Academic journal article International Journal of Sport Finance

Executive Interview: An Interview with David Taylor, General Secretary, UEFA

Academic journal article International Journal of Sport Finance

Executive Interview: An Interview with David Taylor, General Secretary, UEFA

Article excerpt

UEFA is the sports governing body for football (soccer) in Europe with 53 national associations as members of a democratic organization. UEFA is also the most important member of FIFA, which is the international governing body for football. UEFA organizes all European Championships and Youth Championships, as well as two trans-European playoffs every year between the best teams from the national leagues. The better teams from the 53 national leagues are, with some playoffs for the positions, playing in these two leagues. And the better the teams from a national league are performing, the more teams qualify the following year. Up to a certain maximum though, this is a political matter to decide upon. The most important league is UEFA Champions League (ChL), the "second league" is named UEFA Cup. Additionally UEFA governs soccer in Europe, developing programs, law, lobbyism etc.

The 53 nations participating in UEFA have a combined population of 700 million. This includes the 27 European Union countries as well as other big nations such as Russia (143 million), Turkey (71 million), and the Ukraine (47 million).

The popularity of a professional sports league might be measured by the magnitude of the television contracts. The figures below represent the figures accessible to Troels Troelsen and may contain some inaccuracies as most figures are confidential. All figures are per year. ($/Euro = 1.5, $/£ = 2)

UEFA TV-contracts and media rights:

* The 2006 revenue for Champions Leagues (ChL) and UEFA Cup: $ 900 milllion

* UEFA's TV gross revenue for TV contracts for the European Championships (every four years): $1.2 billion in total = $300 per year (www.uefa.com)

Europe-Big-5 football leagues (conferences):

* UK ($2.8 billion), Italy ($850 million), Spain ($700 million), Germany ($ 600 million), France ($950 million) per year = an impressive $ 5.9 billion (TV Sports Markets) in total for the Big-5

Minor football leagues (all other 48) (estimated by Troelsen):

* $ 1.8 billion/year

The total for all the TV-rights for all European football is approximately $ 8.9 billion per year.

David Taylor was born in Forfar (Scotland) in 1954. He was educated at Edinburgh University with an LLB Degree in law. He qualified as a Solicitor and practiced until 1985, during which time he added to his legal qualifications with a MSc in Economics and an MBA from Strathclyde Business School. He joined the Scottish Development Agency (now Scottish Enterprise) in 1985, and held a succession of senior positions before being appointed the first Director of Scottish Trade International, a body set up to promote Scottish business men overseas. In August 1999, he was appointed the position of Chief Executive and Secretary of the Scottish Football Association (SFA), becoming only the sixth Secretary in the SFA's history.

Questions

Q: In which aspects do you think a career in sports business differs from a typical business?

A: It is a difficult question, because in many ways sports business and non-sports business are the same. The need to run a business and manage a business in an efficient and profitable way is the same in sports business as in other businesses.With regard to football, the vast majority of people play on an amateur basis and the vast majority of what is done in the football associations is to support football development. Sports business, in terms of professional sports, is similar in many ways to other businesses in terms of the way in which it has to be managed and run. The real difference, of course, lays in the nature of the business itself-the sport-the effect of the business of the playing of the games and the uncertain outcome of the games. That in itself makes it a very difficult business to manage-rather than playing to put your competitors out of business you are trying to defeat them on the sports field. There is intense competition, but not in the same way as in competition in the business world. …

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