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Beautiful minds for the beautiful game: Football centre of expertise launched

20:58 01/09/2019

Football is a business that requires strategy behind the scenes as well as on the pitch. This is why the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) has set up a centre of expertise on the game, in collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

“The collaboration with VUB and ULB gives us the opportunity to start the RBFA Knowledge Centre, to further expand football in Belgium,” explained Peter Bossaert, the association’s chief executive. “We want to build a community that shares knowledge about football, in the broadest sense of the word.”

The collaboration will take place in part through the International Football Business Institute, which offers VUB’s postgraduate degree in football business. It will also build on the association’s previous academic collaborations, for instance with KU Leuven on new regulations and with various institutions on preparations for renovation of the King Boudewijn Stadium.

Under the collaboration, association employees will be able to keep up to date with developments in football management by attending courses at the Institute. There will also be an annual three-day workshop on relevant themes, such as ticketing, fan engagement and the impact of digital technologies. They can also join the institute’s fact-finding trips to clubs in other countries.

“Thanks to all these learning opportunities, we not only offer our clubs the chance to continuously train themselves, we will also further professionalise our own operations,” said Bossaert.

The Association will also award three postgraduate scholarships to those seeking to develop a career in the football industry. Each student will study football management and carry out research into subjects such as sponsorship, fan experience or data interpretation, working closely with mentors at the RBFA.

“With these three grants, we want to guide young, motivated candidates with a passion for football and a sense of entrepreneurship towards a successful career in the football industry,” Bossaert said.

The scholarships are open to high-flying recent graduates, professionals who want to move into the football industry and former sportspeople hoping to extend their careers. The deadline for applications is 11 September.

Photo: KAA Gent goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski
© Jasper Jacobs/BELGA

Written by Ian Mundell (Flanders Today)

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