Club sports management and legal implications in the UK
From Advocatespedia, The Law Encyclopedia
Sport Management is a business full of big budget decisions and complex negotiations. If you major in Sport Management, you might go on to organize the National Championship Game, work for Major League Baseball, or build a training program for a university. On the other hand, you might devote yourself to running your city’s youth basketball association. Whatever direction you take, you’ll need to draw on your knowledge of health, fitness, business, and law. Sports Management majors learn how to use legal and business principles to run athletic programs, sports teams, fitness facilities, and health clubs.
|Club sports management and legal implications in the UK|
Sport management is the field of business dealing with sports and recreation. Some examples of sport managers include the front office system in professional sports, college sports managers, recreational sport managers, sports marketing, event management, facility management, sports economics, sport finance, and sports information.
Bachelor's and master's degrees in sport management are offered by many colleges and universities. A number of classes outside sport management may be relevant to the field, including; classes in management, marketing, business administration, economics, and accounting. Internships may also open opportunities within the field.
In America, jobs in sport management include working for professional programs like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and other professional or non-professional sport leagues in terms of marketing, health, and promotions.
- 1 WHAT IS SPORT MANAGEMENT?
- 2 LIABILITY OF THE SPORTING CLUB
- 3 Stevens v Brodribb Sawmilling Company (1986)
- 4 UNIQUE FEATURES OF SPORT
- 5 SPORT CLUB MANAGEMENT ENVIRONMENT
- 6 WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT SPORT MANAGEMENT?
- 7 REGULATION AND CONTROL
- 8 England
- 9 THE SPORTS CLUB ENVIRONMENT
- 10 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
- 11 References
WHAT IS SPORT MANAGEMENT?
Sport employs many millions of people around the globe, is played or watched by the majority of the world’s population, and, at the elite or professional level, has moved from being an amateur pastime to a significant industry. The growth and professionalization of sport has driven changes in the consumption, production and management of sporting events and organizations at all levels of sport. Countries with emerging economies such as Brazil, hosts of the 2014 World Cup for football and the 2016 Olympic Games, increasingly see sport as a vehicle for driving investment in infrastructure, for promoting their country to the world to stimulate trade, tourism and investment, and for stimulating national pride amongst their citizens.
Managing sport organizations at the start of the twenty-first century involves the application of techniques and strategies evident in the majority of modern business, government and nonprofit organizations. Sport managers engage in strategic planning,
manage large numbers of paid and voluntary human resources, deal with broadcasting contracts worth billions of dollars, manage the welfare of elite athletes who sometimes earn 100 times the average working wage, and work within highly integrated global networks of international sports federations, national sport organizations, government agencies, media corporations, sponsors and community organizations.
Students seeking a career as a sport manager need to develop an understanding of the special features of sport and its allied industries, the environment in which sport organizations operate, and the types of sport organizations that operate in the public, nonprofit and professional sectors of the sport industry. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to a discussion of these points and highlights the unique aspects of sport organization management.
LIABILITY OF THE SPORTING CLUB
The player will generally be civilly liable for a deliberate or negligent act inflicting injury to an opponent. A matter for concern to sporting administrators and club officials is the extent to which sporting clubs may also be held liable for the player's actions.
The question is, will the club be vicariously liable for a sportsman's actions?
A club may be liable for the tortious conduct of its player in conformity with the common law principles relating to vicarious liability The best example of this is where the Canterbury Bankstown Rugby League Football Club was held liable for one of its Rugby League players for a deliberate assault. That matter was heard in the case of Rogers v Bugden did.
In a sporting situation, the professional club has deeper pockets than its individual players. Damages verdicts can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars and players simply do not have that sort of financial resource where the Rugby League club in Rogers v Bugden did. The ramifications for the club can be great especially if it is not insured against such exposure to suit. The general test for vicarious liability is, a master will not be responsible for a wrongful act done by his servant, unless that act is done in the course of his employment.
It was established in Buckley v Tutty that rugby league players participating in the New South Wales rugby league football competition were in a master/servant relationship. The rugby league players were paid for their service to the football club.
A person is not liable for the wrongful acts of an independent contractor unless he has expressly authorised those wrongful acts. Where a professional sportsperson is employed and paid for his service by an organisation such as a rugby league football club, it will generally follow that a master/servant relationship exists. Ingenious club administrators may well think the problems of vicarious liability can be overcome by turning the players into independent contractors. This might be possible and it may well overcome the risk of vicarious liability.
