THE home of English football, Wembley Stadium, is to be the new location and second campus for UCFB, an institution devoted to the study of the business side of football and surrounding industries.
UCFB, based at Burnley FC’s Turf Moor stadium, is to open a second campus at Wembley Stadium, with the first intake of students scheduled for September 2014, with an increase in degree programmes available.
UCFB Wembley, as it will be known, will have circa 1,500-strong student body within five years of opening and will offer a range of degrees relating to football and sports administration and business. The degrees will be validated as always, by UCFB’s academic partner, Buckinghamshire New University.
The institution will take over some 60,000 square feet of existing space on the first four floors of the stadium’s south west quadrant, consisting of four lecture theatres, 16 seminar rooms, social learning space, large 350-seated refectory area, library and media suite. A portion of the space will revert to its original purpose on match and special event days.
Students’ lecture theatres and tutorial rooms will overlook the pitch and UCFB will have its own dedicated entrance. Several millions of pounds will be invested ahead of the opening.
UCFB Wembley will be a partnership venture between UCFB and Wembley National Stadium Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Football Association. The agreement is for an initial 12-year period.
Circa 250-300 students will be admitted in 2014 with the opportunity to study three-year BA and BSc degrees in a range of subjects for example, finance, international football business, law, sports psychology and stadium events management.
The UCFB Burnley campus, which is a separate entity to Burnley Football Club, is in its third year of recruitment in September and will continue to operate at a stable number of 350 students as well as expanding its degree provision. It currently offers its students three degrees in Football Business and Finance, Football Business and Marketing and Football Business and Media.
UCFB works in a validated partnership with Bucks New University in response to football and sport’s status as a global multi-billion pound industry that requires unique administrative, management and operational skills.
Courses have been created for aspiring professionals who wish to work within the football and sports business and its surrounding industries, gaining skills which ensure transferability into other business sectors.
Advisory board members include former FA boss Brian Barwick, Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the Scottish Premier League (SPL), Alastair Campbell, and Gordon Taylor OBE. PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle and Football TV Pundit Sue Smith are also Ambassadors for UCFB. Representatives of The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Premier League and Football League are active supporters of the higher education institution.
Recruitment for the first intake of students at UCFB Wembley will commence in March 2013 and will be managed through the UCAS system. Philip Wilson, provost and chief executive of UCFB, said: “Our institution has attracted professional and student interest from across the world and it was always apparent that from our relatively small beginnings at Turf Moor, our institution would quickly develop.
“Wembley Stadium is the natural – and in some respects only – choice for expansion. It is a global brand in its own right and the spiritual home, in many ways, of the global game. We are delighted to have reached agreement with our partners and look forward to building an institution which has been long overdue in the eyes of many.
“Football is a global industry which impacts on the lives of millions. UCFB is about ensuring we are equipping the future leaders of the game with the right skills to manage it in the best interests of everyone.”
Bucks New University are currently the validating educational partner of the UCFB venture. Moving forward, it is the intention of the Wembley Board to consider a shortlist of several potential higher education institutions and decide on a long-term partner.
Wembley National Stadium Limited Chairman, Melvin Benn, also looked ahead to the partnership: “Wembley National Stadium Limited is excited to commit to this project long term and we see this as an exciting opportunity for young people to learn and develop at a Higher Education institution within the most inspired environment of Wembley Stadium, but also further develop their working portfolio by experiencing elements of the business at Wembley.
“The football industry has grown at an incredible rate in the last 20 years and now more than ever it needs to be catered for from a business point of view. UCFB allows undergraduates to get an early foothold within this industry and provides not only qualifications but firsthand experience of working in the sports industry.”