VC of Manchester Metropolitan University speaks at the Sporting Directors Summit

Manchester Metropolitan University Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press has revealed his ambition to create a Sports Institute drawing together activity across the University, from the science behind elite performance to sports leadership, with everything from law to apparel in between.  This announcement comes ahead of his appearance at the second global summit for Sporting Directors.
The University is one of the largest in the UK and has expertise in sport across all of its faculties from Health to Humanities.  We will be focusing around our research strengths, professional development, elite performance, world-class partnerships with sports clubs and federations, and participatory engagement amongst our students and the local community.
Professor Press will outline his vision and the University’s plan to take its place at the heart of Manchester’s rich sporting landscape, and how the establishment of the Sport Institute will make a difference.
Manchester Met is in an enviable position in a renowned sporting city with a global reputation synonymous with success. It is home to two leading Premier League football clubs, British Cycling, para swimming, international cricket and national governing bodies. The University’s Sport Scholar scheme is currently supporting several young student-athletes on the road to Olympic and Paralympic glory in Rio this year.
Professor Press will feature at the second global summit for Sporting Directors, which will discuss the increasingly common Sport Director role encountered in clubs and organisations across the UK.
Manchester Met was the first in the country to offer the MBA-level Masters Degree in Sport Directorship, developed with commercial partners Visionary Sports Investment (VSI).
It is aimed at sports industry executives looking to get the inside track on how major sporting organisations operate, finance, compete, and, ultimately, succeed.
Professor Press said: “We believe sport and wellbeing play a pivotal role in the lives of our students, staff and in the community.”
“Our sport strategy is to join academic and sporting excellence in unison. Our aspiration is to build on the University’s excellent sport foundation to become a destination of choice for elite student athletes, sport and health research, academic and employment opportunities, and as a catalyst for positive lifestyles.”
“Manchester is a huge sporting city and we plan to be at the heart of this.”
Three years ago, Manchester Met partnered with VSI, a commercial entity that had identified shortcomings in the ability of sport organisations to manage, in many cases, extraordinary financial growth.
VSI founders Tony Faulkner and Darren Royle believe organisations need an individual to take charge of sporting operations.
They should be a statutory company director with a responsibility to work with club owners and fellow directors to create an agreed vision and philosophy for the club. That individual would, in other European countries, be described as the Sporting Director and would be the custodian of the organisation’s medium and long-term strategy.
Tony, a former footballer who became a performance director before studying neuroscience, said: “Darren and I had both worked at a number of levels within sporting organisations and had spoken with chief executives and owners about why such a position was rarely employed in this country and basically it came down to a recruitment issue.
“Organisations simply couldn’t find the individual with an appropriate sporting and academic background. There was no talent pool from which to select.”
VSI approached Manchester Met with a view to creating an elite executive sport leadership masters degree. Their ambition was to create 100 executives with the leadership skillset to drive sport organisations through the next decade.
The course is backed by an impressive advisory board from the Professional Footballers’ Association, The League Managers Association, and The England and Wales Cricket Board.
Former England cricketer, one-day international coach and now Director of Cricket at Lancashire County Cricket Club, Ashley Giles, is among the first successful cohort and will take the stage at the May Fair Hotel in London where he will be interviewed, along with Professor Press, by another icon of Manchester sport, Diane Modahl.
More than 150 sport leaders from around the world will be attending the event, jointly hosted by VSI and Manchester Met.
Professor Press said: “Education is about expanding horizons and we’re keen to share the knowledge on the Sport Directorship programme with the next generation of sport executives and industry leaders to help enrich their development. The first cohort is about to graduate and we are thrilled to see their success.”