At this point in time, it would appear that the professional sporting clubs can do little to protect their interests other than to obtain sufficient insurance. Short of punching, head butting or eye gauging, where such acts are intentional, the club would likely be liable.
A more difficult situation arises where a club employs a player who has a known propensity for violent or dangerous play. There is authority to suggest that a club would be liable if another of its own players became injured as a result of the conduct of the dangerous player.
Stevens v Brodribb Sawmilling Company (1986)
LIABILITY OF PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR CLUBS
The participant in a professional team sport will almost certainly be held liable in respect of any
deliberately or recklessly inflicted injury for which he is responsible.
Where the participant has not inflicted harm deliberately or recklessly he will remain liable to an opponent injured as a result of his careless conduct if that careless conduct was not such a frequent and typical occurrence in that particular sport as to enable the finding that such conduct was inherent risk in that particular sport to which the injured participant has assented.The professional club for which a player plays and is paid will generally be regarded as his employer with the consequence that the principles of vicarious liability are attracted.
The club will be vicariously liable for the conduct of its players where a player inflicts injury, negligently, during the course of a game or that the injury has been deliberately inflicted by conduct which, although not authorised by the club, is of such a nature that it can be seen an unauthorised or wrongful mode of doing something authorised, for example a head high tackle or a trip.
The club will not be vicariously liable for conduct of its players if they are an independent contractor rather than an employee.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF SPORT
Smith and Stewart (2010) provide a list of ten unique features of sport which can assist us to understand why the management of sport organizations requires the application of specific management techniques. A unique feature of sport is the phenomenon of people developing irrational passions for sporting teams, competitions, or athletes. Sport has a symbolic significance in relation to performance outcomes, success and celebrating achievement that does not occur in other areas of economic and social activity. Sport managers must learn to harness these passions by appealing to people’s desire to buy tickets for events, become a member of a club, donate time to help run a voluntary association, or purchase sporting merchandise. They must also learn to apply clear business logic and management techniques to the maintenance of traditions and connections to the nostalgic aspects of sport consumption and engagement.
There are also marked differences between sport organizations and other businesses in how they evaluate performance. Private or publicly listed companies exist to make profits and increase the wealth of shareholders or owners, whereas in sport, other imperatives such as winning championships, delivering services to stakeholders and members, or meeting community service obligations may take precedence over financial outcomes. Sport managers need to be cognizant of these multiple organizational outcomes, while at the same time being responsible financial managers to ensure they have the requisite resources to support their organization’s strategic objectives.
Competitive balance is also a unique feature of the interdependent nature of relationships between sporting organizations that compete on the field but cooperate off the field to ensure the long-term viability of both clubs and their league. In most business environments the aim is to secure the largest market share, defeat all competitors and secure a monopoly. In sport leagues, clubs and teams need the opposition to remain in business, so they must cooperate to share revenues and playing talent, and regulate themselves to maximize the level of uncertainty in the outcome of games between them, so that fans’ interest will be maintained. In some ways such behaviour could be construed as anti-competitive but governments support such actions due to the unique aspects of sport.
The sport product, when it takes the form of a game or contest, is also of variable quality. Game outcomes are generally uncertain, one team might dominate, which will diminish the attractiveness of the game. The perception of those watching the game might be that the quality has also diminished as a result, particularly if it is your team that loses! The variable quality of sport therefore makes it hard to guarantee quality in the marketplace relative to providers of other consumer products such as mobile phones, cars or other general household goods.
Sport also enjoys a high degree of product or brand loyalty, with fans unlikely to change the team or club they support or to switch sporting codes because of a poor match result, or the standard of officiating. Consumers of household products have a huge range to choose from and will readily switch brands for reasons of price or quality, whereas sporting competitions are hard to substitute. This advantage is also a negative, as sporting codes that wish to expand market share find it difficult to attract new fans from other codes due to their familiarity with the customs and traditions of their existing sport affiliation.
Sport engenders unique behaviours in people, such as emulating their sporting heroes in play, wearing the uniform of their favourite player, or purchasing the products that sporting celebrities endorse. This vicarious identification with the skills, abilities and lifestyles of sports people can be used by sport managers and allied industries to influence the purchasing decisions of individuals who follow sport . Sport fans also exhibit a high degree of optimism, at times insisting that their team, despite a string of bad losses, is only a week, game or lucky break away from winning the next championship. It could also be argued that the owners or managers of sport franchises exhibit a high degree of optimism by toting their star recruits or new coach as the path to delivering them on-field success.
