UCFB are proud to announce the launch of the professional Diploma in Rugby League Business Management programme to help equip rugby league stars with the skills to enable them to move into off-the-pitch roles in professional sport.

Players such as Jon Wilkin, of St Helens and Great Britain, St Helens and Great Britain full-back Paul Wellens, and Adrian Morley, of Warrington Wolves and Great Britain, will be taking part in the eight-week programme at UCFB Burnley. The programme has been designed to help prepare top level professionals for life when their playing careers come to an end. Rugby league players typically have only a decade-long playing career and do not earn the same level of salary as their equivalents in football.

The UCFB Diploma programme is being led by Terry Flanagan, the former Great Britain and Oldham player who went on to found a global telecommunications business after a successful career in construction management.

UCFB is the world’s only higher education institution devoted to the study of the business aspects of football and the wider sports industries. The institution, based at Wembley Stadium and Burnley FC’s Turf Moor stadium, offers a range of undergraduate degrees related to football and sports administration.

Players on the rugby league executive education diploma will study modules in leadership and management, finance, law, marketing, media and PR.

Up to 12 players are expected to complete the first diploma, which will consist of a number of teaching days, plus guest lectures from leading business and sports management figures.Other players who have signed up also include Gareth Ellis of Hull FC and Great Britain.

Guest lecturers include the Rugby Football league’s chief operating officer, Ralph Rimmer, ex-players and media pundits Brian Noble and Phil Clarke, Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington and Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the Scottish Premier League.

Jon Wilkin of St Helens and Great Britain, said: “It is difficult for sports people to bridge the gap from being a professional sportsman to entering the business world. The course provides a lot of transferable skills for the development of a sports player, the dedication, attention to detail and the ability to lead others. All these skills make you a better candidate to enter the business world.”

Course leader Terry Flanagan said: “Throughout my playing career I always kept one eye on the future, studying for a degree at UMIST and maintaining a career in construction. I was therefore prepared when my career came to an early end because of injury at the age of 30.

“For the elite professionals in today’s game, playing is a full-time career but a short one. Unless they want to pursue their living in coaching when they finish playing, many will be ill-equipped to enter the professional world.

“This course is designed for those who are looking ahead and considering how they might build post-pitch careers in the management and administrative aspects of sport or in associated fields such as the media or marketing.”

Professor Philip Wilson, Chief Executive of UCFB, said: “The diploma is about giving professionals some transferrable skills and about starting to equip them for life after playing.

“They will all be familiar with many of the practicalities of running a professional sports business but less familiar with the theories and business disciplines which underpin such operations.”

For further information about our Rugby Executive Education Programmes, please email rugby@ucfb.com or call 03332417333.

“The RFL is always looking for ways to improve and develop the management processes involved in the complex business of professional sports management. The Diploma in Rugby League Business Management offers an innovative approach to developing a range of sector skills that are required across the many business areas that make up the successful operation of Rugby League as a whole. Increasing skills, knowledge and experience is vital to the long term future development of Rugby League and both individuals, as well as the wider industry, will benefit from the increased skillset this diploma offers.”
Nigel Wood MBA FCCA
Chief Executive, Rugby Football League