Exploring a Soccer Society: dreams, themes and the beautiful game

Noel Hyndman*, Irvine Lapsley, Christina Philippou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The primary purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the key perspectives that emerge in this Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) Special Issue as a basis for determining the existence or otherwise of a Soccer Society, as well as reflecting on the challenges that evidence of corruption in soccer (the beautiful game) has had on the game to date. Reflections on these matters are then utilised to offer a prospective analysis of issues for further research.

The paper is a reflective analysis that draws on existing societal work to provide key dimensions of accounting and accountability for significant organisations in the world of sport in general and soccer in particular.

Much prior research on soccer has largely focussed on the internal workings of soccer organisations, with little discussion of the importance of context. This paper explores the influence of the game more broadly. Moreover, a number of the papers included illustrate an overwhelming sense of joy and pleasure from experiences of the beautiful game, as well as providing evidence of the general societal good that can flow from it. However, the study also highlights concerns emanating from weak, and seemingly pliable, governance, regulatory and accountability regimes that provide a fertile field for corruption and sportswashing.

Research limitations/implications
This paper highlights a research agenda as an encouragement to interdisciplinary accounting researchers to investigate accountability and governance issues as a basis for evidence-based discussions of the impact of soccer and its regulation.

This paper specifically, and the Special Issue more broadly, offers a set of original empirical and theoretical contributions with respect to an activity that has faced limited scrutiny and consideration by academic accountants. Together, they offer a substantive body of work to enable future research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-452
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Issue number2
Early online date16 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 05 Mar 2024


  • Soccer Society, Football, Beautiful Game, Accounting and Accountability, Sportswashing, Corruption.


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