football Club (FC), Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Manchester United are conducted.

Findings

The paper found the common and specific features of each club's brand equity and the typical fans' perceptions of the clubs, which constitute major dimensions upon which the clubs are differentiated in the customers' minds. It also identified such key antecedents to building strong professional‐sport brand equity in the French market as the fit between the image, the values or both of the foreign club and the local club a fan supports.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation is the size of the sample, even if the saturation‐semantic criterion is applied.

Practical implications

This paper emphasises the need for professional‐sport clubs not to underestimate the need for strategic‐marketing steps different from those used at home before implementing foreign marketing operations and constitutes a first step toward future research into the analysis of the perceptions of potential foreign customers or satellite fans in broader contexts.

Originality/value

Although many studies have dealt with the perception of local professional‐sport brands, this paper represents one of the first empirical studies of the perceptions of professional‐football brands in a foreign market.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 January 2010

Guillaume Bodet and Nicolas Chanavat

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the perceived brand equity of professional football clubs on foreign markets as these clubs firmly want to expand and reach a…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the perceived brand equity of professional football clubs on foreign markets as these clubs firmly want to expand and reach a global brand status.

Design/methodology/approach

Fitting with an inductive approach, 12 semi‐structured interviews are conducted in order to analyse the perceptions of Chinese fans of four English Premier League clubs.

Findings

The results of this research highlight the fact that the strength of professional football brand equity on the Chinese market is strongly determined by the level of brand awareness and perceived quality but, due to the increasing competition on foreign markets, professional football clubs need to clearly define their strategic marketing in order to improve the two other dimensions of brand equity, which are brand image and loyalty, which represents crucial stake to distinguish themselves.

Originality/value

The results provide useful information for professional clubs in general which want to become global but also provide relevant ways to improve brand equity for the four clubs investigated. This paper is one of the first to analyse perceived brand equity of professional clubs in direct competition among foreign potential or current customers.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

James Esson and Eleanor Drywood

Reports of human trafficking within the football industry have become a topic of academic, political and media concern. The movement of and trade in aspirant young (male…

Abstract

Purpose

Reports of human trafficking within the football industry have become a topic of academic, political and media concern. The movement of and trade in aspirant young (male) footballers from West Africa to Europe, and more recently to Asia, dominates these accounts. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides an overview of scholarship on this topic, with a specific focus on exploring how this form of human trafficking intersects with the broader debates over children’s rights in the context of exploitation tied to the irregular forms of migration.

Findings

The paper illustrates how popular narratives associated with the trafficking of young West African footballers mimic stereotypical portrayals of child trafficking, which have implications for the solutions put forward. It is argued that popular representations of football-related child trafficking are problematic for several reasons, but two are emphasised here. First, they perpetuate a perception that the mobility of young African footballers entails a deviant form of agency in need of fixing, while simultaneously disassociating the desire to migrate from the broader social structures that need to be addressed. Second, and relatedly, they result in regulations and policy solutions that are inadvertently reductive and often at odds with the best interests of the children they seek to protect.

Originality/value

This an original study of the narratives associated with the trafficking of young West African footballers and those of child trafficking.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

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