Swot Analysis Of The Football Association Accounting Essay

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This paper looks to produce a report that seeks to analyse the work of the Football Association (FA) in the context of an evaluation of the impact of its strategy regarding the advancement of the national game and its legitimacy as an organisation in England. This report provides a background to what is the FA's general remit and how this fits with sports strategic management emanating from the work of the UK government. This report then considers what the FA does and how this reflects its strategy for advancing the national game and its legitimacy as an organisation allowing all participants to enjoy the game and maximise their ability and evaluate where the problems lie around the FA's strategic management to date.

This report seeks to evaluate the Football Association's (FA's) adjective of the advancement of football in England and the FA's legitimacy as an organisation in this country that serves to permit all those that wish to participate in the sport to enjoy it and maximise their ability through a SWOT analysis. First, this report looks to provide a background to the FA's work before analysing how this fits with the UK government's work with other organisations to achieve effective strategic management for then advancing the FA's aims through recognition of the opportunities for reform. This report then considers the FA's activities and how this reflects its strategy for advancing the national game and its legitimacy as an organisation through organisational management and evaluate the strengths of the organisation and where the problems lie and what threats they pose. Finally, this report will summarise the key points derived from this report regarding analysis of the FA's work in its strategy regarding football's advancement and its legitimacy as an organisation.

Findings

(a) Background - What is the FA and what does it do?

The FA has governed English association football since 1863 to oversee both the professional and amateur levels by sanctioning all domestic competitive football matches at the national level directly or local level indirectly through the fifty-five County Football Associations with a view to advancing the development of the sport and its legitimacy as an organisation in this country (The FA.com, 2010b). The FA also run eleven competitions including the FA Cup and appoints the manager of all twenty-four national football teams and has also developed and runs Wembley Stadium (The FA.com, 2010f). Additionally, the FA is a member of both the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) along with having a permanent seat upon the International Football Association Board (IFAB). Moreover, the FA bears responsibility for all national teams managements appointments along with the FA Cup's organisation and having the power to set and vary league rules since both the FA and the Football League (and the Premier League - although not commercially affiliated) have the power to restrict the transfer of players and also take points away from clubs where they seriously contravene rules of the game (The FA.com, 2010a).

(b) SWOT Analysis

To better assess the activities of the FA in relation to its long-held policy objective of advancing the development of the sport and its legitimacy as an organisation in England it is necessary to utilise a SWOT analysis created by Albert Humphrey as a means of strategic planning to analyse the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (hence, 'SWOT') involved with the FA's work (Drejer, 2004). This kind of analysis involves identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable for the FA achieving the advancement of the development of football and its legitimacy as an organisation in England (Armstrong, 1982). This is in keeping with the fact that it has been recognised, for effective strategic management to be carried out by a body like the FA, that there is a need for clear planning, organising, leading and evaluating of both their actions and the resources that they have available to them with a view to advancing the development of the sport and its legitimacy as an organisation in England (Masteralexis, et al, 2009). Therefore, there is a need to evaluate the FA's activities and match them to the environment and its resource capabilities regarding the consideration of operational impacts in terms of expectations so as to then be able to further the FA's long term aims (Torkildsen, 2005). Then, it is also necessary to make a strategic choice through the generation and evaluation of all of the available options so as to then select a strategy for implementation through a set organisational structure that advances the FA's previously alluded to objectives (Parker, 2004).

(i) Strengths

In considering its organisational strengths, one of the FA's key strength is that it is responsible for both developing and regulating the sport without government involvement through effective organisational management accounting for the environment, the organisation's resources and stakeholders expectations (The FA.com, 2010f). To this effect, a further strength of the FA is that, to achieve football's advancement in England, the FA has a clear commitment to making football more accessible for all regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability or background to maintain its market dominance through re-engineering, delayering and restructuring (The FA.com, 2010f). The FA is also able to call upon a significant level of funding illustrated by the fact that the Premier League has generated billions of pounds from Sky, sponsorship and spectators (Bower, 2007) whilst, more specifically, the new Wembley stadium has made a profit of £229 million annually as an important source of revenue for the FA they could reinvest in football (Wembley Stadium, 2010). This has served to mean that the FA is able to invest around £60 million annually with around two-thirds of that being utilised at the grass-roots level so there are now around seven million people of all ages playing football in this country (The FA.com, 2010f).

Additionally, in view of its desire to increase its legitimacy within the community, the FA has established a series of community projects to further its fundamental objective of advancing the sport and the legitimacy of the organisation in this regard. In total the FA have developed around 6,000 projects valued at over £630 million to improve facilities along with a further £4.5m having been invested in Women's football annually so there are now more than a million females involved annually (The FA.com, 2010c). By way of further illustration of the breadth of areas the FA's programmes cover, the 'FA Charity Programme' has been developed to move significant funds to areas within society where it can play a beneficial role with notable partners including 'The Bobby Moore Fund' (The FA.com, 2010c). Furthermore, the 'FA Hat-Trick Programme' has been established to deliver Community Football Development workers to England's most deprived communities whilst also removing barriers to participation for people from all ethnic backgrounds (Norfolk FA, 2010). Moreover, more than 700,000 children under the age of eleven have benefited from 'The FA Tesco Skills Programme' (The FA.com, 2010e), whilst 'The FA's Respect Programme' has improved behaviour and respect to reflect the need for social acceptance (The FA.com, 2010d).

