chapter  Chapter 13
16 Pages

The sporting director

Exploring current practice and challenges within elite football
WithDaniel Parnell, Ryan Groom, Paul Widdop, Sara Ward

The role of the sporting director is often shrouded in ambiguity, but at its most simplistic level the sporting director can be defined as a senior executive with a sports-specific management remit. The exact nature of the role, particularly within the culture of British football, has created an illusion of mystery, given that its parameters are often unclear and causes much debate in the sports media. The commodified and competitive nature of the football (soccer) industry places competitive advantages in the marketplace at a premium. The utilisation of the sporting director position, represents one strategy for organisations to improve both on and off-field performance success through an organisational and governance structure designed to ensure organisational continuity through periods of change. This chapter aims to examine the current practice and challenges associated with the sporting director role in elite football in England to inform industry practice and future research. The chapter is split into three sections. Section one provides the background and context to the development of the sporting director role in England. Section two offers an insight and analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with Sporting Directors (or those within that senior role under another title) from within football in England that explored: (i) knowledge and understanding of the role, (ii) current practice across football contexts, and (iii) associated challenges within the role. Finally, section three offers a number of conclusions from the research and recommendations for future research.