COOPERATIVES AND PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL: CAN A COOPERATIVE BE AN ADEQUATE LEGAL STRUCTURE FOR A CLUB? AN ANALYSIS UNDER THE PECOL PRINCIPLES
Football clubs are traditionally organised under an associative legal form. Their objective is therefore not to obtain profit, but to pursue an activity that provides general benefits to the community (both to members and non-members of the association). However, severe financial and management issues have recently come to light in the professional football industry. Good governance is required in order to surpass those problems. The choice of legal form is a main driver of good governance, and that is the reason why under current Portuguese law only companies are allowed to enrol in professional football competitions. But this legislative option has not proven to be the best solution. In this paper, we assess the adequacy of the cooperative form as an organisational option, focusing on the substantial rules of PECOL (Principles of European Cooperative Law), which lays out the “ideal” legal identity of cooperatives, as well as on examples from specific jurisdictions.