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Sports Education – Top Down

As an educationalist, I’m always keen to learn about new programmes offered to prospective students – be they under-graduate or post -graduate or experienced from the ‘university of life’ in sports. My own University, Manchester Metropolitan University, has made great strides with excellent students, the outcome from such degrees as sports marketing and sports management, where I teach. The Masters in Sports Directorship (MSD) delivered in conjunction with VSi has been an extension, doing ‘exactly as it says on the tin’ preparing executives for roles as sporting directors.

This Week from my Company’s, ACROBAT FCSM, work in Salford we have been observing the creation of another ground breaking offering, the first ever, MSc, quasi-MBA, for aspirational or established CEOs in sports and leisure industries by University of Salford.

To share more, we have been given permission to replicate, an article written by VSi on this latest offering:

“This is a pioneeering first with an MBA level programme designed for elite leaders with aspirations to become a Chief Executive in the world of sport.

Managing eye-watering exponential financial growth, increasing corporate governance responsibilities and the demands of challenging club owners and Chairmen has resulted in the skills of a CEO becoming more important than ever.

Recruitment agents are acutely aware that candidates for the CEO role, in any sport, will operate under intense media scrutiny and must be able to hit the ground running with little time afforded to those from outside the industry who may need many months adapting to the fundamentals of the job.

“VSi understand the industry of sport and executive education. Armed with this knowledge they can truly innovate and be the market leaders in executive sports education. Following on from the success of their sporting directors course it’s genuinely exciting that they’re creating a high level programme to develop CEO’s”

Darren Simmons, Managing Director, Executives in Sport

VSi set about delivering the sort of education through its Masters Degree In Sporting Directorship that would satisfy the recruitment market’s demands. Four cohorts of elite athletes, coaches and managers have already studied on the VSi programmes which was taught initially in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and subsequently with the Centre for Sport Business located at the heart of Manchester’s hi-tech Media City.

Leading academics including Professor Chris Brady and Professor Simon Chadwick along with industry experts have helped catapult the program’s status and secured industry wide recognition as a must have qualification for those seeking to secure key leadership positions around sporting operations.

VSi’s Tony Faulkner reaffirms this by stating that : “Sport is now recognising the absolute need to adopt formal corporate structuring with talented, highly educated individuals in all the key leadership positions. The Chief Executive is at the top of the tree and the market is demanding that this individual must have knowledge and skills bespoke to sport.”

“VSi has been working over the last 12 months with leading academics and industry professionals to create this pioneering MBA for Chief Executives in sport. Our passion has always been to provide a pathway for current and former athletes into executive roles within sport. Marrying their experiences of competitive sport with an educational grounding in business is our purpose” . 

Professor Chris Brady who is the academic lead for the programme (pictured above with Cristiano Ronaldo) states: “During my years of interviewing CEOs from major corporations, SMEs, sporting organisations and even military leaders the one common lament was that “there’s no school for CEOs”. They realise that they are often thrust into a leadership position without any preparation for the role. They would probably have welcomed the existence of such a course.”

To learn more about the CEO education programmes contact:

Funding and scholarships may be available.

The S’PORT is going up

What a week.  In its first ever Season in the elite, National Volleyball League, Stockport Volleyball Club has been promoted after final fixtures against Nottingham and Darlington.  Clinching promotion, away, against Darlington 3-0 was sweet, after losing 2-3 earlier in the Season.

Competing against high-profile clubs this Year including Manchester, Newcastle and York, Stockport’s own Team, nicknamed the S’PORT, clinched promotion alongside Doncaster.  Stockport will play in Division 2 in 2018-19 as a result of this success.  The Season has been truly memorable with the Team also getting to the semi-finals of the National Shield Competition, where the Final was  held this weekend at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering, and won by London Aces Volleyball Club.

Chairman, Adrian Stores, who set up the Club with Son, Kaya only two years ago, has had even more reasons to stand tall.  Adrian has just been awarded the prestigious accolade of being named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by Volleyball England, the National Governing Body for the Sport.  It said:

 “Here at Volleyball England, we would like to thank you for your outstanding contribution to volleyball. Both we and the independent judging panel have taken great pleasure in reading the high-quality nominations that fellow members of the volleyball community have submitted in your favour. As a category winner, we have invited you to attend the National Cup Finals, hosted at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering, on Saturday 14th April, where you will be presented with your trophy.

After receiving your award in front of the Cup Finals crowd, you will also be given the opportunity to take part in the presentation for either the Men’s and Women’s Cup or Shield Final.

Once again, congratulations and thank you for your outstanding contribution to volleyball in England.”


Plans are already a foot for the next Season and the next part of Stockport’s journey.  Anyone interested in joining Stockport Volleyball can contact the Club through Promotion naturally brings with it more expenses for sports hall hire, referees’ and scorers’ matchday fees, coaches and training equipment.  For a low investment compared to more established sports, the S’PORT seeks a local or national brand that might want to become main Club sponsor with an array of partner benefits for the next 12 months.  Informal contact from any interested parties to: