User:Diego e/Have business and politics destroyed football?

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Presentation: Have business and politics destroyed football?

Have business and politics destroyed football?

Sport has become a very influential matter in today’s society, evolving and bringing the world together in so many ways e.g. Olympics, commonwealth games, FIFA World Cup, tennis grand slams and etc. However when we discuss the matter of football (soccer) to the equation it can be seen that over 150 years of playing this sport, politics have affected the game in which it can be seen in many cases such as the 1974 world cup where Argentina allegedly gave grain and money to Peru so Argentina can continue their run in the FIFA world cup. The basis of this essay 'has politics and business destroyed football' will be critacally analysed by evaluating past to current events from an international and national perspective. This journal will explore the international politics and business of football and how it has maybe destroyed the sport today. With discussing related literature this journal will allow insights of football of the new current commodities in Australia and the international business of football.

Introduction: Overview of Football[edit]

Over many years football has created a great versatility all over the globe, seeing people scream for their country and club and even at their rivals. Since its beginnings of development 150 years ago, football has grown into an international market (Fifa, 2010). Over the course from the mid-19th to 21st century, football has changed the views of organisations, businesses, politics and people from all over the world. From the illustrious and beautiful European football to the grudge and violent of South American football, a change has been evident with more and more money being invested into football clubs than ever before. The FIFA World Cup is one the reason football has become to what it is today, by uniting the world and show casing the worlds best players at one tournament exemplifies the product and business of football (FIFA, 2010).

The understanding of the game has changed dramatically, from before seeing attacking minded football formations such as 2-2-6, 1-1-8 to formations such as 3-5-2, 4-4-2, 5-2-3 (Fifa, 2010) etc, players have evolved and become great fitness machines. Clubs today now utilise this issue to perform major investments in players to become power houses in the world of football today.

Beginnings: The International Business[edit]

Over a 150 years of rich history of the game called football, their is now an estimate of 210 million people playing the sport (Stewart, B 2008), as great as this sounds, their are however been some dark times in the past which has developed football to what it is today (Miller, 2010). Business and politics influenced the rise of the football and in the mid-1970’s these issues were evident where numerous times corruption and even violence became a media slur and depicted the football traditions (Miller, 2010). The incredible scenes of 1978 world cup game between Argentina and Peru where the hosts (Argentina), had to beat Peru by at least four goals to nil in order to qualify for the second round. With the help of 35,000 tons of free grain and $50-million in credits to Peru that allegedly came from Buenos Aires, Argentina went on to win (Miller, 2010). Political violence in this instance provided a different outlook in football. In 1989 the revolutionary of the Soviet Union came to end, unbelievable scenes in football matches was seen through-out the globe as nations once together, formed deadly alliances against each other and in what now they call rivalry (Miller, 2010).


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Football was never before seen as a massive marketing investment during the wonder years of the great legends e.g. Pele, Diego Maradona, Franz Beckenbauer, Alfredo di Stefano, Sir Bobby Charlton, Michel Platini and Ferenc Puskas. The FIFA world cup was only growing and the effect of globalisation and technology only started to ignite during the 70's and 80's, by the time it reached the 90's and the 21st century, the world has become acustomed to globalisation and technology which gave football the parallel to become one of the biggest sports in the world (Quigley, 2004). With the game changing dramatically by the producement of new equipment, state of the art technology for coaching and smarter coaches and players, this soon gave a reason for media corporations, television, sporting businesses such as Nike & Adidas to take advantage to advertise this beautiful game (Quigley, 2004).

This issue ignited football to another level, it created passion and love for the game in which became a massive industry for sporting businesses. Such examples are the Nike & Adidas company that have major sponsorship rights on many of the players and teams (Adidas History, 2011). These illustrious sport companies are not only controlling the world of football but also many other sports, e.g. Golf, American Football, Tennis, Rugby, Basketball, Volleyball etc, but have used the FIFA world cup, UEFA Football Championships and Olympic Games to expand its global football market leadership (Adidas History, 2011). With sport players especially football players now icons for these large companies, the beauty of the game has changed from football to business qutie substantially. It is in my opinion advertisement and propoganda today make these players what they are recieving quite alot of money, instead of players 30 to 50 years ago not recieving anything but making the game what it is today with their superb attributes. It is evident as Friedman (2007) discusses that 30 years ago legend Diego Maradona was only getting paid $5 million in 3 years (Friedman, I, 2007), in this day players such as David Beckham & Cristiano Ronaldo make over $50 million in 3 years, endorsement rights and sponsorships have easily made this price much higher (TheRichest, 2011).

