The decision making process at a football club is a complicated matter, but the bottom line is that the man with the money is the man with the final say. As John Terry once said to a Russian Magazine: ”Abramovich is the big boss. Everyone respects him”.
In the last few decades, football was taken over by men who want the final say and are willing to pay for it. These owners care more about themselves than the club, or the community it created many years before they “owned” it. These owners are usually ego-motivated to take over the club, seeking trophy glory, political capital, or the fulfillment of childhood dreams. It’s basically all about their ego, and their methods endanger clubs and leagues.
According to an A.T. Kearney study published in July 2010, “the current economic system in soccer encourages over-investment and
extreme risk-taking in order to win games, far beyond economic sense”.
The system led to inflation in ticket prices, a major decrease in the number of young fans in most games, and to the continuing erosion
of the club-community relationship.
Despite all that, this system led to the success of some clubs – such as Manchester City and Chelsea – which is why it is regarded as a
“successful system”. It might be true when looking for short-term trophy success, but it’s a failure in several other aspects.
Meanwhile in a parallel world (Germany), clubs must be owned by the supporters (50%+1 regulation), and the decision process is not
reliant upon a single man’s ego.
German clubs incorporate democracy: A management board handles the club’s day-to-day operations, and a supervisory board is in charge of appointing the directors and overseeing their performance.
The members of the supervisory board are elected at an annual general meeting, at which the supporter-members have a permanent
majority. This allows the community to have direct, democratic control over the great German football clubs.
Because of the democratic structure of football clubs in Germany, clubs tend to follow a longer term vision. This led to the Bundesliga
to incorporate financial regulations designed to encourage clubs to live within their means, and not rack up huge debts.
It also led football clubs to build stronger ties with the community and get the fans more engaged. The Bundesliga financial model is
basically forcing the clubs to invest in the one asset they will always have – their supporters.
You can read more on the German model in David Conn’s article here: Democratic Germany leads free-market England in football’s recovery
It is a better model for football – no doubt.
Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund’s manager, has already crowned the Bundesliga as the best league. The German had previously revealed
an interest in managing in the Premier League, but this is no longer the case. He told Bild: “I think the paradise of football is actually the
German Bundesliga. We have the most competitive and the most attractive league in Europe. It’s the league with the tightest
competition and with the best stadiums. The fans are great.”
It is time to crystallize these axioms with major success, because unfortunately, only sporting success has the ability to change
The problem is that only the filthy rich can win trophies these days, and that’s why it is so very important that German clubs achieve great success in Europe. Not just for the sake of German football, but for the whole of football.
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