Purpose – The latest developments in the football industry, the commodification of sport, the excessive focus on profitability and the limited attention to social and environmental aspects have caused a legitimation crisis for football clubs. According to the legitimacy theory, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure represents a tool capable of allowing the construction or repair of legitimacy. This study, in line with this theory, aims to analyse the amount of CSR disclosure provided by football clubs and the determinants, related to visibility, of the level of information provided. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses amanual content analysis on the corporate websites of the 80 football clubs that qualified for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League group stages for the 2019–2020 year to measure the level of CSR disclosure and subsequently a regression analysis to examine the impact of visibility on the amount of information provided. Findings – Results reveal that football clubs still disclose relatively little information about sustainability issues, and that sports performance visibility, human capital visibility and social media visibility positively affect the amount of information that football clubs disclose. Originality/value – This study extends the horizons of CSR disclosure to the football industry which is still little explored in the academic literature. Furthermore, it extends the scope of legitimacy theory, showing how CSR disclosure can be a means for football clubs to obtain or repair legitimacy. Furthermore, this study extends the list of determinants of the level of CSR disclosure, showing that visibility can influence the amount of CSR information. Keywords Corporate social responsibility, Legitimacy theory, CSR reporting, CSR disclosure, Football industry

CSR disclosure as a legitimation strategy: evidence from the football industry

Nicolò, Giuseppe;Tartaglia Polcini, Paolo
2021-01-01

Abstract

Purpose – The latest developments in the football industry, the commodification of sport, the excessive focus on profitability and the limited attention to social and environmental aspects have caused a legitimation crisis for football clubs. According to the legitimacy theory, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure represents a tool capable of allowing the construction or repair of legitimacy. This study, in line with this theory, aims to analyse the amount of CSR disclosure provided by football clubs and the determinants, related to visibility, of the level of information provided. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses amanual content analysis on the corporate websites of the 80 football clubs that qualified for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League group stages for the 2019–2020 year to measure the level of CSR disclosure and subsequently a regression analysis to examine the impact of visibility on the amount of information provided. Findings – Results reveal that football clubs still disclose relatively little information about sustainability issues, and that sports performance visibility, human capital visibility and social media visibility positively affect the amount of information that football clubs disclose. Originality/value – This study extends the horizons of CSR disclosure to the football industry which is still little explored in the academic literature. Furthermore, it extends the scope of legitimacy theory, showing how CSR disclosure can be a means for football clubs to obtain or repair legitimacy. Furthermore, this study extends the list of determinants of the level of CSR disclosure, showing that visibility can influence the amount of CSR information. Keywords Corporate social responsibility, Legitimacy theory, CSR reporting, CSR disclosure, Football industry
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4764084
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