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Chiellini VI 640

Mind the Gap’ is a project led by FIFPro to help athletes transition as smoothly as possible between the end of their professional sports career and a new career of their choice. The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

When their sports career ends, life can be tough for professional footballers and other athletes. Suddenly, sometimes without warning, a gap opens in their lives: there might be a drop in income, loss of confidence and a move away from a support group of teammates and club staff.

Players often have fewer educational qualifications and less relevant work experience than their competitors in the employment market. Only 13% of active professional male football players in Europe have post-school vocational education – compared to about 53% of the male population in the EU.

GER Educational attainment per region 640

Source: 2016 FIFPro Global Employment Report

In women’s football, there is also poor planning but to a much lesser extent than in the men’s game. Some 46% of active women professional players are studying for another career, and 67% already have another job.

Often athletes neglect their education and focus their energy on reaching the elite level of their sport, while their employers do little to encourage them to prepare for a second career.

That a professional sporting career can be combined with preparing for a life after sport has been demonstrated by Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini (pictured above) who recently completed a master’s degree in business at Turin University. An interview with Chiellini and other footballers who have prepared for the transition to another job will be showcased on this website.

Among these are three footballers (pictured below) who designed a 'Mind the Gap' logo.

Dennis Carola Bogdan 650

(Footballers-turned-designers: Dennis Iliohan, Carola Soberg and Bogdan Teleaba)

'Mind the Gap' aims to support national players associations in getting an optimum support system in place for more professional players to acquire the skills and qualifications for a post-sport career.

The project partners will define best practices, create the ideal job specifications of a player development manager and identify the competitive advantages of athletes in the employment market. Their findings will be published on this website.

New player development managers will be appinted at severral national football player associations. They will then receive intensive training and become part of a network exchanging ideas and best practice.

A C.V. database and online career planning tool will be developed.The database will enable professional players to upload a C.V. which outlines the skills they have acquired during their sports career.

The online career planning tool will allow national player associations to provide individual career guidance to athletes.

‘Mind the Gap’ has a total of 14 partners, mostly national football players associations, but also the Irish rugby player association, the U.K.-based Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme and the University of Brussels (VUB). The partners are based in Cyprus, Ireland, Finland, Greece, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.

Click here for more information about the partners of this project

Click here for more news about the Mind the Gap project