How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy?
par Eric Bailly
Staffordshire University (UK) - M.Sc. in European Management Strategy 2003
The four managers interviewed answered every question and gave the maximum information to the interviewee. French managers are not as sharp in giving financial figures considering their clubs; moreover they do not have to publish their accounts the way they do in England. So some financial figures considering French clubs are missing.
Here is a quick portrait of each club to situate them. Of course, more details and figures will be given later in this study:
Source: interviews conducted
The first important step in this study was to define who are the stakeholders influencing football clubs' strategy. On the basis of Polonsky's model (1995), the four managers discussed of the twelve groups the author listed. It appeared that one group had no influence on clubs, so `Scientific community' category was removed. According to them, the `General Public' has no direct effect on clubs, although fans come from there. But a category is already named `Fans', so `General
1. To get every figure in Sterling, the same exchange rate was used for the study. This rate was £1=1,6045?according to the Stock Exchange market on August 13th , 2003.
Public' should be removed.The other categories had to be renamed to be clearer to the readers. So `Legal/Court'became `Organisations' which apply rules to football clubs. Football club's `Consumers'are always called `Fans'. The `Financial Institutions' are the `Banks'. Football clubs'`Competitors' are the `Other Clubs'. Their `Owners' are `Shareholders'. And footballclubs' `Suppliers' usually are `Sponsors', especially for strategic supply, like equipments.Two categories were missing, and not the less important in football, the `Players/Coaches'and the `Agents'. So they have been added to the list. `Public Institutions' are usuallylinked to the clubs, so they can be added.Here is the modified list of now thirteen stakeholders' groups. These changes wererecommended by the four managers interviewed, to clarify which stakeholders this studydeals with.
The first question asked the managers to give the three more important stakeholders' groups considered by the club.
Table 4.2. Clubs' most important stakeholders
Important Liverpool F.C. Stoke City F.C. R.C. Lens Amiens S.C. stakeholders
1 Fans Fans Fans Players
Source: interviews conducted
According to the table 4.2., the most important stakeholders considered by the clubs are fans. Then, the shareholders, employees, media and the players arrive. These groups were the subject of most part of the interviews, so they will be the most important points of this research.
A first interesting point is to highlight that no French clubs consider the shareholders as important stakeholders because in France, clubs do not have access to Stock Exchange market and so, do not belong to private shareholders.