Dr Dan Parnell



January 2016

Football and health improvement: an emergent field

I am very pleased to present the latest published issue of Soccer & Society, Football and health improvement: an emergent field. This issue was edited by my colleague Dr Andy Pringle and I. 

Volume 17, Issue 2, 2016.

The issue includes contributions from across the UK, Europe and the middle-East and includes special contributions from the English Premier League, Football League, Football Foundation and European Healthy Stadia Network.

This eclectic mix of contributions discusses and challenges the role of football as a vehicle for health improvement, whilst celebration developments in the field. The below section outlines the contributions from the authors, however if you require access to any articles please do not hesitate to contact me on (Twitter @parnell_daniel) or the corresponding author directly:

Football and health improvement: an emerging field Daniel Parnell , Andy Pringle Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

A perspective from key stakeholders on football and health improvement Angus Martin , Simon Morgan , Daniel Parnell , Matthew Philpott , Andy Pringle, Michael Rigby , Andy Taylor , Jon Topham Soccer & Society  Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

Supporting lifestyle risk reduction: promoting men’s health through professional football

S. Zwolinsky , J. McKenna , A. Pringle , A. Daly-Smith , S. Robertson , A. White Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

Effectiveness of a community football programme on improving physiological markers of health in a hard-to-reach male population: the role of exercise intensity Andrew Thomas Hulton , David Flower , Rebecca Murphy , Dave Richardson , Barry Drust , Kathryn Curran Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

Evaluating conflict mitigation and health improvement through soccer: a two-year study of Mifalot’s ‘United Soccer for Peace’ programme Tal Litvak-Hirsch , Yair Galily , Michael Leitner Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

The pursuit of lifelong participation: the role of professional football clubs in the delivery of physical education and school sport in England Daniel Parnell , Sarah Buxton , Des Hewitt , Matthew J. Reeves , Ed Cope , Richard Bailey Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

Can ‘English Premier League’ funding for PE and school sport achieve its aims? Stephen Zwolinsky , Jim McKenna , Daniel Parnell , Andy Pringle Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

The influence of club football on children’s daily physical activity Glen Nielsen , Anna Bugge , Lars Bo Andersen Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016

Football for health: getting strategic Simon Lansley , Daniel Parnell Soccer & Society Vol. 17, Iss. 2, 2016


Football and Health Improvement: an emergent field

The Editorial for our special issue on: Football and Health Improvement: an emergent field. The full and original article can be found here.

All of my other articles can be found here.


Parnell Pringle

Sports strategy: Crouch urges local authorities to keep investing in sport

In a recent article for Leisure Management, the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch urged Local Authorities to continue to invest in sport. It appears that Sports Minister has forgotten about the depletion of Local Authorities services. Further, she also appears to not fully understand the differences between Kent County Council and those ‘up-North’ (which vary in this case in previous amount of sports investment, size and activity of voluntary sector and importantly wealth). 
Read the article here. 
For more on austerity impacts on sport and leisure see here.
Cuts to Local Authority budgets

In the last Spending Review will pave the way for further funding cuts across departments including local government, which through cuts to the DCLG will receive another sharp blow – falling by 56% by 2019/20, which equates to £6.1billion from their annual £12.8billion budget. This means funding for Local Authorities will fall by 6.7%.

This falls hard on an already depleted DCLG that had previously had funding cut 51% since 2010, which resulted in grants to Local Authorities falling by 27%.



Contemporary Policy Debate: Sport and austerity in the UK: an insight into Liverpool 2014

By Daniel Parnell, Peter Millward and Karl Spracklen

Link to the research is here. 
The UKs Comprehensive Spending Review(CSR) in 2010, outlined £81 billion of cutsacross government departments by 2014/2015. The Conservative– Liberal Democrat reform was premised on the Big Society’ making up for their austere cuts to the state. In this piece, we debate the impact of this on sports development, taking the case study of inner city Liverpool. 
This example is marked because, on the onhand, it presents cuts to municipal sports facilities which are threatened with closure as a result of shrinking local authority budgets, and on the other, this role is partially taken on by an offshoot of Everton Football Club (EFC).
The points we debate are:(1) is the change in responsibility from the local authority to a private enterprise, staffed by volunteers, a new turn in sport policy? and (2) what are the consequencesof this on grassroots sport participation?

How the current economic downturn is affecting the sports industry in China

This is an article by Mark Thomas, discovered via Linkedin. Mark’s details are at the bottom of the article.


Following this year’s announcement that Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, news such as the recently created Wanda Sports Group, China Media Capital’s investment in City Football Group as well a plethora of other high level sports-related investment and sponsorship stories coming out of China this year, it is clear that the world’s most populous nation is once again becoming the darling of potential in the international sports industry. This sentiment is reflected in the growth ambitions of both local and multi-national sporting organisations in China, with our English-Mandarin platform seeing upwards of 100 new vacancies in the country advertised each week.

