Thursday, March 29, 2012

MOU-ed Over

"Football, the beautiful game, is in a world of it own and follows the mores that exist in a typical bureaucratic system."
The above quote is a lie.

Football...well, sure it is the beautiful game, but it also has high end politics that are powerful enough to bring up a nation in the eyes of the world, unite social groups, raise the players' social status to that of idols, and even bring down a community or country that takes the sport very seriously.

However, a football club is, in reality, a bureaucratic, for-profit company that sells tickets and merchandise to fans who come to watch the players who are marketed as celebrities. The clubs hold assets, with annual profits that can go as high £255.7 million as Arsenal Football Club in England reported last season. FC Barcelona of Spain, though, reported 420.2 million euros in the 2009-2010 season. They spend on the stadium, facilities, staff, players, their home and away kits, and managers. Every penny spent has to be calculated for carefully due the ridiculously high amount of risk involved.

Steve Macfarlane @ Arsenal FC (source: Flickr)

Interesting, isn't it?

So what happens when they don't spend right? Quite naturally, they report losses. In extreme cases like the Glasgow Rangers, it can even lead to bankruptcy. The footballing spirit of the community falls because hearts are broken. Ticket sales drop sharply, and players leave to save either their own careers or even to bring some much needed cash into the  club, as Kaká famously did for AC Milan back in summer of 2009. He moved to where losses and the global recession did not exist: FC Real Madrid, currently managed by the uber-popular José Mourinho.

Mourinho's case needs to be highlighted, with regard to bureaucracy. A football club is formally run by the President or Board of Directors, who make the decisions as to what manager to bring in, kits, and most of the other things I mentioned in the start of this post. Mourinho prefers to have a lot of dominance in any social grouping he is put in. It doesn't matter what the hierarchy declares he is. He likes to have things his way.

The characteristics of a bureaucracy are pretty clear cut. There is a set division of labour, authority is always hierarchal, positions are filled based on objective criteria only, every decision made is duly recorded and there are written rules.

In Real Madrid, the hierarchy and bureaucracy exist, but, at the same time, they don't really. President Florentino Pérez actually (and unnaturally for him) broke the mores of this type of stratified organization by actually giving Mourinho (a.k.a. The Special One) full rein. This way, Mou now makes larger decisions than what would normally be allowed. He also disregards Perez's warnings and defames others in press conferences if he, or his team, were attacked in anyway - that's him exercising some informal negative sanctions.

Well, yes, he does protect his players. Although, there is a sense of alienation where the President is involved. 'If you don't win, you are axed'. The players become tools for various marketing strategies for the sake of high profits in an organization where only few monopolize the power. Classic oligarchy.
Mourinho does not really seek to eliminate this, but he does not abandon the players either. He serves as a link between the two groups. In the end, the players end up weeping like girls when he decides to leave (Drogba custard, anyone?) .

This is just an example of how an organization actually works in reality.

To be very honest, wherever I look - for me, and for Mourinho - true bureaucracy is either extinct, rare, or completely non-existant. Oligarchy, however, does commonly exist in a lot of places, and certainly so at Real Madrid.

Brian Davidson of brazilfooty asks this:
"Is a little bureaucracy a good thing?"
That I don't really know. Perhaps you might have an answer for him~

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