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The first 'Mind the Gap' research report has been published.

As part of the project to help professional footballers prepare for life after sport, University of Brussels researchers interviewed experts to draw up best practice models for player associations.

Their first report focuses on the role of player association support staff commonly known as Player Development Managers (PDMs.) A second project report will be published later this year, outlining the role of PDMs in more detail.

'Mind the Gap' has been endorsed by players including Juventus and Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini (pictured), who is on the board of the Italian players association AIC.

Below is an outline of the report; click on the image  of the report's cover to read the full report.

mtg report cover 1 350Literature review
Despite some initiatives already in place, players still regularly encounter difficulties and a lack of support with regard to personal development, education, psychological guidance, financial help and employment advice. This underlines the importance of player associations developing programmes to help athletes with their post-sport career transition.

Quality assessment
Player stories help raise awareness about the importance of player development among their fellow athletes. Through a database data can easily be gathered to show the value of Player Development Manager programmes. Surveys and interviews help to measure satisfaction levels of players which in turn help to improve the programme.

Role of a PDM
Player Development Managers provide holistic support towards players. The areas support is offered in the most are: a) education & development, b) career, c) personal development, d) financial literacy and e) wellbeing.

Good Practice

The report outlines good practices identified as being effective by PDMs including:

  • Creating awareness among athletes
  • Setting up collaborations with support providers such as universities
  • Finding the necessary resources for running programmes
  • Offering different types of support to players
  • Creating tools and materials such as a CV database
Download this file (Mind the Gap Research Report 1 vs2.pdf)Mind the Gap report