Undergraduate Degree

BA (Hons) Football and Business Management

The football industry needs skilled and qualified professionals with a deep understanding and passion for the sport. This is vital to preserving the unique qualities that set football apart from other entertainment forms in a highly competitive environment.

Imagine a club managed by people who are not only passionate about the game but also understand the player’s perspective.

Football consists of numerous elements, yet there is no product without the players.

The PFA Business School, working with an array of top-tier executives and club managers, has created the Football & Business Management degree. This program is designed to help young players take their first steps towards becoming future leaders in the game.

Course Director: Arsene Wenger

PFA Business School

I am very pleased to present the BA (Hons) Football & Business Management degree, delivered by the PFA Business School. 

I have worked with many intelligent young footballers in my career who were more than capable of attaining academic excellence off the pitch but were constrained by the availability of suitable courses that would work alongside their footballing commitments.  

This groundbreaking course is a huge development for this group of people – for the first time giving them the opportunity to combine their playing commitments with an undergraduate degree.

The programme is not only designed to give students an understanding of what happens behind the scenes in the football industry, but also to deepen their knowledge of the various elements that go into their preparation for the game itself, such as coaching, sport science, nutrition, the body and psychology. For this very reason, I believe the course will have an immediate impact on their performance on the pitch, whilst preparing them for the next step in their career. 

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Course Objectives and Target Audience


  • Enable continued formal education while pursuing a football career, providing an opportunity to maintain a focused commitment on the field alongside completing an undergraduate degree.

  • Gain in-depth knowledge in specialist areas related to football club and business management.

  • Understand the decisions made in club management and how they impact the players.

  • Give players the tools to enhance their performance both on and off the pitch.

Target Audience

  • Young players in development squads who are keen to develop not only their on-field football progression but also their potential to become future leaders in football management.

Course Content

Year One: Module 1 - The Global Football Industry

The English football pyramid

Football club organisation models: ‘Traditional’ English, Continental European, and hybrid

Football governing bodies: Roles and jurisdiction

Football institutions and their regulations:

  • Football associations and competitions
  • Football federations and government institutions
  • Conflicts between institutions, club governance, and relations with stakeholders

IFAB and the laws of the game

Global league structures: Open versus closed systems

The growth of the women’s game

Football and sustainability

The rise of eSports and it’s impact

Module 2 - Club Management

Club management models and organisational structures: understanding roles and responsibilities

Stakeholder mapping and engagement: examining relationships with the president, board of directors, sporting director, shareholders, agents, and others

Club ownership models and their impact on business management

Audiovisual rights in football

Football club governance

Multi-club ownership

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Module 3 - Sport Finance

Football club financial statements

Analysis of accounting information

Financial statements and reporting

Revenue streams and financial sustainability

Economic control and Financial Fair Play (FFP)

Financial redistribution

Sport team financial planning:

  • Economic analysis of the club’s assets
  • Management of sport assets from a financial perspective
  • Financial planning
Module 4 - Football Psychology, Sports Science and Nutrition

How the brain works

Psychological understanding for players:

  • Applying emotional intelligence with players: Identify and manage emotions
  • Mental strength versus mental health
  • Biomechanics and movement analysis
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Psychological methodology for player interaction

Variables affecting group performance:

  • Team psychological state analysis
  • Team psychological conflict management

Psychological match preparation

Variables affecting group performance during the season

The importance of Nutrition

Biochemistry and metabolism

Food groups’ impact on athletic performance

Module 5 - Personal Development

In the first year of the programme, students will have the opportunity to engage in a Personal Development module. This will involve them compiling a learning portfolio from their daily programme, encompassing work with coaches, psychologists, sports scientists, nutritionists, performance analysts, and player care staff. Additionally, they will have opportunities to gain insight from other club departments such as Marketing, Commercial, Finance, HR, and Recruitment, or any other area specific to their club and of interest to them.

Year Two: Module 6 - Marketing and Commercial Management

Marketing Management in football:

  • Segmentation, targeting and positioning
  • Branding
  • Pricing
  • Go to market strategy
  • Digital marketing
  • Marketing communications

Football Club commercial management:

  • Fan engagement
  • Football club commercial strategy
  • Marketing and sponsorship strategy
  • Ticketing and hospitality
Module 7 - Human Resource and Player Care

Human Resources Management in Football Clubs:

  • People management within sports clubs
  • Organisational sizing and structure in football clubs
  • Compensation and salary frameworks in sports clubs
  • Recruitment and talent management in sports environments
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policies

Player Care Management:

