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Mutuality and German Football – an Exemplar of Sustainable Sport Governance Structures?

Ward, SJ and Hines, A and lammert, J and Scanlon, T (2015) Mutuality and German Football – an Exemplar of Sustainable Sport Governance Structures? In: 42nd Academy of International Business Conference.

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Abstract

German football has been hailed as the ‘holy grail’ of sustainable governance structures by their European counterparts. With laws favouring members’ associations, efficient nonprofit governance structures and sustainable financial regulations resulting in profitable leagues it seemed to warrant further investigation. Focusing on the purest form of the members’ association model, an eingetragener Verein (e.V), this article provides unique case study insights into Hamburger SV (HSV) football club. The main findings reveal supporter ownership is democratic, involving different actors, membership and advisory groups, who contribute to carrying out different governance functions. However, HSV have experienced challenges to their business model, primarily due to financial constraints influencing the club’s competitive advantage. Moreover, the ever-growing number of members has resulted in the dilution of the Supporters’ Club core philosophy. The qualitative findings have been able to provide practical implications to the nonprofit governance literature in relation to multilevel governance structures and subsidiary Boards.

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