Pro League launches business school to professionalise Belgian football

Yesterday, the first edition of the Pro League Business School was launched in Antwerp. The project is part of the Football First plan, which aims to strengthen and professionalise the management of Belgian football clubs.

The first edition, carried out in collaboration with the University of Antwerp, brings together more than 70 participants, including managers and executives from Belgian professional football clubs and European leagues and clubs.

The faculty includes 40 professors from around the world who have come “to share their thoughts and discuss topics such as financial management, ethics, media rights, sponsorship, sustainability or stadium management,” Lorin Parys, CEO of the Pro League, explained.

Management support for professional clubs

Speakers such as Jan Van Esbroeck, CEO of Sportpaleis, and Andrea Traverso, director of financial sustainability at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), are also present to moderate the debates.

“It is no secret that the financial situation of our professional clubs is precarious,” Parys said. “That is why we have not only agreed on much stricter financial rules that take effect this season, but we are also supporting our clubs in a sustainable way in the field of management.”

Participation in the Business School is not optional. Each club in the Pro League must have at least three managers who complete the course over three years (two years for the Challenger Pro League).

Good governance

The training consists of five two-day modules, of which participants are required to attend 90%. Mandatory follow-up courses will also be organised twice a year.

“For several years I have been working at the University of Antwerp on good governance in professional football and I have gradually built up a broad international network of experts,” said Robby Houben, professor at the University of Antwerp’s Faculty of Law.

“With the Pro League, we have found the partner that will allow our Belgian clubs to benefit from international expertise,” he added. “The aim is that each club will learn from this to improve its own structure, in order to have a positive impact on the overall functioning of our Belgian professional football.”


Paul Nardi of AA Gent during the Jupiler Pro League season 2022 - 2023 match day 24 between KAA Gent and KRC Genk February 5, 2023 in Ghent, Belgium. © BELGA PHOTO Maarten Straetemans/Isosport


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