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How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy?

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par Eric Bailly
Staffordshire University (UK) - M.Sc. in European Management Strategy 2003

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4.3.3. Employees

The communication with employees happens daily at the club, through professional relationship.

Sir Norman Chester Centre (2002) reports that after the Hillsborough drama, British football clubs started to employed qualified staff, especially with marketing skills, rather than ex-players who needed a job. They also run an equal opportunity staff policy. Mendelow would advise football clubs to adopt a defensive strategy and to keep employees informed. In France, the situation is completely different; the clubs' employees are not as qualified as in England: almost none have post-graduate diploma. French football clubs prefer to employ people close to the club independently of their skills. R.C. Lens created about a hundred jobs in the last four years. The wages policy is ruled by the compulsory minima, not by the clubs.

4.3.4. Players and coaches

Clubs communicate with players on a frequent basis but this part of the job is supposed to be assumed by the coaches. Coaches are supposed to report any dysfunction for clubs' top managers to solve it. R.C. Lens has two employees at the club committed to improve players' life.

Considered as key elements of the clubs, they put all their efforts to satisfy them. To improve its team competition, Liverpool F.C. spent £60 million to buy new players and its

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

wages bill grew from £14.6 million to £48.9 million between 1997 and 2001! LFC also upgraded its Melwood training complex and invest money in its football school to `produce' its own players. In addition to its two employees devoted to the players, R.C. Lens recently invested £10 million in new training equipments. The situation is now changing and due to economical difficulties, clubs are now thinking about putting in place a players' salary cap.

4.3.5. Media

Football clubs communicate with media almost daily. The press is always around the clubs and their players, to inform its readers about the teams' news. Concerning the media industry, clubs are in contact with them when a game is re-scheduled. Most of the contacts between media and football exist between the media and the national football organizations (LFP and Premier League).

Archer's model (1995) implies that clubs should have a protective attitude with the media. Clubs are organised to answer the press demand. The press departments at the clubs are more important than the fans or players' ones. For example, LFC employs three full-time persons to deal with the press and the club remains as open as possible. Clubs considers the press as a delicate subject, that's why they usually installed policy not to comment rumours or scandals. To answer media's expectations and to win, football clubs invest impressive amounts of money in recruiting good players, so that the show they offer has a better quality. Concerning the media industry, the Premier League clubs as well as the French clubs base their forecasts on the two years remaining contract with the television. It is not the case for Stoke City F.C.: ITV Digital bought the rights to diffuse the Division One for £200 million but bankrupt last year. A new deal has to be found, through the intermediary of the Football Association.

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