What if? An Examination of English Football Under an American Sports Model

What if? An Examination of English Football Under an American Sports Model

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

Wednesday 25 th May, 6pm-8pm

Given by:

Professor John Wolohan, School of Sport Management & Media, Ithaca College, New York


Professor John Wolohan has published widely on American sports and is one of America’s leading sports law experts. Currently the head of the Sport Management & Media Department at Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches courses in sports law and labour relations in sport, he has been in London since December studying the legal issues surrounding the sports industries in England.

The regulation of English football and the structure of its competitions has been a major issue for debate for some years. For example, currently a Structural Review of the Football Association is being conducted by Lord Burns. Many commentators argue that the English football industry can learn much from the way in which North American sports competitions are organised and regulated. In this seminar Professor Wolohan addresses this proposition in more detail from the perspective of North American observer by examining what a re-organised English Football League might look like under the American sports model. In particular, he will:

  • Review various different American sports models. Although all the professional sports leagues will be discussed, this seminar will focus mainly on the baseball model.
  • Outline some of the benefits and shortcomings of both the American and English sports models.
  • Give an example of what English Football would look like under an American sports model and play-off system.


  • Szymanski, S. and Zimbalist, A. (2005). National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer. Brookings Institution Press.
  • Sullivan, D. and Rader, B. (1995). Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Lowenfish, L. (1991). The Imperfect Diamond: A History of Baseball’s Labor Wars. Da Capo Press.
  • Maccambridge, M. (2004). America’s Game: The Epic Story of how Pro Football Captured a Nation. Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group.

For further details contact:


Sean Hamil 
Football Governance Research Centre

Email: or Tel: 020-7631 6763

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