Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Managing Sport and Leisure

For a Special Issue on

The Ownership, Governance and Financial Sustainability of Football

Manuscript deadline
15 December 2023

Cover image - Managing Sport and Leisure

Special Issue Editor(s)

Dr Daniel Parnell, University of Liverpool, UK
[email protected]

Dr Joel Rookwood, University College Dublin, Ireland
[email protected]

Dr Paul Widdop, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
[email protected]

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The Ownership, Governance and Financial Sustainability of Football

As capitalism emerged victorious in the battle to control political and economic ideology across the western and increasingly eastern hemispheres, the impact has had profound effects on markets, consumers and governments. Resources and assets have increasingly become redistributed, falling into the hands of privately owned corporations; and as government policy reacts and supports the free market, with consumers increasingly defined by what, how and where they buy, industries have become hyper-commodified having undergone systematic change. One of the most prominent reflections of this market transformation can be seen in sport, and especially the football industry. As the game embraced the free and unregulated market, unprecedented change has occurred. Club ownership has opened up to U.S. style private equity and increasingly State owned entities, and their pursuit of soft power, franchise and multi-club ownership. Meanwhile, clubs resistant to such models have had to adapt in order to compete within an increasingly aggressive commercial environment.

The heightened commercialisation and demand for growth that capitalism often demands has seen some clubs become global commodities, particularly those in lucrative leagues. As in all markets which embrace this philosophy, there are typically ‘winners and losers’, reflecting the inequalities inherent within the capitalist system. As particular clubs and divisions ‘prosper’, inequality may be generated further down the pyramid as money is extracted from the game and the promised trickle-down economics invariably fails to materialise. As such, the governments who have been complicit in the growing commercialisation of the sport now seek to curb and regulate its excesses, an often futile and hollow undertaking.

Therefore, this special issue seeks to explore both existing and emerging forms of ownership and control in football. Its focus is not only to critically evaluate clubs of the global elite, but also to embrace new forms of ownership and operations that have grown out of a desire to be different, to be more environmentally and socially conscious and sustainable. This special issue is concerned with the local, national and global governance of the game and the futures these may point towards. Its focus includes the financialization of football, embracing of the idea of finance as a concept underpinning modern football. Attention is also drawn to the sustainability of these ownership and governance models and their implications for the growing divide, producing inequalities impacting grassroots and local levels.

Ultimately, football is one of the most popular and lucrative sports in the world, but its ownership and governance structures are increasingly coming under scrutiny. From the rise of billionaire owners to the fallout from the collapse of the latest proposals for a European Super League, the financial sustainability of football is a key concern for stakeholders at all levels of the sport.

This special issue aims to explore the complex relationships between ownership, governance, and financial sustainability in football. We welcome original research papers, conceptual papers, and critical reviews that address this issue. Alongside this, papers that draw on interdisciplinary perspectives, including management, economics, law, and sociology, are particularly welcome.

The special issue has been produced in collaboration with The Football Collective, an interdisciplinary network of academics, researchers, journalists, and practitioners who are interested in the study of football. The Collective aims to promote critical analysis and research of football, with a particular focus on issues related to social justice and diversity. Members of The Football Collective collaborate on research projects, organize conferences and events, and publish research articles and blog posts on a wide range of topics related to football. Founded in 2017, the Collective also has a book series with Routledge titled Critical Research in Football.  The Collective is committed to promoting the public understanding of football, as well as advocating for positive change within the sport.

Submission Instructions

Authors are invited to submit their original research papers, conceptual papers, short communications or commentaries for consideration in this special issue. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the journal's submission guidelines and should be submitted online via the journal's website. All manuscripts will undergo a rigorous double-blind review process.

We expect the special issue to be published online throughout early 2024 and in an issue of the journal in later 2024.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article