Football and corporate social responsibility
Surprisingly few academic articles have been written about football and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). A number of themes emerged from a literature review of CSR and sport. For this research, it was decided to concentrate on four key issues: to consider the relevance of institutional isomorphism to football clubs‟ CSR policies; to understand the motivations behind the decisions of football clubs to implement CSR policies; to describe the policies and programmes in detail and define their scope, and to examine how outcomes of schemes are measured. The research would also consider recommendations for improving practice across the areas of investigation.
The research was undertaken with the assistance of four professional football clubs: three of the clubs in the Premier League and one in the Championship in season 2011/2012. Face to face interviews were carried out with representatives from the clubs or their community arms. Interviews were also undertaken with the representative of a football club trust with an extensive community programme and a Director of a research organisation with experience in this field to obtain an overview of the issues.
The research findings are presented by setting out the backgrounds to the four case study football clubs and then the key issues are developed in the
results and discussion sections with relevant quotations. The findings from the research reveal a broadening conception of CSR within football, but with motivations that are not always coherently expressed. The broad conception includes diverse community programmes measured increasingly sophisticatedly, but poorly evaluated wider policies. Many of these findings can be seen as related to institutional isomorphism.
The key issues are taken forward into the study‟s conclusion, which considers the future direction of the CSR programmes of football clubs, limitations of the research and recommendations for further research.