In China anything from the whim of a government official to the dynamic force of the market can affect business strategy and there is a continual challenge to keep up, so has started working closely with the S2M Group and their Managing Director, Mark Thomas, who has more than 25 years’ experience in Asian Pacific sports industry and will be sharing his unique insight with the GlobalSportsJobs audience. In this, the first of his ‘China in focus’ series, he offers his thoughts on how the latest surge in the Chinese sports industry can be attributed to the current downturn in its economy:

Much of the Chinese corporate and individual wealth over the previous decade was made on the back of property investment. So when after oversupply and governmental policy started stagnating, investors in this market started looking elsewhere for growth. This resulted in a growing trend in acquiring overseas assets. There is no greater example of this than China’s richest man Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group, who have not only moved some of their property portfolio overseas but are in the midst of diversifying their assets into other industries, most notably sports and entertainment. They are already making their mark with high profile acquisitions such as US cinema group AMC as well as completing deals to snap up one of the world’s highest profile sports marketing agencies and client Infront.

For the last few decades, most Chinese brands were more than meeting their growth expectations from a surging domestic market, but the economic cool-down with increased competition and saturation in certain sectors has led a few trailblazers to look internationally to fuel new growth. In order to build business in overseas markets there is a need to invest in their brand image in order to build awareness, with sports sponsorship being the predominant means to achieve this. The best working example to date has been China’s Telecom and mobile giant Huawei, who are rolling out a global sponsorship portfolio primarily based around football, such as their partnership with Premier League team Arsenal, to drive brand in order to stimulate sales in key markets. They have been clever enough to be flexible in certain markets where football is not king and their sponsorship of rugby and rugby league properties in South Africa and Australia respectively demonstrates their strategic approach.

Other brands such as Hisense with their partnerships with NASCAR and F1s Red Bull have followed suit and there are plenty more on the way. As such there is currently a massive push to identify and stimulate more Chinese brands to appreciate the benefits of sports sponsorship. However, it is important to note there will be perhaps an even bigger opportunity to take the current ‘two-dimensional’ media-value-driven sponsorships coming out of China and build more holistic communications platforms that can create greater experience and interaction in order to build brand loyalty to both the domestic and international consumers these programs are trying to attract.

In tandem with this globalisation, there has been a revitalisation of certain sectors within the domestic sports market, illustrated by the recent upturn in Chinese Soccer. Like many things in China, the top-down hierarchy has been a catalyst of this. President Xi Jinping’s desire to get the sport to the top of the global game has set into motion an aggressive series of reforms in order to achieve this goal. Supported by improvement in the club game in China highlighted by Guangzhou Evergrande’s success in the Asian Champion’s League and a recent upturn of the fortunes of the national men’s and women’s teams, there has already been an impressive upturn in interest and investment. However, this enthusiasm must be tempered with the caveat that such government-led initiatives have a tendency to be strangled by overzealous administration and in the worst case rampant corruption.

So it seems the economic downturn could be stimulating a great period of growth for sports in China. For sure there will be downturns and cycles along the way but barring major catastrophe there is no doubt it will become one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sports market in the world at some future date. The challenges associated with engaging in sports business in China should be well worth accepting as the rewards could be significant.

S2M Group is a full-service sports marketing agency and Mark Thomas has acted as Managing Director since its inception, working on a cross section of sports industry projects. S2M have been involved in ownership and promoting propriety sports events as well as delivering strategy, events and activation activities on behalf of its clients. Mark speaks fluent Chinese and has excellent relationships with sports rights holders, governmental partners, brands and media within China. Email for more information.


Were UK culture, sport and recreation charities prepared for the 2008 economic downturn? an application of Tuckman and Chang’s measures of financial vulnerability

A new piece of research offers further insight into sport and how prepared charities were for the financial crisis:

Thomas, Rob and Trafford, Richard (2013) Were UK culture, sport and recreation charities prepared for the 2008 economic downturn? an application of Tuckman and Chang’s measures of financial vulnerability.VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 24 (3). pp. 630-648. ISSN 1573-7888 10.1007/s11266-012-9273-1

UK charities experienced rapid growth during the middle years of the first decade of the new millennium. The issue investigated in this study is whether the charities took the opportunity to strengthen their financial positions before the economic recession of 2008–2009. Having evaluated, and established the empirical robustness of, Tuckman and Chang’s measures of financial vulnerability, they are used as the basis for constructing a Charities Financial Exposure Index (CFEI). Variants of the index are applied to a panel of more than 300 large UK charities in the Culture, Sport and Recreation sector for the period 2002–2007. The findings are that by 2008 these charities were in a stronger financial position than they had been in 2002 and were therefore better prepared to face the onset of the so-called credit crunch recession.

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