FIFPRO has published the second ‘Mind the Gap’ report to help player unions support athletes off the pitch with everything from mental health to their transition to a new career.
The report follows a two-year-long project led by FIFPRO, co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus + program, in which the SPMB research group takes the lead for the research part.
The second ‘Mind the Gap' report, which was created by the steering committee members under guidance of SPMB, proposes a framework for unions to train so-called Player Development Managers (PDMs) to provide support to athletes.
The 20-page report illustrates the framework using the metaphor of a house, with a foundation, a living room, pillars and a roof.
Getting the player involved forms the foundation. Once this is achieved, the first questions are: “Who am I” and “What do I Want.” The four pillars are: Education & Development, Career, Wellbeing and Finance.
Finally, the roof makes sure this program is embedded in the player union.
The PDMs should show empathy, sensitivity and be good communicators, the report says. They should be aware of the boundaries of their roles, and know how to refer athletes to experts.
A lack of care outside their sports environment can lead to self-identity and mental health issues among players, as well as transition difficulties when their career ends.
The whole second research report, along with the first Mind the Gap research report, can be downloaded here.