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Sporting legends head to Paris for UEFA Masters Programme

The second week of the UEFA Executive Masters for International Players took place in the French capital in February.

The third UEFA MIP cohort at Parc des Princes, Paris.

Former international sports players convened in Paris for the second week of the UEFA Executive Masters for International Players (MIP), a joint programme between Birkbeck, the Centre for Law & Sport (CDES), University of Limoges and UEFA that supports players to stay in the field they love by becoming leaders and decision makers in football administration and management.

The 24 participants, all of whom are former international footballers, spent the week learning more about the role and responsibilities of managers within sport organisations. Over five days, they discussed and debated issues such as what makes a good manager, how elite players’ skills can be transferred into organisations and what additional skills are required to make a successful transition into sports administration.

The participants, including ex-Premier League players Emile Heskey, Didier Drogba, John O’Shea, and Aaron Hughes, also engaged in a variety of activities including working collaboratively on case studies, presenting their plans for their future careers and discussing different methodologies that they could use in their MIP project.

They also listened to a variety of guest speakers from a range of sporting and non-sporting organisations, including the French Football Federation, Paris St Germain F.C., the Paris 2024 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and Workplace at Facebook.

Dr Sean Hamil, lead co-ordinator for the UEFA MIP programme at Birkbeck said of the week, “Now in its third cohort, the UEFA MIP represents the fruits of ten years of successful collaboration with our academic and industry partners CDES and UEFA and demonstrates how the core strength of Birkbeck as a provider of university education to working people can be successfully translated into the international context, in this case meeting the needs of high-level professional athletes as they seek to transition into their post-playing careers.”

During the session held at Parc des Princes, home of Paris St Germain, Dr Hamil was joined by Birkbeck Sport Business Centre colleagues Dr Geoff Walters and Dr Richard Tacon, who were there to meet with the students that they are supervising on their MIP project.

The UEFA MIP is a unique educational programme that has been tailored to meet the needs of ex-professional players, providing them with a foundation in organisation and management that will allow for them to transition into a career within sports administration. The programme is in its third edition and has been successful in supporting ex-professional players move into a variety of roles following the end of their playing careers.

The next of the seven MIP sessions, each held in a different European city home to leading football clubs and organisations, will take place in Amsterdam in April.

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