Sporting organizations, argue Smith and Stewart (2010), are relatively reluctant to adopt new technologies unless they are related to sports science, where on-field performance improvements are possible. In this regard sport organizations can be considered conservative, and tied to traditions and behaviours more than other organizations.
The final unique aspect of sport is its limited availability. In other industries, organizations can increase production to meet demand, but in sport, clubs are limited by season length and the number of scheduled games. This constrains their ability to maximize revenue through ticket sales and associated income. The implication for sport managers is that they must understand the nature of their business, the level of demand for their product and services (whatever form that may take), and the appropriate time to deliver them.
Collectively, these unique features of sport create some challenges for managers of sport organizations and events. It is important to understand the effects of these features on the management approaches and strategies used by sport managers; the next section explains how these unique features of sport influence the operating environment for sport organizations and their managers.
SPORT CLUB MANAGEMENT ENVIRONMENT
Globalization has been a major force in driving change in the ways sport is produced and consumed. The enhanced integration of the world’s economies has enabled communication to occur between producers and consumers at greater speed and variety, and sport has been one sector to reap the benefits. Consumers of elite sport events and competitions such as the Olympic Games, World Cups for rugby, cricket and football, English Premier League Football, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Grand Slam tournaments for tennis and golf enjoy unprecedented access through mainstream and social media. Aside from actually attending the events live at a stadium or venue, fans can view these events through free-to-air and pay or cable television; listen to them on radio and the internet; read about game analyses, their favourite players and teams through newspapers and magazines in both print and digital editions; receive progress scores, commentary or vision on their mobile phones or tablets through websites or social media platforms such as Twitter; and sign up for special deals and information through online subscriptions using their email address or preferred social media platform.
The global sport marketplace has become very crowded and sport managers seeking to carve out a niche need to understand the global environment in which they must operate. Thus, one of the themes of this book is the impact of globalization on the ways sport is produced, consumed and managed.
Most national governments view sport as a vehicle for nationalism, economic development, or social development. As such, they consider it their role to enact policies and legislation to support, control or regulate the activities of sport organizations. Most national governments support elite training institutes to assist in developing athletes for national and international competition, provide funding to national sporting organizations to deliver high performance and community level programs, support sport organizations to bid for major events, and facilitate the building of major stadiums. In return for this support, governments can influence sports to recruit more mass participants, provide services to discrete sectors of the community, or have sports enact policies on alcohol and drug use, gambling, and general health promotion messages. Governments also regulate the activities of sport organizations through legislation or licensing in areas such as industrial relations, anti-discrimination, taxation and corporate governance.
A further theme in the book is the impact that government policy, funding and regulation can have on the way sport is produced, consumed and managed. The management of sport organizations has undergone a relatively rapid period of professionalization since the 1980s. The general expansion of the global sports industry and commercialization of sport events and competitions, combined with the introduction of paid staff into voluntary governance structures and the growing number of people who now earn a living managing sport organizations or playing sport, has forced sport organizations and their managers to become more professional. This is reflected in the increased number of university sport management courses, the requirement to have business skills as well as industry specific knowledge or experience to be successful in sport management, the growth of professional and academic associations devoted to sport management, and the variety of professionals and specialists that sport managers must deal with in the course of their careers. Sport managers will work with accountants, lawyers, human resource managers, taxation specialists, government policy advisors, project management personnel, architects, market researchers and media specialists, not to mention sports agents, sports scientists, coaches, officials and volunteers.
The ensuing chapters of the book will highlight the ongoing professionalization of sport management as an academic discipline and a career. The final theme of the book is the notion that changes in sport management frequently result from developments in technology. Changes in telecommunications have already been highlighted, but further changes in technology are evident in areas such as performance enhancing drugs, information technology, coaching and high performance techniques, sports venues, sport betting and wagering, and sporting equipment. These changes have forced sport managers to develop policies about their use, to protect intellectual property with a marketable value, and generally adapt their operations to incorporate their use for achieving organizational objectives. Sport managers need to understand the potential of technological development but also the likely impact on future operations.
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT SPORT MANAGEMENT?
Sport managers utilize management techniques and theories that are similar to managers of other organizations, such as hospitals, government departments, banks, mining companies, car manufacturers, and welfare agencies. However, there are some aspects of strategic management, organizational structure, human resource management, leadership, organizational culture, financial management, marketing, governance and performance management that are unique to the management of sport organizations. Strategic management Strategic management involves the analysis of an organization’s position in the competitive environment, the determination of its direction and goals, the selection of an appropriate strategy and the leveraging of its distinctive assets. The success of any sport organization may largely depend on the quality of their strategic decisions. It could be argued that nonprofit sport organizations have been slow to embrace the concepts associated with strategic management because sport is inherently turbulent, with on-field performance and tactics tending to dominate and distract sport managers from the choices they need to make in the office and boardroom.
