11 Apr 2014

New free Open University course explores what football can teach us about business

Football is usually associated with passionate fans, fierce rivalries and highly paid players; but behind the beautiful game is a complex operation that is unlike any other business. The Open University (OU) and The Football League Trust have teamed up to launch a free online short course, which explores these complexities and provides an insight into the business behind the game.

The Business of Football will be available free of charge to the general public via the OU’s ‘home of free learning’ OpenLearn. The course draws on academic perspectives and interviews with those working in football at traditional clubs, such as Chesterfield, and new ones, such as MK Dons, with interactive and engaging resources that will be offered on a weekly basis.

At the end of the course, students will have an increased understanding of:
• the business of football within and beyond football clubs and how it differs from other businesses;
• the role that individual motivation and teamwork play in success;
• how the football business has expanded to become an influential global network;
• how power relationships have played a part in making football the business that it is today.

Dean of the OU Business School, Professor Rebecca Taylor, said:
“Parallels between business and football are often drawn through themes of commitment, motivation, team dynamics and the need for effective leadership and management. Our free online course goes one step further and looks at the business of football; a lens through which to understand the challenges and opportunities of running a commercial and international operation in a high-profile and volatile industry.

“As part of our exciting partnership with The Football League Trust we will be launching the BA (Hons) Business Management (Sport and Football) in which students can apply business tactics to the global game, selecting business and sports modules to match their career ambitions.”

General Manager of The Football League Trust, Mike Evans, said:
“By joining forces with the OU we are challenging people from all walks of life to develop their strategic business skills in a new learning environment, harnessing people’s passion for sport to unlock their business potential.”

The Business of Football is intended for those with an interest in developing their knowledge of business and business management, as well as those with a passion for football and sports. No previous experience of business study is required. Learners can study the 15 hour course in their own time over a three – five week period. Those studying the course will leave with a fresh view of some of the business drivers that shape the sport they love.

The course is open for registration and will be starting on Monday 28 April 2014. For more information or to register visit


Notes to editors

OU media contact: Darry Khajehpour, Media Relations Officer on 01908 652520 or

About The Open University Business School:

The Open University Business School (OUBS) is a leader in modern flexible learning and the pioneer of teaching methods that enable people to change their life goals, studying at times and in places convenient to them.

The OUBS is one of a select group of schools worldwide accredited by the three leading international accrediting bodies – AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS – hallmarks of quality of teaching, learning materials and qualification impact. It is the only triple-accredited business school that specialises in flexible learning and is home to more than 24,000 MBA graduates in over 100 countries. Its MBA programme offers both residential schools and face-to-face and collaborative learning options.

For more information, please see its website at

About The Football League Trust:

The Football League Trust 9 is a registered charity that governs, advises and audits the charitable trusts associated with the professional clubs of The Football League, who have a combined annual turnover of over £44 million, and 2,500 members of staff, including teachers, coaches, professional health and social workers and many others to tackle community challenges.

Using the ‘Power of Football’, The Trust continues to flourish, delivering life improving projects, which engage with over a 1.5 million people per year, focusing on education, sport, inclusion and health.
The Football League 10(FL) is based in England and Wales and is the world’s original league football competition. The 72 member clubs make it the largest single body of professional clubs in European football. The FL celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013.

back to All News stories

back to previous page

back to top