Do professional football players have sufficient educational support structures to facilitate retirement and withdrawal?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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It is critical that facilitators of professional Football provide support mechanisms to aid the withdrawal and retirement from the Sport. With the odds firmly stacked against an apprentice turning professional, this study argues that Football clubs should do more to in order to help make these young apprentices’ journey worthwhile if they do not make the grade. The study used a qualitative research design in order to understand and analyze the opinions of 2 current professional football players on the current education structures. These views were critiqued and compared against a facilitator’s view of the education system they deliver. The data collection phase revealed three key issues to be analyzed, as a result of a thematic analysis approach. The themes were, Extra education depends on the individual; Planning for retirement; and Guidance on finance and mental health issues. Analysis of the results identified that higher education would enhance the person/player, although it would not suit all professional footballers. The data also highlighted that the current culture in Football is not conducive to the promotion of higher education opportunities for players and changes would be necessary in order to implement the educational support structures needed to aid player’s transition out of the sport. A framework was synthesized from the findings presented in order to further explain the results and offer the basis of future research on the subject area.
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