Accounting for supporters: developing a new supporter focused reporting framework for the English football league

Middling, Mark (2022) Accounting for supporters: developing a new supporter focused reporting framework for the English football league. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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Summary – This thesis argues that a new supporter focused reporting framework is required in the English football industry to help improve the governance and management of clubs through increased accountability and transparency.

Justification – The recent Fan Led Review is the latest report to highlight the poor governance practices of many football clubs in England. It made 47 recommendations for improvements, but paid very little attention to accountability and transparency as part of the solution. Accountability and transparency are powerful tools to elicit improved performance and should be seriously considered as part of the solution. This thesis fills the gap by recommending improvements in this area.

Aims – This thesis has three main aims. Firstly, to identify the reporting needs of loyal, engaged and informed supporters of EFL clubs. Secondly to evaluate whether current reporting practices meet those needs. Finally, to recommend a new reporting framework, and provide a draft concept report, suitable for supporter focused accountability.

Methods – Eleven key informants took part in a three stage process. Firstly, one-to-one interviews identify participants’ reporting needs. 25 focus group sessions then reviewed current reporting practice, and finally developed a new reporting framework.

Findings – Participants expressed reporting needs in four key areas: Financial, Governance, Sporting and Social factors. Current reporting is found to be lacking in providing the level of accountability to satisfy supporter needs. Justification of the need for the reporting framework was provided based on a football club being a special business, having social accountability, the need to improve behaviour and redress of the social contract between clubs and supporters.

Recommendations – Recommendations for a new supporter focused reporting framework are provided for each section and a concept report also provided. The recommended reporting framework is not intended to be a definitive end point, rather an exercise to stimulate debate and a starting point to negotiate an appropriate level of reporting with clubs, owners and directors.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: football, accountability, annual reporting, transparency, social contract
Subjects: N900 Others in Business and Administrative studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Business Administration
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2023 14:00
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2023 14:15

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