Football Development Institute

The role of the Sports Director in European football


We inaugurated a series of “Research projects” with an extremely important topic, which in football – unfortunately – has never received a professional study. We examine the role of the “Sports Director” in European football.

Football Development Institute has created a proprietary definition and a proprietary position profile of the Sports Director. Sports Director is – according to our vision – the most important position in the Club, with strategic status. The function should combine the following aspects: football intellect (substantive), concept, strategy, structure and organization, football concept, management, communication, finance, technology and psychology. The discussed specialized role should be responsible for long-term sports development on the basis of a complex “Club Development Model”, as well as for stimulating the comprehensive evolution of the Club.

Here are some facts about the ongoing “Research project”:

  1. Project start date: May 2022
  2. Duration of the “Research project”: 12-14 months
  3. Scope of the study: 25 European countries, 50 leagues
  4. Form of the survey: questionnaire with multiple choice answers
  5. Presentation of content effects: publication of a professional study, including a qualitative and qualitative-quantitative summary | in addition, conclusions from the FDI perspective
  6. Languages of publication included: Polish, English, German
  7. Access to publication: open
  8. Theses formulated by the FDI:


Substantive problems:

  • The role of the Sports Director in Europe has not yet been truly defined
  • The position lacks a Europe-wide content framework: there is a lack of systematics and a complex idea behind this key function (definition, position profile)
  • European standard does not exist
  • Giving the role of Sports Director a low importance


Impact on education:

  • specialized role without a European certification system
  • no education system in Europe for the role of Sports Director
  • lack of real opportunities for sports directors to expand their knowledge


Practical implications:

  • Clubs frequently do not see the need to include this role in the structure (lack of awareness and knowledge of managers)
  • The role of the Sports Director is being deprecated
  • the most common position characteristic in Europe is “team squad planner”
  • European Clubs unstably interpret the discussed role
  • The Sports Director does not have his own team
  • lack of a complex Specialist profile (Sports Director) in the Clubs
  • Clubs are recruiting unprofessionally for the position of Sports Director
  • Clubs do not receive substantive support in terms of “Club Identity”, “Club Development Model” and “Sports Director”
  • The substantive quality of the Specialists performing the Sports Director role is deficient
  • The problems associated with the Sports Director role have a negative impact on a number of other football aspects


Destructive effect:

The inadequate approach to the Sports Director function, the lack of a content-based definition and position profile for this specialized role, problems in the educational area, and all the negative consequences of the aforementioned disadvantages have a massive impact on the low level of European football.