Manchester Metropolitan University

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Star-studded launch for Sporting Director course

Elite football and cricket legends sign up

Former Manchester City FC CEO and current UFC chief global officer Garry Cook addresses the audience

A GLITTERING array of elite sport professionals launched Manchester Metropolitan University’s new Sport Directorship master’s degree.

The first cohort of students are drawn from a list of sport stars and experienced business people, including former England cricketer Ashley Giles and Ex-Arsenal FC and German international goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, aiming to become the next generation of industry leaders.

They were welcomed to the University this week for the launch of the new master’s degree. Former Man City CEO Garry Cook outlined the crucial role of a Sport Director in today’s global sports business, charting his tenure at the helm of the club overseeing a struggling team transform into a footballing powerhouse.

The course is backed by an impressive advisory board from the Professional Footballers’ Association, The League Managers Association, The England and Wales Cricket Board and former Olympian Diane Modahl.

New era

The newly-created degree, called Master of Sport Directorship (MSD) and run in partnership with Visionary Sports Investment, is aimed at former sport professionals and industry experts moving into business management of teams, governing bodies and leading sport organisations.

Dr Sara Ward, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management at MMU, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be the first University to offer this course and to have welcomed the students to our Business School. They are understandably eager and excited to start the degree and the next chapters in their careers.

“The launch event was a fantastic chance to hear from the people in the thick of the global sport business, including Garry Cook who is now the Chief Global Officer for Ultimate Fighting Championships, about the importance of a Sport Director and the shift we are likely to see over the next few years.

“Our students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage countless organisations, from grassroots to elite sporting organisations, ushering in a new era of sports leadership.”

Flexible learning

Ashes winner Ashley Giles added: “The MSD will give me a greater understanding of a role I’m already passionate about and provide me with a broader set of skills and competencies to be an effective Sporting Director.”

The course is on a part-time basis with most candidates studying alongside their full-time jobs. There are five units in total studied over two years, with each unit being taught at MMU’s £75m Business School in three, two-day blocks of teaching.

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