CIES has published a FIFA mandated research project analysing league-club relationships and issues concerning internal club governance. 

Building on its first governance study on national associations and leagues, CIES has published a second study of the various governance models existing at both league and club level. It reviews eighteen leagues and one hundred and forty-one clubs spanning all six continental confederations and covers a number of topics: ownership requirements, political representation and decision-making, financial rights and obligations, players’ status, infrastructure, promotion/relegation and the disciplinary process.

FIFA provided input for the initial research terms of reference and assisted with the overall management and direction of the project by facilitating access to a network of contacts at league and club level where the study explores legal form, political representation and management, administrative structure and the role of supporters as well as links with the community. The study highlights the various league-club relationship structures and internal club governance models around the globe, taking in differences and common practices across the continents.

Underlining its commitment to club and league governance, FIFA recently established a dedicated Professional Football Department and approved the creation of a Football Stakeholders Committee as part of a package of landmark reforms at the Extraordinary FIFA Congress. The Football Stakeholders committee will be responsible for, amongst other things, further developing relationships with clubs, players, leagues, member associations and confederations.

CIES’ research project is the first step towards creating a blueprint for possible global benchmarking across leagues and clubs and underlines the importance of ongoing factual analysis of professional football.