Clubs: A Marketing Product[edit]

David Beckham, LA Galaxy Image by author: Calebrw, 2007

Today’s society, football clubs is regarded as a major business. Amos (2008) discusses that with over 204 member associations of FIFA from every corner of the globe and over 200,000 football clubs FIFA’s Big Count 2011 football is regarded the world’s largest spectator sport. International competitions like the World Cup has attracted global audiences of almost 30 billion viewers on TV and the English premier league (EPL) attracts almost 6 billion people worldwide (Amos, 2008). The interest of people watching these clubs perform, buying t-shirts and becoming members allow teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal qualify as a major international business as they have a current value of over $1 billion and have a revenue base of over $300 million (TheRichest, 2011), with this amount of money, clubs can market their team by buying top professional players to change clubs for multi-million dollar transfer fees (TheRichest, 2011). Consequently, since becoming a global conglomerate, football is now a marketing business rather than a sport with producing their own product as a revenue base to reach great success.

The Transition: From Politics to Business[edit]

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Football was growing rapidly in countries such as England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in the 19th century (Soccer Academy, 2011), once more countries from Europe began to learn the game a frenchman by the name of Robert Guerin started an organisation named Fédération Internationale de Football Association or also known as FIFA, this defined football as it provided a unifying international body to oversee the development of the international game (Soccer Academy, 2011). As a result, it has played an important part in the development of football by regulating international play, rules, and ensuring fairness and stability between all countries (Soccer Academy, 2011). By any measure football is the most popular sport in the world. It has changed the minds and views of everyone as previously mentioned. However, politics today has been an influencial matter as football is goverened by many organisations and political rights have controlled the game over the years. Australia for this instance, has been in the football industry for quite sometime and has defined the evolution of codes. As Stewart (2008) explains, politics and business have been a reoccuring event which has defined the football in Australia with 4 main phases:

  • Metamorphosis
  • Commercialisation
  • Bureaucratisation
  • Corporatisation

The Politics of Football in Australia[edit]

The question if has politics and business destroyed football can be regulated in this section. Football in Australia has seen quite a change within the past 20 to 30 years; Ethnic tension, family/sponsors preferencing and even business change has contradicted the way football is played today. In 1977 the National Soccer League (NSL) was estbalished to help Australian football become more involved with the international game, as this league was the first national premiership competition of any of the sporting codes the business and ethnic tension soon came to realization that since its inception the NSL became highly volatile league plagued by problems and controversies (Skinner, Zakus & Edwards, 2008). Several issues have combined to make football such a difficult product to develop at the elite level in Australia (Skinner, Zakus & Edwards, 2008). Many issues were raised as teams from different communities around Australia started to participate revealing their own culture as a reason to support their nation while their countries were in turmoil (Hughson, 2001), teams such as South Melbourne Hellas, Victorian Greek Soccer Club, Marconi Stallions, Sydney Olympic and Wollongong Macedonia were teams that represented cultures from Europe and with their wealth and large fan base supporting these teams they were able to import talent from overseas further strengthening their success (Skinner, Zakus & Edwards, 2008).

However success soon was not achievable as the business grew on the NSL and couldnt afford a financial stability, former CEO of FFA John O'Neill described this sitaution as a strained and unworkable relationship, with sponsorship and media deals flawed and untenable, as relations with stakeholders dysfunctional and while the media were always attacking the league (FFA, 2006). The Crawford Report 2003 was then instated to analyse from a government perspective how football has been running and what had to be done to succeed in this tough sporting nation. The report sighted faults as to what Soccer Australia have been doing over 2 decades, the following reasons include:

  1. Severe financial problem
  2. Reduced staffing levels
  3. Political fighting
  4. Lack of strategic direction and planning
  5. Mixed results on the playing field in the international area

The Crawford Report 2003 restructured its faults and found key initiatives that will address ideas to help Football in Australia become a powerhouse sporting code. One of the main initiatives was to restructure the relationship between Soccer Australia and the NSL, and allowing the politics of regional bodies the entitlement of structured management and the best interest to the game (The Crawford Report, 2003 pg.3).

