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The influence of the domestic league design on football clubs’ international competitiveness



Objective: The objective of this article is to examine whether the design of a national league affects the sports performance of clubs in UEFA international competitions.

Research Design & Methods: We conducted regression analyses of data on the sport performance of football clubs in UEFA competitions over five years. We analysed a total of 260 observations and explained the variability of points earned in UEFA competitions by the format and calendar of domestic league competitions. We also considered control variables, including league revenues, concentration ratios, and time.

Findings: All seven estimated models demonstrated a good fit for the empirical data (adj. R2>0.80). However, we found that neither the domestic league format nor the season calendar (winter or summer) applied by the league were significant in the models. Noteworthy, revenues per club in the league were the primary explanatory factor for international sports performance, while concentration ratios had a positive but minor effect.

Implications & Recommendations: The study provides football league governing bodies with insights that suggest league design should not be seen as a direct means for enhancing clubs’ achievements in international competition. Moreover, it demonstrates that maximizing competition attractiveness through modifications in league design does not necessarily entail a trade-off with maximizing international performance.

Contribution & Value Added: We employed league design as a specific aspect of the home country’s institutional framework and contributed to the institutional-based view of international competitiveness. Our study illustrates that the institutional organization of domestic competition does not significantly impact actors’ competitiveness abroad.


institutional theory, scheduling, sports clubs, sport performance, UEFA, tournament design

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Author Biography

Szczepan Kościółek

PhD in Management (2022, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland), Assistant Professor at the Jagiellonian University. His research interests include both sports economics and management, specifically, the areas of sectoral policies, consumer behaviours, and competitiveness.

Magdalena Lubaś

Master’s in Finance and Controlling (2020, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland). Participant of Doctoral School in Social Sciences of Jagiellonian University. Her research interests include the internationalization of SMEs and international competitiveness.


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