5 Lessons in Contract Management from the World Cup

Taking place every four years, the World Cup is the largest sporting event behind the Olympics. How big? Consider this: while the Super Bowl had about 111 million viewers in 2014, the World Cup had 910 million viewers in 2010.

Beyond just big numbers, the World Cup provides big lessons not only in sports management but also in contract management. Here are the top x lessons in contract management from the World Cup 2014.

1. Prepare Clauses for “Catch 22” Scenarios

Nobody could have foreseen that Uruguay’s Luis Suarez would decide to bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on June 24th. The event was a first for the FIFA, so they had to take several days to decide a course of action. In the end, Suarez was banned for the rest of the World Cup 2014 plus 9 extra international matches, prohibited from entering a football stadium or playing for a team for four months, and fined $111,555.

Don’t let your company become a victim of unforeseen circumstances, and have a clause that dictates a course of action under “weird” scenarios. Then, add it to your contract templates as needed.

2. Be Ready for Price Fluctuations

For a team that didn’t make it past the group rounds, Ecuador was a big winner from this World Cup edition. Ecuador’s Renato Ibarra, Enner Valencia, and Antonio Valencia have all caught the eye from Premier League and Mexican League teams, which are planning for aggressive bids for the South American players.

When it comes to contract management, you have to be ready for three main types of price fluctuations:

  • Price hikes from subcontractors that turn a project no longer profitable (a.k.a. “subcontracting squeeze“)
  • Aggressive “at cost” bids from competitors to take away business for you
  • Wild swings in price of commodities due to scarcity (e.g. Mexican limes during early 2014) or speculation (e.g. gold, oil, or bitcoin)

3. Designate a Captain

Howard for the U.S., Messi for Argentina and Ronaldo for Portugal. These team captains were the first ones to approach the ref or a member of the opposing team, in case of an altercation. Having a designated captain is necessary so that  everybody clearly knows what is the official position from the team and who makes the final call.

This applies to contract management as well. Your client needs to know to whom talk for what. Your contract should include a detailed list of points of contact, be it a single person or many. By setting this up in advance, your client has a clear expectation and will not start calling random people at your company in case of an emergency. Make sure to keep the contact list updated and provide a backup contact, in case of vacations or changes in staff.

4. Take Advantage of the Latest Technology

For a game that predates to 2500BC, football surely has not kept up with the times. Unlike basketball, American football, or hockey, football refrained from adopting sports technologies, such as play reviews and motion sensors. However, this World Cup 2014 has two major technologies going on: goal line sensor and free kick foam. Both devices are simple solutions to big causes of major controversies.

In the world of contract management, there are still several companies out there that believe that they don’t need contract management software. The reality is that this technology can prevent your company from major threats, such as the use of unapproved contract language and improper setup for Sarbanes-Oxley audits.

5. Work as a Team to Deliver Results

Portugal’s Ronaldo, Spain’s Torres and England’s Rooney have two things in common. While they are among the top paid players in the world, their teams didn’t make it past the group rounds. It doesn’t’ matter how great are individual team members, what’s important is how the team comes together.

Algeria and Costa Rica are perfect examples of the power of a team coming together. Despite both teams having no big name stars, they made it to the Group of 16. By leveraging the features of an enterprise contract management system, your team can:

  • setup and receive automated email alerts regarding key dates from contract lifecycle
  • manage and access a centralized library of contract templates
  • create drafts faster through drag-and-drop of pre-approved clauses
  • attach any document file, including scans of document with OCR, to a specific contract
  • negotiate and author contracts more accurately with secure check-in/check-out features


Achieve your goals by preparing clauses for “catch 22” scenarios, being ready for value fluctuations, designating a team leader, leveraging the latest technology in contract management software, and working as a team.