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Athlete retirement: Staying close to the sports industry

By Marianna Kazazi, The Sports Financial Literacy Academy, Nicosia, Cyprus      

An athlete’s retirement day may come earlier than expected, due to various reasons, including the nature and intensity of their sport or due to injury.

Therefore, athletes are required to have a retirement plan in place, so that they are sufficiently prepared. Since it is difficult for athletes to leave behind the sport to which they dedicated their whole life, some may decide to pursue a path within the sports industry, to stay close to the action.

Specifically, the most common next step for former athletes is becoming coaches.

Retired athletes can be suitable for such a position due to their own extensive experience on the field of play. An indicative example is that of Pep Guardiola, who spent the majority of his playing career in Barcelona. After his retirement, he not only served as a coach for Barcelona, and Bayern Munich, but he also won several trophies with them. Currently, he is successfully coaching Manchester City.

However, this is not the case for everyone, as some former athletes may lack certain coaching qualities that are necessary in the profession. Some of these skills include leadership, strategy, and the ability to manage the different personalities of the players, especially the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. These characteristics and skills are not necessarily mastered by all former athletes or even the great ones.

Another sports-related career many athletes pursue after they retire from sports, is that of personal training.

Athletes can easily perform as trainers, as many fitness clubs tend to hire former athletes to start working as instructors, especially because they are also considered as a form of inspiration to those working out there. Athletes can also establish their own fitness centers and take advantage of their name, image, and likeness to market their services effectively.

Sports media is another path many athletes see as a post-sports career option.

This type of career may include sports journalism, sports information analysis, and many more. Sports journalism, specifically, is continuously growing, due to the development of digital communication platforms, which are beneficial for reaching a broader audience. Roles within sports journalism involve PR, which suits athletes who enjoy networking, as well as social media, which is ideal for those who understand how each platform works and are dedicated to improving performance through constant research for trends and algorithms. TV presenters and radio/podcast hosts are some of the most popular roles where we find retired athletes who choose sports journalism as a post-sports career option. Sports journalism requires strong presentation and communication skills, as well as knowing how to effectively deliver news stories to your audience. A good example of this is Gary Lineker, the former England professional footballer, who is very well paid by the BBC for presenting the popular ‘Match of the Day’.

Usually, employers within the sports industry look for a combination of practical experience, education and interpersonal skills.

Therefore, it is important that athletes prepare for their post-sport careers, by identifying what they would like to do after they retire from sports and focus on working towards acquiring the knowledge and skills required to pursue it.

Planning and preparation well in advance is the name of the game!

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Sports Law & Taxation features: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.

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The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

The Editors

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Dr. Rijkele Betten

Consulting editor
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

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Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano

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Hardwick & Morris LLP, London


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