Burnley is to become the first football club in the country
to offer a degree in football.
Students will spend three years studying for the BA (Hons)
qualification, with lectures being delivered in the Jimmy McIlroy and James
Hargreaves stands at Turf Moor.
The course - a unique venture for a sports club in the UK -
will cover topics including football finance, football law, stadium building
and management, and dealing with commercialism in the game.
The Clarets have linked up with a private university in
London to put the curriculum together after a suggestion from club operations director
Brendan Flood, who himself recently completed an MBA in football at Liverpool
"I think it's a first in this country for a football
club to do this, but I do think other clubs will follow suit because football
is still big business," said Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher.
"Our core business in Burnley is football, so why not
teach it to the rest of the world?"
Burnley may have fallen out of the Premier League last
season, but the club is famous for its history of success in previous eras, and
for the enthusiastic fans that still pack the ground out every week.
"Our unique setting adds to the appeal," Fletcher
continued. "Not only are we one of the founder members of the Football
League, but we are sitting right in the middle of a host of Premier League
clubs, and students would be learning while overlooking a green pitch."
With the course apparently focusing on the business and
commercial angle it is no surprise to learn that the Clarets see the course as
a money-spinning opportunity, with fees expected to run to £3,200 a year.
"We are running this as a business, not an extension of
the Government education arm, and we feel it is appealing to anyone who wants
to get involved in the football industry," Fletcher added.
"Clearly we're not a rich club, but we have always been
a smart club, and this is a way of bringing in secondary income streams to keep
up with other clubs.
"Our rates will be on a par with what students already
have to pay to do similar courses. We may even be a little bit less expensive."