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Towards becoming an entrepreneur within the football fraternity

SUBRAMANIAM … programme director.

18th August, 2016

By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaya (UM) is introducing a six-month Professional Certificate in Football Business Management.

Programme director Subramaniam E.R said the course has already started early this year, and that the second intake will get underway soon.

And Subramaniam, who holds a doctorate in Sports Business and MBA in Sports Management, and has spent 35 years in various capacities in the football industry, said they plan to bring the course here to Sabah as well as Sarawak.

He said if it gets a good response, the course here can start as early as January, next year.

This course, he said, is some kind of post-playing career path, and it is under the auspices of UM’s Centre for Continuing Education.

It gives students an insight into the football industry and helps them gain the know-how and job skills to help them with employability or to become an entrepreneur within the football fraternity.

“Football is now a global business. And it is critical that the local and international football industry employs people with the right qualification, experience, and skills.

“And this course is precisely the kind of qualification designed as a ‘life after football’ for footballers as well as football enthusiasts,” Subramaniam said yesterday.

Among the objectives of the course, he pointed out, is that by the end of the course, the participants would have gained a broad knowledge of football business management concepts as well being able to apply the management and business tool to this sector without constraints of time or location.

“Many footballers will reach the end of their careers when they are 35 or 36. Many will be left in the lurch, digging into their savings of over 10 years, while some end up driving taxis or selling fish in the market.

“This course helps them stay in the industry and looks at football from a business perspective. We have seen other courses which concern the sport itself but none like this, which is related to the business itself,” said Subramaniam.

“I wrote several of the modules and approached several universities. After a period of consideration, Universiti Malaya agreed to issue the certificate and host the programme within their premises.

The course comprises seven modules. These include football management and administration, the growth of international football industry, media and communication in football, event and facility management, the business of football, football development and football marketing.

Weekend classes will be held every month and participants are expected to use the rest of the time to carry out research on the areas covered. At the end of the six months, the entire group will be required to complete a project.

“This project is not some cut-and-paste assignment and is a real-time assignment. They will be expected to organise a national-level event like a symposium. So as in real life, they will have to look for funding, venues and deal with people. This gives them the experience of dealing with sponsors, governing bodies and others,” said Subramaniam, who spent 15 years at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

He said that a panel of industry speakers and lecturers have been arranged to provide instructions to participants. These include Datuk Dell Akhbar Khan, Datuk Vincent Paul, Lazarus Rokk, Christopher Raj and Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad, among others.

Subramaniam said there are six pillars that are very important in running a football club – youth development, coach development, first-team operation, good governance, good league management and financial management. He stressed that these cardinal points were essential in the proper running of a club.

Subramaniam also spoke about the subsidy mentality rife in football circles in Malaysia today. “Finding money does not come easy these days. Gone are the days when sponsors just donate. These days, they want something in return,” he said.

“Sad to say, there are still quarters waiting for handouts in football today. Football, instead, should be used as a tool to bring about improvement.”

He said one of the aims of such a course was also to change mindsets in football and about the role of emotional intelligence.

Subramaniam added that people must learn to think out of the box, challenge existing opinions and thoughts, and come up with bold ideas.

Successful candidates who may want to take the next step will be glad to know that a Masters in Sports Marketing is in the works.

“This is in progress and will give participants the chance to complete the course within 18 months to three years. It will be done on a part-time basis,” said Subramaniam.

He hoped the course would become a catalyst for future generations and provide a platform for stakeholders to look at football from a different perspective.

He also revealed that they are also having a similar course, namely Professional Certificate in Sports Business Management, which is also a six-month long course.

Glancing on Subramaniam’s background, has had a long football history, and holds a prized UEFA coaching licence from Cologne, Germany and the AFC, as well as a host of other credentials.

His last post in FAM from 2007 to 2009, was Director of International Affairs and National Teams Department. He was the chief executive officer of the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia between 2009 and 2010. Currently, he is a professional football consultant and FIFA match agent.

For details, please call Subramaniam at +6011-16284330 or email to subra.shsc@gmail.com or www.umcced@um.edu.my.

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