“The Corporate Governance of Irish Sporting Government Bodies”

The Business of Sport – Seminar Series

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 23rd April 2008 at 6pm
(For directions click here)

“The Corporate Governance of Irish Sporting Government Bodies”

Given by:

Dr. Ann Bourke, UCD School of Business, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland


Much attention has been given to governance matters in the business world and this now extends to sports bodies and organizations. This presentation focuses on the essence of governance as applied to national sport organizations. The unique roles and characteristics of sports governing bodies are identified and the various governance theories (agency, stewardship, resource dependency, stakeholder etc.) and models are discussed. Reference is also made to the enablers and constraints which may exist in facilitating effective governance arrangements.

Sport in Ireland is popular and widespread with the more popular team sports being Gaelic Football, Hurling, Rugby Union, Football (Soccer) and Field Hockey. Three leading Irish sporting governing bodies (the Football Association of Ireland (FAI); the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and the Irish Rugby Football Union) are the focus of the presenter’s research. A short profile of each organization is provided and insights on each organization’s mission and structure presented drawing on primary and secondary source materials.  The rationale underpinning governance arrangements within each body is examined and any similarities and differences are noted.  The presentation will also focus on how roles and responsibilities of various parties / committees within these bodies are delineated.

Certain governance changes have occurred within these organizations in recent years and the factors (internal / external) contributing to these along with the outcomes (intended and unintended) will be discussed.


  • Forester, J. 2006, Global Sports Organizations and their Governance, Corporate Governance, 6, 1, 72 – 83.
  • Hoye, R. and Cuskelly, G. 2007, Sport Governance, Oxford: Elsevier Publications.
  • Hums, M. and Maclean, J. 2004, Governance and Policy in Sport Organizations, Arizona: Holcomb Hathaway.


Ann Bourke is Vice Principal for Teaching & Learning in the UCD College of Business & Law and a member of faculty within the School of Business. Her research interests include managing university sport; governance of sports clubs, organizations and governing bodies; career choice and international mobility among pre-elite and elite sports people. She is currently a Board Member of the European Association of Sport Management (EASM).

For further details on this Seminar Series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Email: or Tel: 020-7631 6763

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