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The FIFPro Online Academy – an education programme specifically developed for professional footballers (and other athletes) – is about to reach a fantastic milestone. Next Wednesday, the World Players' Union will celebrate the first graduates from its Online Academy during a ceremony in FIFPro House near Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

At the same time, FIFPro and all European player unions are inviting professional footballers to sign up for the 2015-2016 class of the FIFPro Online Academy.

Education ranks highly on FIFPro's priority list. An average career as a professional footballer is a short one compared to a "regular workers' career". The average length is approximately 8 years, which implies that for many pros a career will only last a couple of years. Most professional footballers will retire at the age of 35 or earlier. Almost all of them will need a new career, because only a handful of footballers end their careers as multimillionaires.

A proper education is crucial to begin a new career and earn a living.

"That's why we launched the FIFPro Online Academy", says Frederique Winia, FIFPro Online Academy Manager. "As a players' union, we also have the obligation to help our members - our professional footballers - prepare for life after their active playing career".

Many professional footballers would like to combine their active football career with education. FIFPro has developed an educational programme with Danish University UCN, which is particularly appropriate for footballers to be able to follow alongside their football career: the FIFPro Online Academy. This offers a Sport Management programme which takes approximately 7 semesters (3-1/2 years) before the students receive their BA degree in Sports Management.

The FIFPro Online Academy is a virtual class with a real teacher. Lessons are recorded and can be watched online at any time. This gives the students all the freedom to study when it suits them best.

In September 2011, FIFPro and UCN launched the Online Academy. Currently, more than 100 students from all over Europe are following the programme.

Next Wednesday, February 18th, six students will receive their BA degree during a special ceremony in the FIFPro House.

  • Shane Birtles, United Kingdom
  • Kim Erik Deinoff, Norway
  • Jon Inge Høiland, Norway
  • Chrysostomos Kalos: Cyprus
  • Morten Koch Nielsen, Denmark
  • Rasmus Koch Nielsen, Denmark

Winia is looking forward to the moment: "These six graduates are some of many who understand the value of a proper education for their future career. We are proud of them, as they managed to successfully obtain their BA degree".

"We also thank them, as they are our pioneers. They believed in the programme that FIFPro and UCN developed four years ago. They are the living proof that our programme works. Now it is time for us to show our appreciation for that trust and for their efforts".

"But for FIFPro, it doesn't end here", Winia continues. "This is only the beginning, as we aspire to increase our number of students and are also looking for new ways to improve our programme".

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.


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