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Moving the goalposts: The new rules for football club CEOs

February 2024

Moving the goalposts


One of the most important figures in any professional football club is undoubtedly its CEO.

However, recent changes in the game and across society have made the job more challenging and stressful, leading to many talented executives wondering if this once-alluring role is still worth having.

As today’s generation of football club CEOs grapple with issues such as changing ownership structures, shifting consumer patterns and financial sustainability, it is now business success that drives sporting success, not the other way around.

This means that what made for a successful CEO in the past is no longer enough. The context in which they operate has become fundamentally more complex and traditional approaches to leadership are now insufficient. A new playbook, one that incorporates issues such as technology, DEI and more nuanced stakeholder management is urgently required.

As advisers to boards and C-suites of football clubs around the world, we witness first-hand how these questions play out in boardrooms and executive offices; and why it is so important to get this right.

We have sat down with senior leaders from top-level football clubs across Europe to consider these issues, discuss their collective experiences, and identify the key skills and character traits needed for CEOs of football clubs to be successful in the future.