Football club (association football)

(Redirected from Association football club)

In association football, a football club (or association football club, alternatively soccer club) is a sports club that acts as an entity through which association football teams organise their sporting activities. The club can exist either as an independent unit or as part of a larger sports organization as a subsidiary of the parent club or organization.

One of the world's most pronounced association football clubs, FC Barcelona, during a home game at their stadium Camp Nou.

The sport of association football allows teams that partake in some sort of club activity to participate in tournaments such as leagues and other competitions. Teams must register their players as well as staff and other personnel to be eligible to represent the club in any activity as it regards to association football competitions.[1]

Club competitions


In association football terminology, competitions are referred to as "club competitions". Supporters may also acquire membership rights within their club. Even sponsors may be accounted for as members of the club of affiliation. This is a reason as to why the sport came to be called association football. The exact requirements for club licensing are regulated by FIFA and implemented on a national level within each national member association.[2]

The majority of association football clubs take part in a league system. These league systems are governed on a continental level by the six regional FIFA confederations. Football clubs exist all over the world on amateur, semi-professional or professional levels of the game. They can be owned by members as well as business entities.



Football clubs have been in practice since the 19th century, with the existence of clubs dating back to the 1850s.[3][4] During the early 1860s, there were increasing attempts in England to unify and reconcile the various football games that were played in the public schools as well in the industrial north under the Sheffield Rules. Working class, industrial cities all over the U.K. began forming their own Football Associations in the late 1800s, from the Scottish Football Association in 1873 to Lancashire FA in 1878. Teams still in existence began popping up, some with the help of the Church; for example, Aston Villa was founded in 1874, Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1877, Bolton Wanderers in 1874 and Everton in 1878.[5]

Professional football clubs


Due to the scope and popularity of the sport, professional football clubs carry a significant commercial existence, with fans expecting personal service and interactivity, and external stakeholders viewing the field of professional football as a source of significant business advantages.[6][7][8] For this reason, expensive player transfers have become an expectable part of the sport. Awards are also handed out to managers or coaches on a yearly basis for excellent performances.

The designs, logos and names of professional football clubs are often licensed trademarks. The difference between a football team and a (professional) football club is incorporation. A football club is an entity which is formed and governed by a committee and has members which may consist of supporters in addition to players.

A consequence of the FIFA rules and regulations for association football clubs is that players are not allowed to be owned by any legal entity other than the clubs themselves. This means that the involvement of external investors in the acquirement of players to the club must only involve the eventual transfer of the rights to the contract of the player in question, and not the contract itself.[9]



There are several professional football clubs that are publicly traded.[10] Normally, football clubs are not run with the intent of profit maximization, as its sports outcomes are considered more important than its financial outcomes by its ownership.[11] In addition, financial regulations as, for example, UEFA Financial Fair Play may also limit what a club is and is not allowed to do with their spending and capital holdings.

The capital structure of a football club most closely resembles that of a nonprofit corporation, although it may still be profitable per se to its investors. A practical example is the fact that clubs may deliberately price matchday tickets below market value, instead favouring a higher stadium attendance or membership priority access over total matchday revenues.[12] Another notable example is the prevalence of community initiatives by professional football clubs.[13][14]

The English Premier League is wholly owned by its 20 participating member clubs.[15]



Professional football clubs also act as market entities offering a highly sought after product to an entertainment sector audience. It therefor acts as a market intermediator between its product (the football players) and its market (the supporters).[16] In doing so, it fills a presence within a certain geographic area where football is a natural part of the culture. Football clubs may also expand their area of reach further from the local region of origin to whom they belong.[17]

Youth systems


Many association football clubs will have either one or more youth systems connected to the organization, either as part of the club, or as an affiliate to the club. The more prestigious football clubs often have a combination of their own youth academies, as well as external sources of talent (pools) through affiliated clubs as well as the arrangement of youth tournaments.



