The present day’s Finnish world-class sports organizations are operating in a variable and complicated environment. The organizations and development of high-level sports have therefore become increasingly re-emerging as a result of the growing number of development projects and set work teams created by key players in top sports such as the Finnish Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education. The Finnish football federation, Suomen palloliitto (SPL) was founded in 1907 and in 1908, it joined the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Federation governs around 1100 football clubs with over 135 000 registered players, which makes it the largest sports organization in Finland. (Suomen Palloliitto, 2017). It is divided into 12 district offices that operate locally and the governing parties are in charge of education, youth activity, competitions, talent improvement, referee activity, conditions and public relations throughout the field of football.
Since board contribution is such a complex phenomenon, it is commonly assumed that no single theoretical perspective could adequately capture the entire procedure. The impact of external and internal environments, as well as practical and social approaches, need to be taken in to account when analyzing their capability to lead the organizations and make strategic plans (Boxall & Purcell, 2016). Mintzberg (1983) is arguing that depending on the circumstances and environments the boards are facing that boards are places where “internal and external coalitions” meet head-on. Additionally, he states that board’s arrangement and tasks can be determined by power politics that are in the form of a multifaceted network of power relations.
Finnish Football association’s highest decision-making power is being conducted in the federal assembly and during the intergenerational meetings. The administration is managed by the federal association government and under its authority is the general secretary and other staff of the office. The Annual General Meeting is held every three years in September-December by the invitation of the Association’s federal government. The Chairman and the board of the government are always elected in the meeting and among the members of the board should be the representation of both genders. Additionally, the central issue in the meeting is to discuss and state the future strategy for the following years. (Suomen palloliitto, 2017)
According to Donaldson (1990), despite agency theory which takes managers as resourceful skivers, stewardship theory assumes that the higher board primarily want to do a good job. It follows that there are no motivation issues or non-alignment of interest between management and ownership, in addition the governing board will then mostly be in control of setting the strategies. Furthermore, Andrews (1981) proposes that boards’ participation should be controlled by reviewing strategies that have been formulated by the management. The role of the governing board in this theory will be involved in the dominant coalition in guiding the administration to achieve corporate mission and objectives. This theory can also be adapted to the Finnish Football Federation. It is important and valuable to have an active and participative board because the presence of this relation will make the management analyze and articulate their strategies, proposals, and ideas in greater depth.
Strategy is vital because the available resources to achieve goals are usually limited. It, by and large, involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals and assembling resources to execute the actions. Moreover, strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). Strategic planning contains a set of underlying processes that are intended to create or operate a situation to create a more favorable outcome for an organization. Also, the goal setting is the first crucial step in the strategic management process and commonly this setting includes the organization mission- and vision statements (Hill, Jones & Schilling, 2015). As stated by David C.Watt (2003), there should be a proper fitting between the environment and the strategy undertaken which means that the strategy should match the precise situation and needs. One of the reason for this is that there is no general set of strategic choices that are optimal for all industries.
Finnish Football Association board is built on an administrative model because they are the one who creates the strategic plan and is part of the implementation process, and in addition, they set the necessary policies. The current strategy was made for the years 2016-2019 which is a mixture of functional and business-level strategies. It includes factors such as providing football for “all”, equality between genders and better training circumstances. (Suomen Palloliitto, 2015). The magnitude of the strategy affects the entire sports organization, and it requires commitment and committing resources from all aspects of the association. It also goes hand in hand with their vision and mission, and it has taken into account the environmental changes.
However, the strategy has been in the plan for two years already, and no major changes have happened when compared to the baseline. There is only one female in the leading role whereas there are ten males. Still, the federation is promoting itself as an equal and gender neutral working environment. What comes to football for “all,” the prices to play the game are only increasing which makes it even harder for disadvantaged families to take part. After researching the strategy and comparing it to the results, one can make assumptions that it is more like an advertisement than a real strategy.
The Association has the passion, and all the aspects are involved, but the results do not speak in for their advantage. Citizens are criticising them and demanding changes mostly because of the low performance of the national teams. They are using a big amount of the grant for the teams which are not having success while the money could be spent in the grass-root level which is included in the strategy. Either the board needs to change their habits, or new board needs to be elected because they are using wrongly their power. Nevertheless, it needs to be taken into account that The Football Association is not the only federation which is struggling with the same issues.
In conclusion, every action taken by an organization should have a strategic focus. If the action, policy, procedure or process is not underwriting the progressive realization of the organizations’ objectives, then it has no strategic value which unfortunately is the case with the football federation (Smith & Stewart, 1999). Fundamentally, good organizational and board structure is a clear chain of command and identification of specific accountabilities. These kinds of structures make organizations much more effective and strategies more achievable.