Social Media, Futbol, and Crisis: An exploratory case study examining the FIFA World Cup addressing player concussions

Samantha Hughey


Social media strategies and practices continue to be integrated across various athletic sports, particularly futbol. One of the recent global athletic events that occurred where social media played an important role was the 2014 Fation Internationale de Football Association World Cup in Brazil. While social media brings forth great opportunities for teams to engage with fans and share real-time updates, it also allows active fans to voice concerns around particular issues like player safety i.e. concussions, which could lead to a crisis situation. This particular incident in question involved futbol player Christoph Kramer, who suffered a blow to the head that left him slumped over during the Germany versus Argentina championship match. Fans are linking the lack of concern for player safety to the FIFA brand, making an outcry for protocol to be adapted to tackle the growing issue surrounding players who have suffered from concussions. The FIFA organization waited until September 9, 2014 to address the public and provide a plan for future occurrences of this kind. Based on the theoretical framework of Coombs Situational Crisis Communication Theory, the FIFA commission did not properly assessing the crisis at hand and actually implemented the denial posture of crisis response instead of taking proactive actions to address this situation with their stakeholders.


crisis communications, situational crisis communication theory, sports, social media

Full Text:



Associated Press. (2014, September 9). Fifa’s medical chief calls for mandatory three-minute breaks for concussion. Retrieved from The Guardian:

Baucom, R. (2014, June 16). Who’s getting their kicks on social media? . Retrieved from SportsBusiness Journal: C:Userslibs-eksDocumentsWho’s getting their kicks on social media - SportsBusiness Daily SportsBusiness Journal SportsBusiness Daily Global.htm

Brown, N. A., & Billings, A. C. (2012). Sports fans as crisis communicators on soical media websites. Public Relations Review, 74-81.

Coombs, W. T. (2012). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Coombs, W. T. (2014). Applied crisis communication and crisis management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Desta, Y. (2014, June 11). How to Watch the 2014 World Cup. Retrieved from Mashable:

FIFA. (2014, September 23). FIFA’s Medical Committee proposes new protocol for the management of concussion . Retrieved from FIFA | Football Development:

France-Presse, A. (2014, August 31). Christoph Kramer Left With no Memories of World Cup Final . Retrieved from NDTV Sports:

History of FIFA - Globalisation. (1994). Retrieved from FIFA:

History of FIFA - The first FIFA World Cup™. (1994). Retrieved September 2014, from FIFA:

meme. (2014). Retrieved from Dictionary:

Rukovets, O. (2014, July 15). Concussion news: the World Cup & first-ever AAN sports concussion conference. Retrieved from Neuro Today Online:

Schultz, B., & Sheffer, M. (2011). Factors Influencing Sports Consumption in the Era of New Media. Web Journal of Mass Communication Research, 37.

Solomon, B. (2011). Friend or foe? The impact of technology on professional sports. Communication Law Conspectus, 253-283.

Twitter. (2014). About. Retrieved from Twitter:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]