Whilst employee screening is considered essential in most businesses, especially in relation to senior hires where substantial salaries are involved, it is practically absent in professional football. And, despite the fact that recruitment of professional footballers invariably involves high transfer fees, enormous salaries, financial add on’s and multi-million pound sponsorships, Clubs tend to ignore this most basic of due diligence principles.
There is of course a great deal of research into a footballer’s playing ability, with scouting reports, statistical analysis, videos, rankings by position and medical history. All of which is logical and prudent but provides little or no information relating to the Player’s life and background outside of the pure football arena.
Over recent years there has been much adverse press reporting on our sporting heroes – often through social media. This has tended to not only seriously affect the individual’s careers but also the Club as an employer, where sponsorships are terminated and Players’ sell on values are substantially reduced. The press tends to be overly zealous in their pursuit of sportsmen in the public domain that have erred in their past and this tends to put Clubs on the backfoot as the exposure usually comes as a complete surprise.
It is often the surprise element that escalates the issue, as the Club is unprepared, and this can lead to a public relations disaster.
Ken Dulieu, Chairman of Capcon Ltd, comments: “While the screening of the football Players is arguably more important than that of screening the football Club Executives, so few Clubs undertake these crucial reviews – and so many have found themselves in hot water as a result.
“A comprehensive review of the Player’s background – their current and historical social media activity, any adverse publicity, their history, associates and even political leanings– ensures that the Club is fully aware of each Player’s background and antecedents ahead of any offered contract. With this knowledge, even if there is an issue in the Player’s background that raises concerns, it can either be dealt with under specific clauses in the contract, or processes can be put in place to mitigate any future exposure in the media – thereby protecting both the Club and the Player.”
Ken Dulieu offers extensive experience in working with football clubs, both in advising on specific issues as a consultant as well as being parachuted in by owners/investors for direct involvement and turnaround.
Ken was Chairman of Southampton Football Club between 2005 and 2007 and Chairman of Coventry City Football Club between 2009 and 2011.
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