In a competitive market, sport managers must drive their own futures by undertaking meaningful market analyses, establishing a clear direction and crafting strategy that matches opportunities. An understanding of strategic management principles and how these can be applied in the specific industry context of sport are essential for future sport managers.
An organization’s structure is important because it defines where staff and volunteers ‘fit in’ with each other in terms of work tasks, decision-making procedures, the need for collaboration, levels of responsibility and reporting mechanisms. Finding the right structure for a sport organization involves balancing the need to formalize procedures while fostering innovation and creativity, and ensuring adequate control of employee and volunteer activities without unduly affecting people’s motivation and attitudes to work. In the complex world of sport, clarifying reporting and communication lines between multiple groups of internal and external stakeholders while trying to reduce unnecessary and costly layers of management, is also an important aspect of managing
an organization’s structure. The relatively unique mix of paid staff and volunteers in the sport industry adds a layer of complexity to managing the structure of many sport organizations.
Human resource management
Human resource management, in mainstream business or sport organizations, is essentially about ensuring an effective and satisfied workforce. However, the sheer size of some sport organizations, as well as the difficulties in managing a mix of volunteers and paid staff in the sport industry, make human resource management a complex issue for sport managers. Successful sport leagues, clubs, associations, retailers and venues rely on good human resources, both on and off the field. Human resource management cannot be divorced from other key management tools, such as strategic planning or managing organizational culture and structure, and is a further element that students of sport management need to understand to be effective practitioners.
Managers at the helm of sport organizations need to be able to influence others to follow their visions, empower individuals to feel part of a team working for a common goal, and be adept at working with leaders of other sport organizations to forge alliances, deal with conflicts or coordinate common business or development projects. The sport industry thrives on organizations having leaders who are able to collaborate effectively with other organizations to run a professional league, work with governing bodies of sport, and coordinate the efforts of government agencies, international and national sport organizations, and other groups to deliver large-scale sport events. Sport management students wishing to work in leadership roles need to understand the ways in which leadership skills can be developed and how these principles can be applied.
Organizational culture consists of the assumptions, norms and values held by individuals and groups within an organization, which impact upon the activities and goals in the workplace and in many ways influences how employees work. Organizational culture is related to organizational performance, excellence, employee commitment, cooperation, efficiency, job performance and decision-making. However, how organizational culture can be defined, diagnosed and changed is subject to much debate in the business and academic world. Due to the strong traditions of sporting endeavour and behaviour, managers of sport organizations, particularly those such as professional sport franchises or traditional sports, must be cognizant of the power of organizational culture as both an inhibitor and driver of performance. Understanding how to identify, describe, analyse and ultimately influence the culture of a sport organization is an important element in the education of sport managers.
Financial management in sport involves the application of accounting and financial decision-making processes to the relatively unique revenue streams and costs associated with sport organizations. It is important for sport managers to understand the financial management principles associated with membership income, ticketing and merchandise sales, sports betting income, sponsorship, broadcast rights fees, and government grants and subsidies. Sport managers also need to understand the history of the commercial development of sport and the ways in which sport is likely to be funded and financed in the future, in particular the move to private ownership of sport teams and leagues, sport clubs being listed on the stock exchange, greater reliance on debt finance, and public–private partnerships.
Sport marketing is the application of marketing concepts to sport products and services, and the marketing of non-sports products through an association with sport. Like other forms of marketing, sport marketing seeks to fulfil the needs and wants of consumers. It achieves this by providing sport services and sport-related products to consumers. However, sport marketing is unlike conventional marketing in that it also has the ability to encourage the consumption of non-sport products and services by association. It is important to understand that sport marketing means the marketing of sport as well as the use of sport as a tool to market other products and services.
Sport and the media
The relationship between sport and the media is the defining commercial connection for both industries at the beginning of the twenty-first century and at the elite and professional levels sport is becoming increasingly dependent on the media for its commercial success. Managers of professional or commercial sport organizations and events need an understanding of the structure of the sport broadcast industry, the implications of media diversity and convergence, the valuation of media rights, and the restrictions that government policy and regulation has in some cases. The explosion in the use of social media platforms by consumers demands that sport managers know how to use these platforms to communicate, engage and ultimately influence consumer decisions in relation to their product, service or brand.
