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Does sacking the coach help or hinder the team in the short term? Evidence from Belgian soccer







The coaching carousel or turnover is an extreme but frequently occurring phenomenon in soccer. This study examines the effectiveness and efficiency of firing the coach in terms of team performance. In general, the purpose of coach turnover is to improve results in the short run. Therefore, the period of four games before and four games after the date of resignation is the focus of this paper. The hypotheses are set up within the concepts of the organizational learning theory. We analysed the effect of dismissing coaches by examining data from 8392 Belgian soccer games in the first, second and third national divisions; we found that many of the teams whose performance had declined over approximately two months had dismissed their coaches. Within four games under the management of a new coach, team performance improved. However, further analyses revealed that this increase was due to regression to the mean and cannot be attributed to the new coach. A control group comprising teams that had an equal performance dip but did not dismiss their coach showed a similar improvement. We conclude that coach turnover in Belgian soccer is neither an effective nor efficient means to improve performance in the short term.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Balduck & M. Buelens, 2007. "Does sacking the coach help or hinder the team in the short term? Evidence from Belgian soccer," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 07/430, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:07/430

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Audas, Rick & Dobson, Stephen & Goddard, John, 2002. "The impact of managerial change on team performance in professional sports," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 633-650.
    2. R. H. Koning, 2003. "An econometric evaluation of the effect of firing a coach on team performance," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 555-564.
    3. Rick Audas & Stephen Dobson & John Goddard, 1999. "Organizational performance and managerial turnover," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(6), pages 305-318.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The bosses' pay con-trick
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-10-28 14:21:13
    2. Can sacking a coach ever be a good/bad thing?
      by jamesreade in International Journal of Sport Finance Blog on 2010-09-07 13:08:24
    3. Reshuffles: the Brendan Rodgers problem
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-09-04 19:06:25
    4. Obliquity, & the Labour leadership
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-07-21 18:09:30


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    Cited by:

    1. van Ours, Jan C & Van Tuijl, Martin, 2014. "In-season head-coach dismissals and the performance of professional football teams," CEPR Discussion Papers 10191, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Jan C. van Ours & Martin A. van Tuijl, 2016. "In-Season Head-Coach Dismissals And The Performance Of Professional Football Teams," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 591-604, January.
    3. Costanza Torricelli & Maria Cesira Urzì Brancati & Luca Mirtoleni, 2014. "The impact of skill and management structure on Serie A Clubs’ performance," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 14107, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".

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