RESPONSIBALL Ranking Undergoes Scientific Review

RESPONSIBALL has been publishing an annual ranking on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of football clubs since 2011. Over the last years, more and more leagues and clubs have been audited, making the ranking one of the most respected and comprehensive benchmarks in the market.

To keep the ranking criteria up to date without compromising on the ability to compare the results year over year, the scientific board at RESPONSIBALL performs regular reviews. In 2014 we had our first scientific audit. Four years later we performed an NGO review. In order to keep the 4-year cycle, this year’s review marks an important milestone in the history of RESPONSIBALL.

This year’s review process, which was accompanied by academics and practitioners from five different countries, has led to an increase in the number of criteria from 46 to 52. Five new criteria were added to the environmental dimension, two to the social and four to the governmental dimension. Some criteria that were deemed no longer appropriate were deleted and in more than a dozen criteria we made minor revisions.

We put an emphasis on giving our auditors an opportunity to award either one or two points, depending on how far clubs are with regards to these respective criteria.

Gender, Sponsors, Financials

Some of the key focus areas were gender-related topics, the role of sponsors, and financial sustainability. Giving more weight to the representation of and opportunities for women in football was an important step in updating our governance criteria. The role of sponsors in football, both with regards to their environmental and ethical impact has been highlighted during the recent activities in Eastern Europe. But it’s a topic that has traditionally not been looked at as thoroughly as needed. And the launch of the new UEFA financial sustainability program provides a good baseline for the evaluation of European Football clubs and has therefore also been added to the auditing criteria.

The audits for this year’s RESPONSIBALL Ranking are starting in the next few weeks and will run through fall 2022, with the publication date set to be around November 2022. The audits are based on the analysis of the clubs’ websites and all publicly available information.

For more questions on RESPONSIBALL, please contact: rolf.schwery@responsiball.com