Organizational governance involves the exercise of decision-making power within organizations and provides the system by which the elements of organizations are controlled and directed. Governance is a particularly important element of managing sport organizations, many of whom are controlled by elected groups of volunteers, as it deals with issues of policy and direction for the enhancement of organizational performance rather than day-to-day operational management decision-making. Appropriate governance systems help ensure that elected decision-makers and paid staff seek to deliver outcomes for the benefit of the organization and its members and that the means used to attain these outcomes are effectively monitored. As many sport managers work in an environment where they must report to a governing board, it is important that they understand the principles of good governance and how these are applied in sport organizations.
Performance management Sport organizations over the last 30 years have undergone an evolution to become more professionally structured and managed. Sport organizations have applied business principles to marketing their products, planning their operations, managing their human resource and other aspects of organizational activity. The unique nature of sport organizations and the variation in missions and purposes has led to the development of a variety of criteria with which to assess the performance of sport organizations. Sport management students need to understand the ways in which organizational performance can be conceptualized, analysed and reported and how these principles can be applied in the sport industry
REGULATION AND CONTROL
There are also many situations where the state may want to regulate and control the provision of sport activities, and limit the resources devoted to some activities (Baldwin et al. 2012). For example it may be necessary to enact laws and rules that safeguard public order when a large number of people are spectators of, or are playing in a sport event. In most countries there are laws that clearly define the parameters within which sport grounds are to be constructed. These laws will cover things like design specifications, the provision for seating, the number of entry and exits points, and fire prevention facilities (Frosdick & Walley 1997). There may also be rules that govern the behaviour of spectators. Most commonly these laws will relate to the consumption of alcohol and disorderly and violent behaviour (Greenfield & Osborn 2001).
One of the most highly regulated activities is horse-racing. It is not just a case of ensuring the animals are treated humanely, but of also making sure the gaming and gambling practices that surround the sport are tightly controlled so that corrupt practices are minimized. There are many cases around the world where horses have not been allowed to run on their merits. This can involve doping activities where stimulants will be given to horses to make them run quicker, and depressants administered to make them go slower. In both instances the aim is to undermine the betting market, and through the use of inside information to back the horse that has been advantaged, and avoid the horse that has been slowed. Similar incidents are now happening more frequently in a number of professional team sports around the world (Muller et al. 2012). Crime syndicates and bookmakers have bribed sport officials, players and even referees to provide confidential information on the game, deliberately play poorly, and make decisions that favour one team and not another. Two recent cases involved Italy’s premier football competition and the Pakistan cricket team. In each instance government action was immediately taken to more strictly regulate the competitions.
Another form of regulation involves the media in general and TV in particular. In both Australia and England there are anti-siphoning rules that effectively give free-to�air television stations privileged access to major sport events at the expense of pay and cable television providers (Brown & Walsh 1999). This means that a major sport event like the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final must initially be offered to free�to-air stations before being offered to pay TV stations. This is done on the grounds that a sport of national significance should be made as widely available as possible. In Australia the pay TV subscriptions cover less than 50 per cent of all households, and it would therefore be inequitable to give rights to a pay TV station only Government assistance to sport:
The case of ‘active living’ promotion Most developed nations around the world see themselves as a sports-loving nation,
and use sport as a means of generating civic pride, national identity and international recognition (Stewart et al. 2004). This is why so many nations are prepared to spend a lot of money on facilities and programs that take talented young athletes and transform them into elite level champions (McDonald 2011). However, sport development is about much more than just winning medals at international sport events. The state has a responsibility to provide the community with rewarding sport experiences, and to make sure disadvantaged groups especially have open and easy access to facilities (Houlihan 1997). The problem of low participation is being addressed in many and varied ways.
In the 2013 document titled ‘Creating a sporting habit for life: A new youth sport strategy’, Sport England expressed concern that when people leave school they often stop playing sports, and thus neither fulfil their sporting potential, nor ensure a healthy lifestyle. As a result the goal is to get more people playing sport regularly and safely throughout their life, no matter what their economic or social background. These concerns led to the development of a ‘Youth Sport Strategy’ that aims to increase the number of young people developing sport as a ‘habit for life’ by undertaking the following initiatives:
• Sport England will invest £1 billion to assist young people to more regularly play sport, and help break down barriers that make participation difficult at the moment.
• Sport England will work with schools, colleges and universities, as well as local county sports partnerships, the national governing bodies for sport, local authorities and the voluntary sector to improve the sporting ‘offer’.
