A cross-case analysis on models of football governance and the influence of supporter groups.


Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


As the football industry continues to reach unprecedented levels of economic growth, elite clubs continue to capitalise on the financial riches on offer across Europe’s most popular leagues. In the quest for financial growth, historic clubs and their supporters continue to endure administration, bankruptcy and mismanagement at the hands of powerful owners. This has led supporters to call for a greater say in how their clubs are governed to safeguard their futures against over-commercialisation, unscrupulous investors and financial irregularities. A cross-case study of clubs in England, Spain and Germany, representing the three most wealthy leagues in world football, examines fundamental factors in models of football governance. The clubs studied are Everton, Athletic Bilbao and Schalke. The case study findings identify three new models of football governance: the “ghost” model at Everton; the “barrier to rights” model at Athletic Bilbao; and the “umbrella” model at Schalke. Additionally, the study investigates the role that supporters play in the way a club governs, and in so doing, explores the influence and relationship of different stakeholder groups. The subsequent research findings identify five key issues in football governance that obstruct a meaningful relationship with supporters: 1) a lack of constitutional clarity leads to weak football governance; 2) a weakness exist around ungoverned roles on boards and executives; 3) there is weak governance knowledge of the role and responsibilities of supporters; 4) a lack of understanding on the benefits of supporter relations; 5) and that ungoverned groups of non-stakeholder supporters can weaken club operations. To address these issues, the study proposes the GLOVE model of football governance, which enables clubs to govern and capitalise on a meaningful relationship with their supporters. Football governance under the GLOVE model provides access to different stakeholder groups, types and relationships without compromising the integrity of the business. As a result, the model offers a framework of football governance that reinforces club-supporter relations with a collective responsibility for club operations, finances and decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publicationonline
PublisherIce Governance Solutions
Number of pages301
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Football


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