“Professional athletes are forced to live two times!” With these words the Volleball World Champion Andrea Zorzi described the importance of paving the way for an “exit – strategy”…
after the sport career for all athletes, despite the discipline or the celebrity of the sport played. A recent statistic in Italy carried on in 2010 among more than 3000 subject revealed that the 61% of the former football players is unemployed In UK the situation is not so different: a study carried on by XPro revealed that 3 football player over 5 go bankrupt after 5 years from leaving the sport career, mainly for a tragic management of their earning and budget. Again in UK, the BBC told the story of the “volleyball player Rachel Laybourne, who was part of a Team GB at the London Olympic Games in 2012, and now she found herself struggling financially and looking for work; “I have to be able to put a roof over my head, to support myself and potentially a family in the future” she declared. Dozens of the 553 athletes who represented Team GB in London are job-hunting”. The psycologic factor is also crucial: another recent survey in Italy showed that the 20% of the actual athletes suffers from depression, but this percentage rises upon 50% if considering ex-athletes. Athletic career termination is a normative and even inevitable transition for athletes. Retirement from elite sports influences immensely an athlete’s life after sport and their perception of an athletic career as positive or less than positive lifetime investment. Despite of these considerations, AFTERMATCH partnership is fully aware that the issue of “dual career” had been deeply taken into consideration in the past by several European projects and initiatives. The specific AFTERMATCH project approach derives from a careful and detailed analysis of the state of art, carried out in advance in order to avoid duplication and overlapping activities, that revealed the following situation:
- The great part of existing initiatives are focused mainly on “combination of education and sport career” and on “young athletes” as main target: differently, the AFTERMATCH project intends to focus specifically on “post sport careers and employment opportunities for ex-athletes” with an innovative approach considering sport teachers, trainers & managers as the main driving force to promote a pre-emptive approach to job market for athletes and considering ex-athletes as a “valuable assets of competences & skills” useful for the business sector, to be preventively trained and prepared for a “second career”.
- There is an effective lack of attention among teachers, trainers, sport managers and directors towards the issue of “dual career” when they educate & manage young athletes: despite sever efforts performed with similar initiatives and despite the existence of some “Protocols” for certain Federations (for example: the International Weightlifting Federation Guidelines on Athletes Careers) there is still a great need for a stronger educational effort in order to give staff of sport associations / federation competences on “dual career”.
So said, AFTERMATCH project intends to “fill the gap” in the dual career promotion activities by focusing specifically on ““the end-of-sport-career phase of athletes, including those who leave the system earlier than planned” through targeted training for teachers, trainers, directors and managers of sport association & federation, with an eye on private companies & employers involvement.