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Launch of the “Management in Professional Football” course with 14 participants

DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga x Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB)

It was back in March that the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and the DFB Academy first announced their new joint project – and now the “Management in Professional Football” programme is all set to start. The aim of the programme is to prepare those responsible for sporting activities primarily at clubs in the Bundesliga, Bundesliga 2 and 3. Liga for the tasks ahead of them as decision-makers in professional football. The training course will also enable the clubs to advance their own employees to roles with high levels of responsibility. A total of 14 participants will begin completing the first course of studies on 12 October 2020.

The contents of the course include areas of competence relating to Bundesliga expertise, sporting expertise and management expertise. The syllabus also features subjects such as sports law, licensing, squad planning, financial management and leadership. The programme will combine a mixture of 19 days in the classroom with other online phases and is scheduled to end in April 2022. Working in close cooperation with the DFL, the DFB Academy and its “digital campus” will serve as the central, partially virtual venue. A network of external experts will additionally provide the best possible link to practical application.

The 14 participants on the debut course include sporting directors, team managers, department heads and assistants to sports management teams. The course will start on 12 October with a one-week online phase, followed a week later by the first classroom event. In addition to the 12 participants from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 who were selected in an application process, the DFB and the DFL have each given a wildcard to an external candidate who submitted a speculative application.

The 14 participants on the “Management in Professional Football” programme
Christian Gentner (1. FC Union Berlin, Professional Footballer), Timmo Hardung (RB Leipzig, Head of Player Department), Christofer Heimeroth (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Team Manager), Johannes Holzmüller (FIFA, Director of Football Technology and Innovation), Thomas Kessler (1. FC Köln, Trainee Management), Stefan Kiessling (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Management Advisor), Florian Meier (1. FC Nürnberg, Head of Player Department), Julius Ohnesorge (VfL Osnabrück, Head of Professional Football Department), Sascha Riether (FC Schalke 04, Licensed Players’ Department Coordinator), Marcel Schäfer (VfL Wolfsburg, Sporting Director), Tobias Schätzle (Sport-Club Freiburg, Organisational Director of the Youth Academy), Maximilian Vollmar (TSG Hoffenheim, Head of Team Management), Benjamin Weber (Hertha Berlin, Head of Football Academy) and Sebastian Zelichowski (Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting Management Advisor)

Ansgar Schwenken, Member of the DFL Management Board and DFL Director of Football Affairs & Supporters, notes: “Having top quality in the positions with responsibility for sporting activities at a club is a key factor for success in national and international competition. Providing talented personalities from football with a practical option for their further development on a broad basis, challenging and encouraging them – that is the ambition behind the certificate course.”

Oliver Bierhoff, Director of National Teams and the DFB Academy, remarks: “We want to be world leaders again with German football – and part of that involves providing the best possible training for the people who will be responsible for the sport in the future. I am delighted for us to be succeeding in this together with the DFL and the Bundesliga clubs. We are also enabling former pros to take the next step into a top management career in football – the participants on the debut program include three former international players.”

Tobias Haupt, Head of the DFB Academy, adds: “This programme represents another milestone for the DFB Academy and is a wonderful example of the close cooperation that exists with the DFL and the Bundesliga clubs. In terms of the contents, we are training the champion makers of the future. We are focusing on an intensive exchange of experience between sporting directors who are working at the moment and future decision-makers and will adopt a very application-oriented approach overall.”