(ii) Weaknesses

Having recognised the FA's strengths it is necessary to also consider its weaknesses as an organisation. To this effect, in the wake of the Premier League's creation in 1992, the FA has arguably lost some of its power of administration and regulation and become immersed in high finance and commercial planning but has been found to lack the professional expertise expected by professionals to its detriment (Bower, 2007). The reason for this is that, although the Premier League may have generated billions of pounds from Sky, sponsorship and spectators, the FA's management has been detrimentally impacted upon by a confused structure of organisation (Bower, 2007). As a result, the FA have proved somewhat stubborn regarding the possibility of reforming themselves with a view to preventing agents corruption, eliminating possible conflicts of interest among club owners and bringing about heightened controls of the ever-increasing prices and wages for players (Bower, 2007). Matters have then only been further exasperated by the ramifications of increased foreign ownership of professional football clubs domestically along with the ever-increasing escalation in the value of TV deals impacting upon the Premier League so that the FA now risks the prospect of there being a potential collapse and usurping of the FA by the Premier League (Bower, 2007). Such problems have then been only further exacerbated by the ongoing rise in foreign ownership from billionaire organisations all over the world only arguably serving to further strengthen the Premier League to the detriment of the rest of football that is governed by the FA throughout the hierarchy of the sport (Bower, 2007).

(iii) Opportunities

Despite the weaknesses that have been recognised with regard to the apparent threats to the FA from the Premier League and billionaire foreign investment, the FA has suggested a system of enforcement to impose a 'fit and proper' test for potential club owners in the Premier League to achieve an effective balance between sporting needs and its commercial potential (Bower, 2007). At the same time, however, it is necessary for the FA to look to maintain its market dominance through re-engineering, delayering and restructuring from the top of the FA all the way down throughout its entire hierarchy (Bower, 2007). In addition, there remains scope for the FA to heighten its legitimacy through the use of community programmes like the the 'FA Charity Programme' that has been developed to move significant funds to areas within society where it can play a beneficial role with notable partners including 'The Bobby Moore Fund' (The FA.com, 2010c). Furthermore, more than 700,000 children under the age of eleven have benefited from 'The FA Tesco Skills Programme' (The FA.com, 2010e), whilst 'The FA's Respect Programme' has improved behaviour and respect to reflect the need for social acceptance (The FA.com, 2010d).

(iv) Threats

As for threats to the FA's stated objective of achieving the advancement of the sport and its legitimacy in this country, the problem is that the Premier League will not concede control of its affairs to the FA to make more effective changes to the way in which football is administered and run in this country (Bower, 2007). This is because FA have proved to be somewhat stubborn in relation to the possibility of reforming themselves with a view to preventing agents corruption, eliminating possible conflicts of interest among club owners and bringing about heightened controls of the ever-increasing prices and wages for players (Bower, 2007). With this in mind, as a result of being somewhat outwitted by the Premier League and now foreign owners, the FA now seem to be somewhat powerless to get the new foreign owners to help with the development and sustainability of the sport domestically (Bower, 2007). This is because it has come to be understood that, if the FA's strategic management is weak, there is a risk the Premier league may take over the running of the domestic game so that the limited money trickling down to the grass roots (around £60 million annually) would cease to the detriment of the advancement of the legitimacy of the organisation and the development of the sport (Bower, 2007).

Conclusions - What can be understood regarding the FA on the basis of this SWOT analysis?

From the SWOT analysis that has been undertaken here, with a view to achieving the FA's objective of the advancement of football as a sport in England and its legitimacy as an organisation in this regard, the FA consistently seeks to advance best practices along with its legitimacy as an organisation to further the development of the sport (The FA.com, 2010f). This kind of analysis involves identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable for the FA achieving the advancement of the development of football and its legitimacy as an organisation in England (Armstrong, 1982). The reason for this is that the FA is seeking to achieve networking and support to further its stated aim through innovative policies in the manner already described to develop skills through an effective infrastructure that permits the establishment of a healthy community and regeneration (Parker, 2004). Therefore, as well as looking to administer football throughout its hierarchy, the FA can issue monetary fines, restrict the transfer of players and deduct points from clubs where they seriously contravene the rules put into place by the FA in matters of finance leading to administration or their failure to keep control of staff (The FA.com, 2010f).

In addition, the FA also looks to invest around £60 million annually in the sport with around two-thirds of that being utilised at the grass-roots level through its sponsorship and broadcasting partnerships so there are now around seven million people of all ages currently playing football (The FA.com, 2010f). At the same time, however, the FA has been subjected to some significant threats from the ongoing development of the Premier League to the detriment of those involved in the sport throughout the hierarchy - what with increased sponsorship and billionaire foreign ownership - so it has then fallen upon the FA to look to regulate the activities of the FA (Bower, 2007). The problem is that the Premier League is a separate body to the FA and does not consider itself wholly subject to either its administration or regulation to the detriment of the FA's objective of the advancement of football in England and its legitimacy as an organisation. Nevertheless, it remains arguable that the FA will retain a high degree of relevance within society because of the Premier League and, despite the risks to its funding, the FA continues to advance its legitimacy through its use of around 6,000 projects valued at over £630 million to improve facilities throughout England (The FA.com, 2010c). This is in keeping with the fact that, for effective strategic management to be carried out by a body like the FA through its work, there is a need for planning, organising, leading and evaluating of both their actions and the resources that they have available to them with a view to advancing the development of the sport and its legitimacy as an organisation in England (Masteralexis, et al, 2009).

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