Strategy tools, courses & learning materials for individuals, universities and business
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The Football League Challenge

Some initial questions you may have...

If you have other questions that you would like to see answered on this page please contact us.

What time period is needed in class?

This simulation can be accommodated in a three hour class.

Can I afford it?

Pricing for the Football League Challenge is on a "per event" basis. An event licence covers use with between 20 up to 60 students and costs £120.00 for academic use and £240.00 for corporate and executive education.

Getting started - you will need...

  • A class of 20-60 participants – organized into 9-12 teams with 2-5 people in each. It is possible to run with a single instructor, however an assistant helps. The game spreadsheet does not work with fewer than 9 or more than 12 teams!
  • A room with plenty of space for this number of players and teams – they will need to move around. A microphone for the facilitator may help – it will get noisy!
  • A reasonably-powerful PC running Microsoft Excel 2007 or above (it will work with 2003) with macros enabled. This can be linked to a data projector [‘beamer’] to display game results. Alternatively an overhead projector, to display the class slides and results on acetates, with and a separate pc running the game spreadsheet is fine.
  • A reasonably fast printer [black + white is OK]

What materials needed to run the game?

  • The World Football World League Challenge excel spreadsheet – with current license.
  • The Class Slides presentation.
  • The Game Briefing instructions for each player.
  • The Game Architecture diagram and Decision Cards for each team.

Before the Game

  • Set up the PC running excel with the link to the data-projector and printer in the room where the game is to be played. Make sure macros are enabled in excel.
  • In the game software, set up the teams. Depending on how many teams you have activate/deactivate teams 10-12. You can also change the football league and associated team names on the Club Selector page using our options or your own well known local clubs.
  • Print the Game Architecture (A3), Briefing (A4 double sided)and Decision Cards (A4).
  • Hand out the Game Briefing for players to read before the challenge starts.

Playing the game

  • Divide the class into their teams, each being a well-known football club. Explain the performance report each team will receive after each season. Outline the ‘strategic architecture’ of how each club works and performs, and distribute a print-out to each team.
  • The League has already run for 4 seasons with all teams performing the same. Starting in Season 5 teams make two decisions

    how many players to buy
    how many players to sell
  • Hand out the Decision Cards. Each Team writes their decisions for season 5 on their card and hands it to the facilitator.
  • Enter for each team the number of players they wish to buy or sell on to the spreadsheet, taking care to get them the correct way round! After the season has been updated each team’s performance can be printed – one page of statistics for each team. Teams then use this information to form their strategy for the next season.
  • A team may go up or down the league by the end of that season, depending on how this performance changes relative to other teams which changes team morale, fans won and lost, and affects revenues, costs, the value of players, and cash reserves.
  • You can run the game for a maximum of 12 seasons or until there is a clear winner. To win the challenge requires a sustained high position in the league and a high level of cash.
  • Debrief: Celebrate the winners and encourage those who didn’t do so well. Often facilitators give prizes. Discuss the merits and lessons learned from their chosen strategies.

What documentation is provided?

The Football League Challenge
is available in English
and Spanish

Teachers are provided with:

  • Class Slides
  • Football Game Teacher Instructions

Plus materials that may be reproduced for student use:

  • Decision Cards
  • Game Architecture
  • Game Briefing

An inspection copy of the documentation is available on request

The Football League Challenge - An Illustrative teaching schedules

Activity Timing

Introduction and game set up (including Game Briefing)
10 min.

Team Analysis
What is the state of the business and why?
15 min.

Strategic Architecture
Outlining and explaining the Strategic Architecture
20 min.

Setting up the Mechanics of the Game
Explain how each round will work and timing
10 min.

Playing the Game
7 -8 rounds typically)
45-60 min.

10 min.

Assessing student performance

Unlike our computer-based simulations, the Football League Challenge is a whole-class event, so is not designed with the intention of enabling individual assessment of student performance. Nevertheless, teachers may still wish to assign individual work based on the insights offered by the game. For example, students might be asked to write short papers on:

  • the role that intangible factors play in an organization’s performance, and how such factors might be monitored and managed (team cohesion and morale are both critical to performing well in this game, both are measurable, and both reflect management’s decisions on buying and selling players and building the total size of the squad).
  • how management might assess the lead-time between decisions they take and any resulting impact on an organization’s performance (it can take 3-5 years to build a squad with the right experience, so that the team performs well, resulting in high sale-values for any players sold)
  • how management might balance the need to deliver short-term results whilst investing for the future (it will be costly to build a larger squad than needed to deliver good League performance, but this may be advisable if the club can then raise money in later years by selling the high value players it has developed)

Such assignments can be made more specific if the class has also discussed case-studies in which similar issues have been illustrated. Cases on consulting companies or other professional firms, for example, often highlight issues of staff development and experience.