  • Player recruitment, onboarding and offboarding
  • Day-to-day operations
  • Language education services
  • Religious and cultural support
  • Logistics for away and home matches
  • Managing the player care team
  • Balancing club vs player interests
  • Managing interactions and perception
  • Safeguarding and child protection measures
  • Player wellbeing, education and career transition
Module 8 - PR, Media and Broadcasting

Development of Communication Skills

  • Who we are and how we say it
  • Content creation and building a narrative
  • Managing personal emotions for effective communication

Management of Football Communications

  • Handling the post-match interview

  • Engaging with media in interviews and press conferences
  • Social media communication
  • Communication crisis management

Media management and PR in football

Media law, ethics and regulations

Module 9 - Event and Project Management

Event Management

  • The event’s purpose
  • The participants’ experiences
  • Equality of access and inclusivity
  • Risk management and problem-solving
  • Event sponsorship and fundraising
  • Matchday planning and execution

Students will have the chance to participate in matchday event management to understand the processes of running a successful event.

Project Management and Critical Thinking

Project management lifecycle

Processes - initiate, plan, execute, control and close

Knowledge areas - integration, scope, time, cost, risk, quality, HR and communication

Designing project plans and feasibility analysis

Managing scope through activity decomposition and value chain analysis

Change control procedures

Estimating costs of activities and formulating budgets

Qualifying, quantifying and prioritising risks

Project control

Module 10 - Football Coaching (UEFA B Licence)

As part of this module, students will have the opportunity to complete the UEFA B Licence, with an additional assessment to obtain university sign-off.

Course Overview

The module combines practical and theory aspects of football, encompassing various onfield practices and off-field workshops.

Module Outline

Learners must complete 12 workshops, both online and face-to-face. These workshops will cover the Player, the Game and the Coach. They will include a range of topics from philosophy to session planning.

  • A minimum of eight days of practical face-to-face training (includes goalkeeping)
  • x12 theory-based workshops, which can be online or in-person

Practical Experience

Students must actively participate in a coaching team for at least 18 sessions, covering different aspects of coaching, including technical/ tactical, physical development, psychological  development and individual, unit and team analysis.

Project Phase

Learners will need to complete post-course tasks covering Football Fitness, Match Analysis and Psychology.


Students will need to present their coaching and playing philosophy, and produce a written learning journal as part of the university assessment.

Year Three: Module 11 - Law and Governance (FIFA Agent Exam)

This module will not only provide students with comprehensive knowledge of legal and governance aspects of football but will also prepare students to take the FIFA Agent Exam*.

The FIFA Agent Exam is open-book with a time limit of 60-minutes. This module will cover the following:

  • FIFA Football Agent Regulations
  • FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players
  • Preparation for the FIFA Agent Exam (including, understanding the exam, exam strategy and practice exams)

The Law & Governance Module will also cover the following topics:

Employment law aspects of the football industry

  • Employment law framework for sportspersons
  • Football contracts
  • Player union and collective representation 

Labour Law in the Football Industry

  • Labour Law framework for sports professionals
  • Football contracts
  • Player unions and collective representation

Sports companies and corporate regulations

  • Sports companies and corporate regulations
  • Sports corporations
  • Corporate transactions
  • Clubs’ insolvency proceedings 

Taxation in sports

  • Taxation of players, football clubs, acquisitions, image rights/sponsorship
  • International taxation

Specific sports legislation

  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
  • Landmark cases in international sports law: Eastham, Bosman, Collett, Pistorius, Rooney
  • Sporting Integrity Laws: anti-doping, match-fixing and the trafficking of minors 

Commercial Law in Football

  • Sponsorship contracts

* Exam entry is the responsibility of the individual student.

Module 12 - Strategic Management and Business Intelligence

Strategic business and sports due diligence

Mission statement: What kind of club do we aspire to be?

Understanding fan expectations: SWOT analysis

Defining business development objectives

Balanced scorecard and establishing KPIs

Formulating strategy and setting sporting objectives

Diverse strategies across different clubs

Business intelligence and data management

Module 13 - Recruitment, Scouting and Performance Analysis (FA Telent ID & Scouting Certificate)

Module Overview

This degree is designed to equip students with a wide range of skills to give them multiple options for their post-playing career. As part of this module, students will have the opportunity to complete the FA National Talent Identification & Scouting in Football course, designed to help increase their ability to recognise talent in the game.

Students will be introduced to the key principles of scouting, including match reporting, how you build and develop relationships, and how to analyse performance against potential.

In addition, students will learn more sophisticated scouting strategies and how to effectively manage the talent identification environment at a club.

The course focuses on four critical areas of talent identification - the key principles of scouting, the importance of relationships, the latest methods of recognising potential and the complex governance procedures surrounding talent identification.

