Manchester Metropolitan University

News story

Scholarship aims to boost female representation on sports boards

Students will join the University’s elite Master of Sport Directorship

Manchester City Women and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who is a current Master of Sport Directorship student

Manchester Metropolitan University is looking to increase female representation at board level in sport through its acclaimed Master of Sport Directorship (MSD) course with the announcement of two women’s scholarships worth £9,000.

A recent report by the Women in Sport charity revealed the extent to which sporting organisations are failing to meet the Code for Sports Governance criteria of at least 30 per cent female representation on sports organisations’ boards.

As a response, Manchester Metropolitan is offering professional women from a sports or business background the chance to apply for two scholarships on the MSD course this September.

The respected MSD, the first of its kind in the UK, has been running at Manchester Metropolitan since 2014 with the fourth cohort due to arrive in September.

Gender imbalance

Current and former students include Manchester City Women and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley (pictured) and veteran Liverpool Ladies midfielder Becky Easton, as well as former England football  manager Steve McClaren, footballer Dietmar Hamann and current Warwickshire County Cricket Club sport director Ashley Giles.

Dr Sara Ward, a leading academic expert on football governance and programme director of the MSD, said: “The Women in Sport report highlights the need for women to be better represented in professional sports bodies.

“There’s a complex mix of reasons for the gender imbalance, from outright discrimination to a lack of role models and suitably qualified women candidates. But by encouraging more women to upskill for the sports director role we will help more professional sportswomen make that successful transition from the pitch to the boardroom – and hopefully encourage others to do the same.”

The two scholarships – one worth £6,000 and the other £3,000 – are being offered on the two-year, part-time MSD course, which is the world’s only academically validated masters-level sporting directors course, and is widely seen as one of the most direct routes to the relatively new role of sporting director.

Apply now

Focusing on sports governance and best practice, leadership, innovation and change and personal development, and with contributions from some of the sports industry’s most respected figures, the postgraduate course has attracted professional sports and business people from around the world –  but organisers are keen to attract more women to the course.

The scholarships are open to any woman who meets the MSD criteria and consist of a first prize of £6,000 off the MSD course fees, and second prize of £3,000 off the MSD fees.

Applicants should send a CV and a 250-word outline of why they should be considered for the scholarship to, telephone 0161 247 6078, by 14 July. The winners will be announced in August.

For more information on the Master of Sport Directorship course at Manchester Metropolitan University, go to

About the Master of Sport Directorship

The Manchester Metropolitan University Master of Sport Directorship (MSD) is the first degree of its kind in the UK. It is designed to develop the personal and commercial attributes needed to become a successful sporting director. The programme is a part-time, 24-month course, delivered at the Business School and aimed at sport and business professionals who want to gain knowledge in the executive and strategic development of a sports organisation.

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