Community perceptions of a CSR programme: a case study of a professional football club

05 Apr 2018

Professional sport organisations, especially football clubs have been historically characterised by committed and loyal support from local communities an example of such a relationship can be traced to 1888, when the leading Scottish club Celtic FC implemented a unique governance system that included allowing their fans to have a say in the running of the organisation (Carr, Findlay, Hamil, Hill and Morrow, 2000); such an accommodation could be viewed as an early example of a corporate social responsibility initiative at a professional football club. It is therefore not surprising that many present day professional football clubs are increasingly integrating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as part of their overall business and operational strategy in order to facilitate sustainable success in a competitive and often volatile environment. However, little if any research has been conducted in an African context regarding CSR programmes and professional sport organisations. In response to this shortcoming the aim of this research was to conduct a case study of community perceptions of the CSR programme at Ajax Cape Town Football Club who play in the Professional Soccer League (PSL). This study employed a mixed methods design in order to generate both quantitative and qualitative data for a nuanced and relevant data analysis. It should be noted that a number of established high profile European football clubs have recognised the importance CSR, for example Barcelona FC whose exemplary CSR structure has been beneficial to the club, as well as their immediate community (Hamil, Walters and Watson, 2010). Furthermore, it has been previously reported that research can facilitate a better understanding of how and if sport organisations can maximise their organisational performance from their CSR and furthermore also show the social and economic benefits of sport (Moyo and Davies, 2015).