Football Business in Australia[edit]

Frank Lowy CEO of FFA Image by author: Eva Rinaldi , 2011

Football in Australia has subsequently grown since 2003, Frank Lowy the CEO of FFA a pioneer of the NSL discovered a new commodity that will introduce a new branding, competition and management criteria to help the football in Australia grow with other international competition(FFA, 2011). Sport in Australia is quite diverse in many fields and is regarded as one of the top sporting nations in the world (DFAT, 2008), with this, football (soccer) must compete against the 3 biggest football codes. The commodity that resulted was the Hyundai A-League. Now in its 7th year. The A-League is the fastest growing sport competition in Australia in the 21st century providing the top football players within 8 teams the chance to compete against each other throughout a 21 round season (FFA, 2011). The expansion of the A-League was organised in 2009 to expand the league to 12 teams, this however, can tend to disrupt the new business commodity the Hyundai A-League.

The 3 football codes which are: Rugby League (The NRL), Rugby Union (Super 15) and Australian Football (AFL)(MacDonald, R & Booth, R, 2007), have always been the top contenders for sport in Australia, the A-League is blemished by the figures of the 3 other football codes which always consume a financial stability, this is how the NSL kept struggling and the Coffeey Report (2003) discussed this. The A-League season is now played during the off-season of the other 3 football codes from October to March to help its product be noticed, however it now competes against other summer sports such as cricket, tennis, basketball and netball. Football in Australia has seen a rapid change in the competition over the past couple of years (FFA, 2011), the expansion bids of the A-League has seen a different aspects of business of football in Australia, 6 teams from who originally started are still playing today however 5 other teams that have been introduced to the competition have been now dissolved and not allowed to play as lack of financial stability, attendance and poor results made them get kicked out. To discuss further, the A-league expansion bids have been prime examples of how business must be directed to ensure a prominent future for football in Australia. The Canberra A-League bid has been an revolving issue over the past 4 years to whether to produce a team or not, it was directed for a team to have a place in the A-League it must have financial stability and a large fan base (Ritson, J 2009). This issue does come under the business relevance as it shows financial support is fundamental for any type sport.

The Coffey Report (2011) explains requirements by FFA and A-League of a start-up fund, license fee and a guarentee requirement for at least 5 years between this at least $12 million needs to be adhered for a club to begin its life, however cost will increase eventually to market the club to provide a sustainable future, this may guarentee a large amount of debt in the future(The Coffey Report, 2011).

Conclusion[edit]

To conclude this paper, the game of football has changed in many aspects from politics to business and even with marketing to economics. Over many years politics has been a influencial matter as violence and corruption ruled the top stage of football for quite sometime (Miller, 2010), this changed the perspective of football as political organisations became stronger and provided effective rules for both club and countries (FIFA, 2011). As football became stronger so did globalisation and technology, and allowed global sporting businesses such as Nike & Adidas to produce one of the finest marketing techniques to promote their brands by allowing football teams to be sponsored by them. However, Australian football never intended to focus on the big stage of the sport and rarely did it provide help by governments and other businesses. As the transition from commercialisation and bureaucratisation, football in Australia took a turn; a new CEO, new business and new commodity transformed football in Australia and allowed a greater opportunity for employees and even players to be involved in the game (Stewart, 2008). Furthermore, business and politics today has changed the way football is played and now it continues to grow as the FIFA world cup is the second biggest sporting event in the world behind the Olympics and the football leagues in Europe are now one of the most exciting.

Referencing[edit]

  • Coffey Commercial Advisory Report 2011, Tasmania United FC A-League Team, pp. 2-3, Viewed 27th OCtober 2011
  • Hughson, B 2001, ‘The Wogs are at it Again’: The Media Reportage of Australian Soccer ‘Riots’, A Universal Problem, pp.46, Viewed 25th October 2011
  • Report of the Independent Soccer Review Committee: into the Structure Goverance and Management of Soccer in Australia, 2003 The Crawford Report 2003, Viewed on 25th October 2011
  • Skinner, Zakus & Edwards 2008, Coming in From the Margins: Ethnicity, Community Support, and the Rebranding of Australian Soccer, Repositioning and Rebranding the Elite Game, pp.6-7, Viewed 24th October 2011
  • Stewart, B 2008, The Political Economy of Football, Framing the Analysis,Understanding the Evolution of Football in Australia, pp.6-8, Vol.1