‘Be a game changer and keep the ball rolling’: Exploring linkages between football clubs, charitable foundations and doing good

Noel Hyndman, Mariannunziata Liguori *

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: There has been limited research on why football clubs contribute to charity. This paper examines how football clubs and their charitable conduits report information when discussing their connectedness. In addition, it explores reasons why, and the extent to which, football clubs support altruism via such charitable vehicles.
Design/methodology/approach: Case studies of four major football teams (Manchester City/Manchester United in England, and AC Milan/Inter Milan in Italy) are discussed, with formal reports of the clubs and their associated charitable conduits being analysed.
Findings: Boundaries between the clubs and their charitable conduits are frequently blurred. Evidence suggests that acknowledging the co-existence of different factors may help to understand what is reported by these organisations and address some of the caveats in terms of autonomy and probity of their activities and reporting practices.
Research limitations/implications: The research uses case studies of four major ‘powerhouses’ of the game and their associated charitable spinoffs. While this is innovative and novel, expanding the research to investigate more clubs and their charitable endeavours would allow greater generalisations.
Practical implications: The study provides material that can be used to reflect on the very topical subject of ‘sportswashing’. This has the potential to input to deliberations relating to the future governance of the game.
Originality/value: The paper explores relationships between businesses and charities/nonprofits in a sector so far little investigated from a charitable accountability perspective. It suggests that motives for engaging in charitable activity, and highlighting such engagement, may extend beyond normal altruism or warm-glow emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-529
Number of pages28
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Issue number2
Early online date09 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 05 Mar 2024


  • charities
  • accounting
  • football
  • accountability
  • sportswashing


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