• Sport England will seek a consistent increase in the proportion of people regularly playing sport, and especially the 14–25 year-old age group.
• Sport England will work to build links between schools and community sports clubs and work with sports such as Football, Cricket, Rugby Union, Rugby League and Tennis to establish at least 6,000 partnerships between schools and local sports clubs by 2017.
• Sport England will invest £160 million on new and upgraded sports facilities, on top ofthe 90 million already invested via Sport England’s Places, People, Play program.
THE SPORTS CLUB ENVIRONMENT
At the centre of sport development in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK is the local or community sports club. It is worth taking some time to reflect on the role of the sports club, how volunteers and staff work in the club environment and how clubs contribute to sport development.
A background report initially prepared in 2001 and updated in 2002 for Sport Scotland provides a snapshot of sport clubs in Scotland (Allison 2002). The most striking thing about local sport clubs is their diversity. Sport clubs have many functions, structures, resources, values and ideologies and they provide an enormous range of participation opportunities for people to be involved in sport. Most clubs provide activity in a single sport, and have as their focus enjoyment in sport, rather than competitive success. Sport clubs in Scotland come in various sizes, with an average membership size of 133, and most tend to cater for both junior and adult participants. They operate with minimum staffing, structures, income and expenditure, and often rely on a small group of paid or unpaid individuals to organize and administer club activities. The majority of club income comes from membership payments, so they tend to operate fairly autonomously. The management of local sport clubs in Scotland is regarded as an ‘organic and intuitive process based on trust and experience rather than formal contracts and codes of practice’ (Allison 2002, p. 7).
The characteristics of local sport clubs in other countries are similar. The vast majority of sport clubs rely almost exclusively on volunteers to govern, administer, and manage their organizations and to provide coaching, officiating and general assistance with training, match day functions and fundraising
STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
In the simplest terms possible, strategy is the match or interface between an organization and its external environment. Looking at strategy in this way is a helpful start because it reinforces the importance of both the organization itself and the circumstances in which
it operates. At the heart of strategy is the assumption that these two elements are of equal importance. Furthermore, strategy concerns the entirety of the organization and its operations as well as the entirety of the environment. Such a holistic approach differentiates the strategy management process from other dimensions of management. One troublesome aspect of strategic management relates to its complex, multi-faceted nature. Johnson et al. (2014), for example note several important features associated with strategic decision-making 1 Strategy affects the direction and scope of an organization’s activities.
2 Strategy involves matching an organization’s activities with the environment.
3 Strategy requires the matching of an organization’s activities with its resource capabilities.
4 The substance of strategy is influenced by the views and expectations of key stakeholders.
5 Strategic decisions influence the long-term direction of the organization With the above points in mind, it is easily concluded that the management of strategy .
It requires a keen understanding of the organization and the environment, as well as the consequences of decisions. But these points miss one vital outcome in the strategy process. The central purpose of strategy is to become different to the competition. From this viewpoint, strategy should help explain how one football club is different from the next, or why a customer should choose to use a recreation facility over another in the same area. The match between an organization and its environment should result in a clear competitive advantage that no other organization can easily copy. Before we proceed, it is necessary to make several important distinctions in definition and terminology. First, strategy and planning are not the same. Strategy can be defined as the process of determining the direction and scope of activities of a sport organization in light of its capabilities and the environment in which it operates. Planning is the process of documenting these decisions in a step-by-step manner indicating what has to be done, by whom, with what resources, and when. In short, strategy reflects a combination of analysis and innovation; of science and craft. Planning identifies in a systematic and deductive way the steps and activities that need to be taken toward the implementation of a strategy. Strategic management marries strategy and planning into a process.
Second, the term strategy can be legitimately used to explain three levels of decision�making. At the first level, a sport organization is faced with the task of establishing clarity about what business it engages in. For example, is the core business providing sport competitions, managing facilities, developing players, winning medals, championships and tournaments, selling merchandise, making a profit, or improving shareholder wealth? At the second level, the term strategy is commonly used to identify how the organization will compete successfully against others. Strategy here offers an explanation of how competitive advantage is going to be created and sustained. Strategy can also be used at an operational level to identify how regular activities are to be undertaken and how resources are to be deployed to support them. For example, a broader strategy to improve player scouting methods might be supported by an operational strategy specifying the purchase of some computer software. Keep in mind that strategic management forms both a process and way of thinking that can be applied to multiple levels of a sport organization.