An association football club normally has a designated stadium as their home ground, where the club plays its home games, which normally make up about half of fixtures for a given season. The home ground can either be owned by the club itself or by some other entity such as a business, city or district. Clubs often are the sole event organisers of their home games.

Stadium naming rights are sometimes procured by sponsors to generate additional sources of revenue for the football club. Normally this requires the club (or its owners) to have sole ownership of the stadium of which naming rights are sold.[18]

Administrative infrastructure


An association football club exists as a business entity. The club signs commercial contract with players as well as non-playing personnel. As any business entity it has its own secretary or secretarial department as well as financial, legal, accounting and other departments. The club also often has a department or someone who popularizes it or interacts with public on behalf of the club (public affair). The club may also contain own agronomist or whole agricultural department.

An association football club often times provides some medical support in forms of first or urgent medical aid and physical rehabilitation or recovery plans for its players.

See also



  1. ^ "Club Licensing Regulations" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  2. ^ "FIFA Club Licensing Handbook" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Football clubs ordered after establishment". Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  4. ^ Lee, Chris (15 July 2021). Origin Stories: The Pioneers Who Took Football to the World. Brighton, UK: Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1785317699.
  5. ^ "Soccer Origins, Growth and History of the Game". Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  6. ^ Breuer, Christoph; Rohde, Marc (1 March 2017). "The market for football club investors: a review of theory and empirical evidence from professional European football". European Sport Management Quarterly. 17 (3): 265–289. doi:10.1080/16184742.2017.1279203. S2CID 157226390. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  7. ^ Callejo, Miguel Blanco; Forcadell, Francisco Javier (16 November 2006). "Real Madrid football club: A new model of business organization for sports clubs in Spain". Global Business and Organizational Excellence. 26 (1): 51–64. doi:10.1002/joe.20121. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  8. ^ Senaux, Benoît (March 2008). "A stakeholder approach to football club governance". International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing. 4 (1): 4. doi:10.1504/IJSMM.2008.017655. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  9. ^ Robalinho, Marcelo (2014). Third-Party Ownership of Football Players. Booktango. ISBN 978-1-4689-4179-1.
  10. ^ "Football Clubs you can buy shares in". ADVFN Financial News.
  11. ^ Szymanski, Stefan; Smith, Ron (1997). "The English Football Industry: profit, performance and industrial structure". International Review of Applied Economics. 11: 135–153. doi:10.1080/02692179700000008.
  12. ^ Nash, Rex (December 2000). "Contestation in Modern English Professional Football: The Independent Supporters Association Movement". International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 35 (4). SAGE Journals: 465–486. doi:10.1177/101269000035004002. S2CID 144506173.
  13. ^ Watson, Neil (2000). "Football in the community: 'What's the score?'". Soccer & Society. 1 (1): 114–125. doi:10.1080/14660970008721253. S2CID 145366147. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  14. ^ Kolyperas, Dimitrios; Morrow, Stephen; Sparks, Leigh (2015). "Developing CSR in professional football clubs: drivers and phases". Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society. 15 (2). Emerald Insight: 177–195. doi:10.1108/CG-05-2014-0062. hdl:1893/21665.
  15. ^ "About the Premier League". Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  16. ^ Fleischmann, A. Carolin; Fleischmann, Martin (January 2019). "International orientation of professional football beyond Europe: A digital perspective on the global reach of English, German and Spanish clubs". Sport, Business and Management. 9 (1). Emerald Insight: 97–114. doi:10.1108/SBM-10-2017-0065. S2CID 159049310. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  17. ^ Keene, Stefan (6 June 2007). "The Peculiar International Economics of Professional Football in Europe". Scottish Journal of Political Economy. 54 (3): 388–399. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9485.2007.00421.x. S2CID 154498439. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  18. ^ Gillooly, Leah; Medway, Dominic (2018). "Sponsorships, stadia, and naming rights". Routledge Handbook of Football Business and Management. Routledge. pp. 199–208. doi:10.4324/9781351262804-16. ISBN 9781351262804. S2CID 188620123.

Further reading