Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to verify the theoretical assumption about a weaker role of internal governance structures (namely, board and CEO) in determining sporting and financial performances in highly concentrated club ownership environment. Design/methodology/approach: Using data from the Italian and English football clubs playing in their national top divisions, over the period 2006–2015, the authors apply agency theory, property rights theory and win maximization logic to test the absence of a significant impact of internal governance structures on financial performances and clubs’ sporting performance. Ownership structure’s variables are used as control variable. Findings: Empirical findings document an overall poor impact of board structure and CEO features on financial performances, in comparison with the influence of ownership structure; the consolidation of win maximization logic of clubs’ owners has been demonstrated in this specific context. However, the authors found that some internal governance elements have also an impact on performance even if their contribute is limited: board size results negatively associated to club profitability, board independence and CEO tenure are positively related to sporting performance; in addition, CEO tenure also increases profitability. Originality/value: The originality of the paper lies on the contribution arising from this empirical research, since a scarcity of empirical studies analyzing the correlation between internal governance and performance in European football sector is noticed.
- Corporate governance
- Football clubs