Thirteen members of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) recently graduated from the LMA Diploma in Football Management, including former player, Fabrice Muamba.
Fabrice, who is now a Delegate Liaison Executive at the PFA, and the other graduates. has spent the past year undertaking a part PFA-funded Football Management Diploma at the University of Liverpool.
During that time, they have developed their leadership abilities, sharpened their strategic thinking and gained practical insights into the modern practices of sports performance management. This allows the graduates to have a broad perspective of the challenges and complexities of the football industry.
Fabrice was a much-loved player across the Premier League and Championship, having played for Arsenal, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers throughout his decade-long career as a professional footballer.
In April 2012, his football career was dramatically cut short as Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter-final between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.
There was an outpouring of support from the world of football, fans and the general public at large. Sadly, in August 2012, Fabrice announced his retirement from professional football under medical advice.
Fabrice explained why he decided to take the Football Management Diploma course. He said:
I feel like you should always try to invest in yourself, not just in football but everything that you like to do. I enjoy football, but I also want to learn the business of football. This course has given me the opportunity to learn the business side of the game and also how to deal with people. At the end of the day, I’ve got years ahead of me, and I want to invest in myself and try to learn as much as I can. The course came in handy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The PFA supports members taking part in this course, along with other learning opportunities. Fabrice feels that that support was vital and said:
The PFA played a major role. First of all, to encourage me to participate in the course and also, they fund it – not just for myself, for everybody that took part. For me, it was a no-brainer; an opportunity to study in University. It made sense to go and do it.”
Everyone on the course was a PFA member and ex-player. This helped as with everyone comes from a football career, learners were in a classroom with people who love football, making it easy to communicate and exchange ideas.
Fabrice found being in education after a football career easier than some people might expect. He explained:
It was a smooth transition because everyone wants to be involved, in some capacity, within the football world. You are able to go into the classroom and not just talk about coaching but also talk about the business side of football. We talked about how as an ex-player you can benefit, get involved and improve your knowledge of the game. For me, that was beneficial on many levels.”
As a Football Management graduate Fabrice is looking forward to what the future brings. He said:
I’m looking forward to exploring as many options as I can. Right now, I’m enjoying what I do at the PFA. It gives me a chance to share the knowledge and also to help young players see the bigger picture, and the importance of having a Plan B. You never know what’s going to happen next week.”