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Six (former) professional footballers are officially ready for a new phase in their lives. Yesterday, Wednesday February 18th, FIFPro celebrated the first graduates from the FIFPro Online Academy, during a special ceremony in the FIFPro House in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands.

All six students received their BA degree in Sports Management. During the last 3 ½ years they successfully followed a 7-semester education programme developed by FIFPro – the World Players' Union – and UCN - the University College of Northern Denmark.

These six players are Shane Birtles (United Kingdom), Kim Erik Deinoff and Jon Inge Høiland (both from Norway), Chrysostomos Kalos (Cyprus), Morten Koch Nielsen and Rasmus Koch Nielsen (both from Denmark). All of them were professional footballers when they started their studies, but except for Rasmus Koch Nielsen, all students have recently ended their careers due to various reasons.

2015grads 2 200 CopyFIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen handed the graduates their degrees and added: "I remember that ten years ago we were discussing, how we as FIFPro had to take the responsibility and help the players with an education programme. Now, I can say that I am delighted that we can congratulate the first graduates of our own FIFPro Online Academy."

"I am extremely proud that we have six guys who succeeded to earn their degrees in 3 ½ years' time."

" We will always remember you, as you are the first ones to graduate. We wish you all the best with your future careers."

There was also a special video message from Constantinos Charalambides, the captain of Cypriot champions APOEL Nicosia and the national team of Cyprus, and also a student at the FIFPro Online Academy.

Charalambides: "I want to congratulate all of you, with being the first graduates of the FIFPro Online Academy. You have taken a very important step in life. At the same time you are also a perfect example to other professional footballers worldwide, as you are the living proof that you can combine your active career with an online education. Thank you."

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Shane Birtles, Kim Eirik Deinoff, Chrysostomos Kalos, Jon Inge Høiland, Morten and Rasmus Koch Nielsen (click to enlarge)


New students join now!

All professional footballers in Europe who are interested in joining the FIFPro Online Academy can contact their national players association (click here for an overview) or FIFPro's Suzanne Bakker. Students can subscribe until July 1st.


Also read:
Cyprus captain Constantinos Charalambides:"I study what I love"