Gareth Taylor

Postgraduate Diploma

Global Football Sport Directorship

Football has undergone a significant evolution across all aspects of the game, with one of the important developments being the increased influence of the role of the sporting director.

In addition to leading the sporting department and overseeing the development of the club’s sporting projects, the modern sporting director plays a crucial role in ensuring the club’s long term sustainability. A club’s success relies on the sporting director’s capacity to efficiently manage the economic and human resources at their disposal, generate a favourable return on investment, and ultimately impact the club’s future viability.

A sporting director in modern football operates with greater autonomy in decision-making and a more complex set of issues to manage. This growth has necessitated an increase in the number of specialists within the technical team, leading to a more intricate management structure. Consequently, it is crucial for sporting directors to possess robust and up-to-date training to meet these  complex demands.

In response to this need, the PFA Business School has collaborated with programme co-directors Andoni Zubizarreta and Les Reed, along with a team of top football sport directors from around the world, to develop the Postgraduate Diploma in Global Football Sport Directorship. This programme aims to provide aspiring sporting directors with specialised training in the most complex and technical subjects that have never been covered in any training programme previously. Its ultimate goal is to prepare future sporting directors for the challenges that the football industry presents on a global scale.

Course Co-Director: Les Reed

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Course Objectives and Target Audience


  • To acquire in-depth knowledge of all specialist areas relating to the sport directorship in a football club.
  • To learn from a practical approach, ensuring all theoretical aspects are illustrated with meaningful examples.
  • Gain an understanding of best practices and the most innovative sport directorship strategies to get the best sports results with limited resources.


Target Audience

  • PFA members: Current and former players.

  • Professionals at football clubs and sports organisations involved in sport management.

  • Club business management professionals interested in expanding their knowledge in the area of football sport management.

Course Content

Leadership module - Leadership Development Programme

Leadership Development Programme

  • Self-leadership
  • Decision making
  • Team and conflict management
  • Managing intercultural environments
  • Negotiation, influence and persuasion
  • Time management
Module 1 - The Global Football Industry and Sport Finance

The football industry and club governance

  • Football institutions and their regulations:
  • Football associations & competitions
  • Football federation and government institutions
  • Conflicts between institutions Club governance and relation with stakeholders
  • Club management models and organizational structures: Roles and responsibilities
  • Stakeholder mapping and the relationship with the owners, president, board of directors, shareholders, agents, etc.

Club ownership models and how these affect sport directorship

Football club financial analysis

Analysis of accounting information:

The financial statements

  • Income statement / P&L
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet

Main financial ratios

Economic control and financial fair play regulation

Sport team financial planification

  • Economic analysis of the club’s assets
  • Sport assets management under a financial perspective
  • Financial planning
Module 2 - Football Governance and The Sport Project

Legal aspects of sport management

  • Football regulation: FIFA, UEFA and The FA
  • Sports companies and corporate governance
  • Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players
  • Player international taxation and mobility regulation
  • Professional football contracts, labour law and players' trade union
  • Legal aspects of exploiting audio visual rights, sponsoring and image rights

Sport strategy management

  • Strategic Sport Due Diligence
  • Mission statement: what kind of club we want to become? What do fans expect from us?
  • SWOT analysis of a football club
  • Strategy formulation and definition of sporting objectives
  • Sport strategies in different football clubs

The Sport Project

  • Scouting and recruiting management
  • Academia
  • Men's and women's first team management
Module 3 - Managing Strategic Operations
Sports operations management 

Pre season:

  • The Football Operational Plan
  • Remuneration packages and contracts for players and coaches
  • Budget management
  • People management: Appoint appropriate personnel, team managers, trainers, runners and other team support staff to ensure smooth running on game days.

During season:

  • Delivery of the Football Operational Plan
  • Liaise between players, coaches, Club Executive and General Committee
  • Football equipment
  • Managing support staff
  • Coordination of submission of running sheets and match reports
  • Reporting to the President and Executive committee

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

Module 4 - Football Analytics and Scouting

Communication and PR

  • Managing internal communication
  • With the owners, the board of directors and the CEO
  • With the sport management team, the manager and the coaches
  • With players and agents Managing external communication
  • With the media
  • With other clubs
  • Within the players' circle


  • Talent Identification In Football
  • Scouting Reporting
  • Opposition Analysis In Football
  • Technical Scouting In Football
  • Performance Analysis In Football

Recruiting and transfer of players

Football analytics and knowledge management

  • Why is data important for football – Prediction vs. Description
  • How has data (and data roles) in football grown
  • What jobs/roles are available in football which utilise data now
  • On-Boarding: Data visualisation tools and data
  • Coaching and scouting Tools

Data in practice: analysing and explaining teams

  • Game phases and style of play: Measure and monitor
  • What’s your Style of Play? Using data to build your game model
  • Case study: Creating and scoring phase - 'Where Goals come from'
  • Opposition analysis: Identifying opposition strengths, weaknesses and strategic approach

Probability, prediction and player performance

  • Using data to scout and coach players

Using data to understand footballing value

  • Using footballing and other data sources to determine a player’s sporting and financial value

Course Delivery

Course Length

Course Length

The length of this course is two academic years - nine months per year.



This course is taught in English.                                          

Date of Course


Part time: Two academic years 

- One virtual session every two weeks, each lasting two hours

- Four face-to-face sessions per year



This course will be taught at our PFA London venue.



On completion students will received a “Certificate in Global Football Sport Directorship” awarded by the University of Portsmouth in collaboration with The PFA Business School.

Fees and Grants

Fees & Grants

The programme admission fee is £5,900 per year. Current and former PFA members can apply for a discount of 15% and a grant of £2,000.

PFA Business School

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