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Operational crisis communication management: a content analysis of FIFA’s communication during Covid-19

journal contribution
posted on 30.03.2022, 11:03 by Argyro Elisavet ManoliArgyro Elisavet Manoli, Michael Anagnostou
Despite the high number of crises that the sport ecosystem encounters, crisis communication management in sport requires further attention, with operational crisis communication in particular being considered a rather uncharted territory, regardless of its potential significant effects on sport organisations’ reputation. In this study we focus on exploring the themes used in FIFA’s communication during the Covid-19 pandemic, in an attempt to understand how operational organisational crisis communication was managed by football’s leading sport organisation in this unprecedented climate. Content analysis was conducted in all FIFA’s press releases and Twitter messages related to Covid-19 from March 5th to July 3rd 2020, in order for the main themes of their crisis communication to be identified. In this study, insights are offered to the content and meaning of FIFA’s operational crisis communication, their attempts to emphasise the organisation’s positive traits and actions, and the links built with managing and improving the organisation’s reputation. At the same time, the analysis of the themes used indicates that a proactive planning and formulation of crisis communication management had been conducted, while lessons from previous handling of crises also appear to have been learned. By outlining the crisis communication strategy adopted by FIFA, in this study we offer insights to the unexplored area of operational crisis communication in sports, while presenting a roadmap for operational crisis communication management for other sport organisations and future studies exploring the topic.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Sport Management Review




AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Sport Management Review and the definitive published version is available at [insert DOI link]

Acceptance date







Dr Elisavet Manoli. Deposit date: 28 March 2022