A controversial practice in football tells us about innovation failures

September 6, 2023

New publication in the Academy of Management Discoveries (AMD).

At first, it might be surprising that football and innovation have something in common. When looking in more detail, you can see that there is much we can learn from sports as a context to study management challenges and get valuable insights (Fonti et al. 2022).

At ENI (Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science) at University of Stuttgart, we are always on the lookout for relevant insights for entrepreneurs and innovation managers. We are very happy to see that the in-depth analysis of a controversial practice in the football industry has results in valuable management research discoveries! In a joint work with Kerem Gurses from La Salle Ramon Llull University, Basak Yakis-Douglas from King’s College London and Oxford University, and Kandarp Mehta from IESE Business School; Ferran Giones from ENI has been exploring the diffusion of a controversial practice in football (Third-Party Ownership) and how conflicting judgments on the social and economic value of the opaque practice resulted in a progressive abandonment and a final ban.

The article “Foul Play? The Rise and Fall of Third-Party Ownership as a Controversial Practice in Football” is accepted for publication at the Academy of Management Discoveries (AMD). The journal publishes articles that report novel findings or unusual empirical patterns in their particular contexts that are either not adequately explained by current theory or that may play a critical role in the development or testing of new theory.

The article leverages an inductive study based on archival and interview data collected over a decade. It tracks the TPO from its beginnings as an enabler for disadvantaged actors to its ban as an illegitimate financial instrument. The authors show how TPO became increasingly controversial due to its opacity and the diversity of actors involved, they explain how opponents of the practice used their influence to convince regulatory authorities of TPO’s harmfulness and accelerate the abandonment of the practice.

For more information about the project or its implications for innovation management, please reach the authors, they will be happy to elaborate in more detail.


This image shows Melanie Minderjahn

Melanie Minderjahn

M. A.

Research Associate, PR Manager

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