After completing this course you will:

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of the scout, developing an awareness of good practice within a talent ID department
  • Be able to perform the role of a scout, undertaking designated responsibilities within a talent ID department
  • Develop an awareness of good practice within the talent identification department

In addition, this module will cover the following areas:

  • Key Metrics: Assessing technical and tactical performance strengths and weaknesses using data
  • Understanding maturation and the Relative Age Effect
  • Constructing depth charts for squad composition
  • Conducting player background research
  • Opposition Analysis in Football
  • Comprehensive analysis including pre-match, mid-match, post-match and individual player analysis.
  • Performance Analysis in Football
  • Data Analysis in football
Module 14 - Sport Directorship and Football Operations

The role of the sporting/football director

Overseeing the sport project

  • A mission statement that reflects the club’s aspirations and fan expectations
  • Conducting a SWOT analysis of the club
  • Developing strategies and defining sporting objectives
  • Sport strategies in different football clubs

Sporting director management scope

  • Scouting and recruitment
  • The manager and coaching team
  • The academy
  • Male and female first-team management
  • Medical, physiotherapy and rehab management
  • Psychology department Management
  • EDI Management
  • Player Care Services

Sport operations management


  • The Football Operational Plan
  • Remuneration and contracts for players and coaches
  • Budget management
  • People management: Appointing team managers, trainers, runners, and support staff for game day operations

During season:

  • Delivery of the Football Operational Plan
  • Facilitate communication between players, coaches, and club officials
  • Managing football equipment
  • Supervise support staff
  • Coordinate running sheets and match report submissions
  • Reporting to the Chair/CEO and Executive Committee
Module 15 - Entrepreneurship and Business Development

Founder Mindset

Company constitution, partnerships, investors and governance

Entrepreneurial strategy and business model

Reviewing sectors and industries: Agriculture, retail, infrastructure, financial services, media and culture, telecommunications and technology, hotels, tourism, catering, sport, energy, textile and clothing, education, health services and transport

Business plan, entrepreneurial finance and funding strategies

Venture capital journey

Managing start-up operations

Executing go-to-market and business development plans

Avoiding start-up failure

Module 16 - Leadership Development


Leadership styles and fundamentals


Team and conflict management

Negotiation, influence and persuasion

Managing intercultural environments

Effective presentations

Time management and prioritisation


In addition to the knowledge and knowhow that students will obtain on this course, the PFA Business School recognises the value of vocational qualifications in making graduates immediately employable. Therefore, we have included the following courses within this degree:


UEFA B Licence

The UEFA B Licence is the minimum requirement for working in a professional club academy. As part of Module 10, ‘Football Coaching’, learners will complete 12 workshops, both online and face-to-face to achieve their UEFA B Licence. These workshops will cover the Player, the Game and the Coach. They will include a range of topics from philosophy to session planning.


FIFA Agent Exam

Another viable career path for ex-players is that of the football agent – who better to represent a player than someone who has walked a mile in their shoes already, and a great opportunity for ex-players to give something back and to stay connected to the game. During Module 11, ‘Law & Governance’, students will partake in a series of workshops to prepare them for the FIFA Agent Exam*.

* Exam entry is the responsibility of the individual student.

The FA

FA National Talent Identification & Scouting in Football

Whether it be at Academy or First Team level, player recruitment plays a huge part in the success of a club on and off the field – having a balanced squad of talented players is the goal of every club’s Technical Department, and being able to spot potential in lesser-known players for your coaches to refine, is a model that many clubs covet; in particular the Finance Department as these players tend to be more affordable, ensuring financial sustainability and compliance with financial regulations.

In Module 13, ‘Recruitment, Scouting and Performance Analysis’, students will take the FA National Talent Identification & Scouting in Football course – the minimum requirement for an Academy Scout in the professional game. Students will be  introduced to the key principles of scouting, including match reporting, how you build and develop relationships, and how to analyse performance against potential. They will focus on four critical areas of talent identification - the key principles of scouting, the importance of relationships, the latest methods of recognising potential and the complex governance procedures surrounding talent identification.

Course Delivery

Course Length

Course Length

Three academic years. Nine months per year.



This course is taught in English.                                                                 

Date of Course


Full-time: Starting in August 2024.

Two virtual sessions every week, held in the evenings.



Online virtual learning.

UEFA B module will a blended learning approach, a mix of online and face-to-face. 



On completion of the course you will receive a degree in Football and Business Management, awarded by the University of Portsmouth in collaboration with the PFA Business School.

Fees and Grants

Fees & Grants

The programme admission fee is £7,900 per year.

PFA members can apply for a grant of £2,633 per year.

PFA Business School

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