The People’s Game? Football, Finance and Society

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

This book,
entitled ‘The People’s Game? Football,
Finance and Society’ (2003, Palgrave), provides a
wide-ranging study of some of the concerns currently at the
heart of debates about the governance and structure of club
football in Europe. The author, Stephen Morrow, is
a chartered accountant and a member of the Institute
for Sports Research at Stirling University.

The book analyses both problems – for
example, competitive and financial imbalance;
financial mismanagement – and possible
solutions such as club licensing and improved
disclosure. A key feature of the book is its
use of case studies of clubs in Denmark,
England, Italy and the Netherlands to consider
the nature and purpose of contemporary football
clubs and to address issues like ownership
structure, governance and accountability.

The book calls for a wider and more
inclusive debate on the fundamental issue of
how football leagues within Europe should be
structured.  Any decision on restructuring
has implications beyond finance and economics,
encompassing social, policy and legal
dimensions; both at a micro (club) level and at
a macro (nation) state level. Furthermore,
given that structure of football and the
importance of European competition and the
European marketplace, it is an issue that
cannot be fully considered at a nation state
level. What is required at this juncture is an
open and wide debate involving as many of
football’s constituencies or stakeholders
as possible and a policy response from bodies
like UEFA and the European Commission based on
research into how football should be structured
in the future.

The author, Stephen Morrow, is
a chartered accountant and a member
of the Institute for Sports Research at
Stirling University. His research focuses on
the financial aspects of the football
industry.

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