chapter  Chapter 5
12 Pages

Points, pounds, and politics in the governance of football

WithHallgeir Gammelsæter

Initially football was organised as a grassroots activity and at the top end it was sometimes supported by community-based enterprises or philanthropists that did not require financial returns. In large parts of the world recruitment into football still relies on community-based initiatives and volunteering, and on the autotelic motivation of the individual athlete. However, football is also defined by the market as an industry and the sport and its best clubs and athletes are increasingly being commodified to generate ever more revenue, to benefit owners, sponsors, media corporations, players, and its governing bodies and their officers. The increasing commercialisation and commodification of football challenges governance structures at local, national, and international levels. It is further notable that states still regulate sport, directly and indirectly. Bosman and Brexit may serve as recent reminders, but political bodies have always and for many different reasons seen sport as a vehicle for their own interests, whether or not these are in the interest of the people. This chapter explores how this interplay of institutional logics and constituencies explains the governance and development of football.