How the Premier League gives back to the community

Published 11 November 2016 | Authored by: Timothy Bridge

In this series of feature blogs, the Sports Business Group at Deloitte offer their views on some key activities in the Premier League and the global football markets. This second blog examines how the Premier League assists local communities; and the need for it to retain a robust governance structure to oversee the process.

 

Engaging locally, inspiring globally

An often unheralded aspect of Premier League clubs is the off-pitch impact they make within their local communities. Supported by the Premier League, clubs (or the charity associated with a club) are more often than not at the heart of their communities; forging effective partnerships that support the delivery of a wide range of activities, including for the most vulnerable people in society.

The work of clubs in their communities tends to focus on three main areas:

  • Investing in facilities and grassroots – from providing playing kit for school teams, to state-of-the-art changing facilities and 3G artificial grass pitches in high need areas, where the community will benefit the most. 
  • Inspiring sports participation – funding a range of football and other sports participation programmes, designed to encourage people to get active and develop a sporting habit for life.
  • Supporting education and skills – using the popularity of the professional game to motivate young people to maximise their potential, and providing them with educational opportunities. 

To put this into figures,1 in 2014/15:

  • 700,206 people played sport at Premier League community funded sites 
  • 546,000 young people were involved in Premier League funded projects 
  • 4,158 schools undertook Premier League sport and education programmes
  • 525 artificial grass pitches were funded via the Football Foundation
  • 161 Premier League, Football League and Conference clubs across the England and Wales are supported through the Premier League community

 

The need for rigorous governance

The uplift in the new Premier League broadcast deals from 2016/17 will give rise to an extremely significant growth in financial distributions to clubs to invest in community work, and as a result, additional scrutiny of how funds are allocated and distributed. 

Amid such increasing scrutiny, there is an onus on Premier League clubs to apply rigorous governance to their community work, where the reputation of both the clubs and the Premier League itself are displayed widely throughout communities. 

Whilst the quality and impact of the community work enabled by Premier League clubs is unquestionable, there also needs to be the same quality in terms of professionalism and governance practices of those community schemes. 

The high standards that clubs, their community organisations and the Premier League pride themselves on will need to be retained through future work, with best practice governance and operations allowing community organisations to embed quality and provide services with a greater depth and impact than ever before.

Two such projects (that the author’s firm have assisted with) are helping Everton in the community with developing their organisational structure and quality framework; and providing advisory services to Vi-Ability, a Social Enterprise that helps communities to develop thriving and financially stable sports clubs through the provision of education programmes.

 

The Sports Business Group at Deloitte is a team of 20 people based in the UK, working exclusively on consulting and financial advisory projects with clients across all sports around the world, including in respect of sports regulatory and dispute matters. This article was first published in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance (2016 edition). The report and further information is available at www.deloitte.co.uk/sportsbusinessgroup 

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About the Author

Timothy Bridge

Timothy Bridge

Timothy Bridge is a Senior Manager in the Sports Business Group and has worked on a range of consulting, advisory, strategic and diligence projects. 

 

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