EU Athletes PDM project

The general objective of the PDM project was to improve the governance of the player associations members of EU Athletes with regards to how they support elite players prepare for their dual careers outside after sport.

This was done through improved organisational arrangements and also by improving the skills set of the associations staff.

We have developed and promoted a best practice governance model of Player Development Managers (PDMs) within the 27 player associations in membership of EU Athletes. PDMs fulfil one of the core remits of player associations through direct contact with elite athletes at their place of work. Their main role is to provide support and advice to players about education and preparing for the end of their sporting careers.

The project provided advice and guidance on good governance and dual careers to the 27 player associations in active membership of EU Athletes members. In so doing we improved the support and advice on dual careers which they provide to the 12,000 elite sportsmen and women that are their members.

An exchange programme for 19 player associations from 12 different countries allowed one of their staff (either a PDM or someone with a responsibility for PDMs) to spend three days with different player associations from across Europe. In so doing the project will improve the quality of current Player Development Managers and also help develop new PDMs.

The exchange programme was supported by a tailored training seminar in the Brussels to prepare and support the 19 people taking part. Everyone taking part in the exchange programme was required to prepare a brief written report after the exchange. Detailing what has been learnt and recommend improvements in their own associations on dual career support and governance.

These reports formed the agenda for a big, three day conference for all 27 members of EU Athletes hold in Finland towards the end of the project.  As the attendees will vary in their development and governance models the conference included more specialist tailored sessions and breakout groups.

Finally we will produced model guidelines for player associations on best practice for the adoption on PDM models of governance and also on the promotion of dual careers.  This booklet is based on the feedback reports from the exchange visits and the discussions at the large conference.  It will be aimed at the player associations and their PDMs.

The Brussels training seminar, the large conference in Finland and the booklet have all promoted the relevant extracts of the EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes direct to the 27 player associations in membership of EU Athletes, such as 

  • the role of player unions as key deliverers of dual career programs,
  • the inclusion of dual careers in social dialogue  
  • national cooperation of stakeholders (both sport and public bodies),
  • developing adapted education modules
  • and the qualification of dual career staff

Other softer goals of the project include the promotion of greater understanding and solidarity between different player associations across Europe; strengthening of the network of European player associations within EU Athletes; promotion of the results of the EU Expert group on good governance and dual careers; promoting greater European integration; and finally highlighting the European Commissions support for dual careers.