The sixth and final session of the first edition of the ECA Club Management Programme (CMP), entitled 'Club Environment' took place at the Polish Army Stadium in Warsaw on 30th & 31st May. The session focused on the internal and external environment of a club, and dealt with topics such as governance, stakeholder relations and communications.
The first day of the two-day session focused on external relations with stakeholders in the football industry. Dariusz Mioduski, Owner and President of host club Legia Warszawa & ECA Executive Board Member, welcomed the participants to the Polish Army stadium by sharing a brief history of the venue and club highlighting the important role the club plays in the city. First up to present was Peter Fossen, Chief Operating Officer at PSV Eindhoven, who spoke of the financial, public relations and sporting benefits of developing strong relationships with external stakeholders.
Simon Kuper, leading football writer and co-author of 'Soccernomics', provided a presentation on the competitive balance amongst European football clubs. The Financial Times reporter urged clubs not to overspend in the transfer market and to focus on being financially sustainable in order to be competitive on a sporting and operational level. Sport Director of Bundesliga club Schalke 04, Axel Schuster spoke next on his experience working with different personnel in the football club environment, such as players, managers and agents, to present on the topic of the 'art of negotiation'. Concerning this issue, he explained the challenges and stated 'negotiation is not about winning. It is about achieving your goal'.
The second day was dedicated to communications and included presentations on both traditional media and new media channels, offering solutions on how to combine content with business.
Erik Modig of the Stockholm School of Economics provided an overview of the topic with a lecture on the psychology behind human communication and presented a series of solutions to communicate more effectively with the target audience. Simon Kuper offered further professional insight with a presentation on the changing landscape of traditional media.
Representatives of Manchester United were also present to give case study presentations on the way in which the UEFA Europa League champions utilise all media channels. Director of Communications at the club, Phil Townsend reiterated the continued importance of print and broadcast media and encouraged clubs to work cooperatively with external media outlets. Head of Media Marketing at Manchester United discussed how the club was 'late to the game' in implementing a social media strategy but insisted 'social helps the club to connect with the millions of fans across the globe in way that has never been possible before'.
Subsequently, Jerry Newman, Lead for Sport EMEA at Facebook, offered a masterclass on how sports organisations can make the most out of the social media platform. He gave invaluable insight into how clubs can generate direct revenue and engage better with fans via the channel. To conclude the two-day session, participants were challenged in a practical group session relating to communication management at a football club with a staged press conference.
Regarding the final session in Warsaw, ECA CMP participant and Head of Sport at Legia Warszawa, Marta Wasiluk stated:
"The world is constantly changing with developing technology and it is important for football clubs to take notice. Social media is an important tool for clubs in engaging with fans and this session has given everyone the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others regarding this new media channel."
On the benefits of ECA CMP, she added:
"The ECA Club Management Programme is an innovative concept that has been incredibly helpful in learning about different areas of football club management. As a group, we are lucky to be the first graduates of this programme and I would like to thank ECA staff for this great initiative."
By attending the session, the CMP participants increased their understanding of the complex nature of the world surrounding football clubs, both in terms of the high number of various stakeholders and the different types of communications tools needed to work harmoniously with the club environment.
The second edition of the ECA CMP is set to start in autumn 2017. More information regarding the next edition of the programme and the application procedure will be available on the dedicated www.eca-cmp.com website in mid-June.
About the ECA Club Management Programme (CMP):
The CMP is designed and organised by ECA and aims at strengthening the knowledge of club administrators in all areas of club management. The participants taking part in this programme will gain an insight into all aspects of football club management through content delivered by some of club football's top practitioners as well as renowned academics. The first edition counted 40 participants from 31 different countries.