Professionalism versus amateurism in grass-roots sport: Associated funding needs

  • Carolyn J Cordery, John Davies
  • Accounting History, December 2015, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1032373215615873

What is it about?

This is a historical analysis of how professionalism and the professionalization of elite rugby in New Zealand has impacted clubs. It considers how the culture and funding in these clubs has changed. It analyses the impact on the values of amateur sport using institutional theory.

Why is it important?

By comparing funding and expenditure patterns in amateur sports clubs for a particular sport – rugby football union (rugby) we show that the costs of professionalism and professionalization at the elite level has negatively impacted amateur clubs finances. Indeed, while the changes have been gradual, they are now outpacing clubs’ ability to fund them. Amateur sport depends largely on volunteers, but if these valuable resources seek more professionalization, clubs will need to develop different models (including funding). Alternatively, amateur clubs may choose to “take back” their core values - either way, change is needed.


Professor Carolyn J Cordery
Aston University

This paper develops a funding model for amateur sports clubs which are quite different from professional clubs. It considers how these clubs manage demands to "be more professional".

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Carolyn J Cordery and Professor John Davies