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Understanding the Lessons of Risk Management in Soccer

Editor’s Note:  This article on risk management in soccer was submitted by a contributor. Note that there issoccer-1477232__340 some very valuable risk management information in the first hyperlink. Although the cited material refers to professional soccer players, the risk management suggestions may be useful to amateur and youth coaches as well. DC

By Connor Smith

Professional soccer players, just like any other athletes, are human beings, ordinary people who possess extraordinary skills that are the envy of many. However, again, just like your average Joe, they are prone to breaking down at any given moment. As a matter of fact, day in and day out, they put themselves at risk of injury, due to the physical nature of soccer.

Here is where the overall idea of risk management comes into play.

The United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health highlights a study carried out on FIFA’s approach to protecting the wellness of its players. Its purpose is to use risk management in such a way that it identifies, quantifies, and alleviates the chances of injuries and ill health amongst pros. At the end of the day, when it comes to professional soccer leagues around the world, as well as the sport and its clubs, each works as an independent business.

Think about it this way, injuries in soccer are like natural disasters that affect a business – this is despite having the best laid out preventive plans.

Journalist Stephen Tudor regularly writes about the rigors of pro soccer players in some of his weekly columns for soccer analysts Betfair. In a recent column, he spoke of how pro soccer players have in general “become highly tuned athletes.” Yet, he went onto say that they expose themselves more to the inevitability of physical aches and pains due to how demanding soccer is on the body. Therefore, injuries are an inevitable part of the game.

As a brand, they – meaning governing bodies, soccer clubs, and players – have to diminish risk and reduce disruptions in their operations. In soccer, this supply chain reflects player talent as its main input. Therefore, risk management becomes an ultra important factor into this equation.

Some of the lessons with regards to this topic are as follows:

Lesson 1

Sequential planning is absolutely fundamental. Whether through injuries, retirement or transfers, soccer players come and go. With this, it is up to the managers to look for and/or hone new talents. On the flipside, this presents the perfect opportunity for other players to step up their game and prove their worth.

Lesson 2

More often than not, some risks or injuries cannot be insured. Every now and then, the magnitude of an actual injury is greater – or worse – than the immediate losses. Yes, insurance companies provide monetary compensation for players, however, it does not diminish the fact that the loss of said player may or may not impact the result of the game.

Lesson 3

There has to be a specific form of efficient personnel utilization. Even though they only require 11 on the pitch and 7 on the sidelines, normally, professional soccer clubs have 30 or so players – sometimes even more. For soccer managers, risk management, every so often, entails the challenge of keeping everyone in the loop. In hindsight, they have to build and maintain a certain level of motivation in order to make everyone feel welcomed and content.

Lesson 4

Recognize risk tolerance. The idea of being too safe in terms of taking risks is sometimes worse than the actual worse case scenario. It is imperative to have this equilibrium of concern and confidence. All things considered, being overly cautious limits development, while having supreme levels of confidence opens the door to overspending, and again, restricted growth.

Photo Credit: Thanks to Pixabay.




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