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ON THE FRONT FOOT J U LY 2 0 2 1 I S S U E S I X T E E N

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FIGHTING TALK

MATCHROOM'S QUEST FOR GLOBAL DOMINANCE

ST GEORGES PARK TAKES CENTRE STAGE FOR ENGLAND

WTA REBRAND TO ATTRACT NEW AUDIENCE AND ALIGN WITH THE ATP

CURTIS GRANDERSON: INCREASING DIVERSITY IN BASEBALL


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CONTENTS

Matchroom Boxing: Quest for global dominance 6 St Georges Park takes centre stage for England 10 Southgate’s selection dilemma 12 The FA introduce new brand to promote grassroots participation 14 Changing the landscape of scouting and grassroots football 18 Harry Maguire joins campaign to hydrate grassroots teams 20 Inside Chelsea’s incredible loan system 22 WTA rebrands to attract new audience 26 Going for gold: Jordanne Wiley’s Paralympic dream 30 The Challenge of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics 32 Planning sport travel as the pandemic recedes 36 WSL Promotion for foxes in first professional season 38 England Rugby star treated with pioneering swiss combination therapy 42 Players Alliance pursues goal of making change 44 Managing your personal energy 50 Mose Masoe: It’s time to walk and talk 52 Legacy of Kiyan Prince cemented for QPR 54 Lord’s Cricket Ground sees improvement in dispatch times 56 Winning the talent war in 2021 58 Off-payroll working arrangements 60 OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 3


BOXING

MATCHROOM BOXING: QUEST FOR GLOBAL DOMINANCE Eddie Hearn and Frank Smith lay out what the future looks like for Matchroom Boxing as they continue to push the boundaries. IMAGES: MARK ROBINSON

Matchroom Boxing has become one of the world’s leading boxing promoters with creative people that have set the highest standards for the events they produce.

The Boxing arm of Matchroom Sport has become home to World Champions Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez and Katie Taylor, to name a few, but are still “yet to scratch the surface of where the business can go” according to Eddie Hearn, who has stepped up to become Chairman of the Group which includes Matchroom Boxing, Matchroom Boxing USA, Matchroom Media, Professional Darts Corporation and the PGA EuroPro Tour. Frank Smith now occupies the role of Chief Executive left by Eddie. It was Smith's persistence a decade ago, as a teenager fresh out of school, which secured himself the opportunity of a lifetime with an interview at Matchroom Boxing, after repeatedly emailing a young Eddie Hearn.

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Smith began working across a number of different sports including darts, snooker and golf, with his responsibilities involving the construction of advertisement boards that would later be picked up by camera crews during the live event. He eventually moved into boxing. Today, he finds himself in charge of multi-million-pound fight contracts on behalf of the company’s marquee clients including heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and is central to the company’s global growth. Sat side by side in their Sin City hotel room ahead of their first event as sole promoters in Las Vegas, Hearn immediately interrupted when Smith is asked what he’s learnt from him of the last decade – “Everything…” he chuckled. “We’re two very different people, to be honest,” Smith cut in. “He’s a better salesman than me and I’m quite good at paperwork ➡


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BOXING

so they both go hand-in-hand quite well together.” His response was modest, and Hearn took over: “He’s running things now. They just wheel me out for things. I’m just morphing into my old man now. I go out to press conferences, they tell me to give it the spiel and leave the rest of it to them. “Frank is a much better operator than me in terms of running events. He makes it sound like he just does the admin but he’s a lot better than that and much more than that. “He makes sure that the business is solid in terms of planning, strategy and budgeting then I come in like a whirlwind, make a mess of everything and he clears everything up and makes sure that it all proceeds smoothly. “We work well in that respect – Frank has learnt the business by getting thrown into the deep end on everything. “Although now we’re now a huge global business, it was only 10 years ago it was me, Frank and one other person in the boxing department and we were doing everything ourselves: From making the teas and coffees to drawing and designing our fight posters – all the basics – and that’s how you become very good at what you do. “Being multi-faceted - that’s what Frank has been able to do. Not by studying for it but by actively taking part in life lessons and business lessons along the way." The pair clearly enjoy the fast-paced nature of the industry. “What keeps me going is that we get to do a show almost every week. There are not may jobs where you get job satisfaction as you do in this one,” Hearn asserted. “In boxing, you get to see every stage of our role from signing a deal, all the way through to up to 80,000 6 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

people in a stadium thinking we did this and made this happen. “There’s nothing worse than walking into an arena with no atmosphere and that’s what keeps us motivated to keep growing, improving, and making the sport better too. “We like to have fun. We love to create great live event experiences, create great sport and have a laugh. The journey that we’re on, as a business and as people, we want others to also associate with that and buy into it. If people like us and enjoy what we do, then that’s important as well." International Growth From July, sports streaming giant DAZN will become the home of Matchroom’s world-class, worldwide stable of fights after striking a game-changing five-year deal, which insludes a ground-breaking move that will see at least 16 Matchroom UK fights annually, available exclusively to DAZN subscribers in the UK and Ireland, for the first time. The historic agreement builds on growing momentum and success of the partnership across all corners of the world and cements DAZN as the new home of boxing. It also sees Matchroom walk away from a decade-long boxing partnership with Sky, shaking up the British boxing TV market and leaving Sky’s future in the sport uncertain. “They’re no longer just the future of boxing, they are boxing,” said Hearn of DAZN. “Look at what they’ve done globally and now they’ve just launched in the UK as well.” “The price point is interesting, and the streaming aspect is good as well because streaming is the future of broadcast in terms of how people are digesting content. ➡ “Younger audiences aren’t watching TV anymore or traditional linear


“In boxing, you’re only as big as your broadcasting deals. We must have a broadcaster that’s willing to invest at that kind of level to allow us to chase our dreams for the sport.”

platforms and we have to adapt to that as a sport. "We also needed to find a partner who was willing to invest to the levels we need to make huge fights and make sure that our fighters get the best opportunities. “In boxing, you’re only as big as your broadcasting deals. We must have a broadcaster that’s willing to invest at that kind of level to allow us to chase our dreams for the sport. If we have that, the possibilities are endless for where we can go. Global domination is obviously on the agenda. We want to move into new markets and the US has been a fantastic learning curve. “We had 73,000 in the AT&T stadium for Canelo against Billy Joe Saunders in May. We can’t take our eye off the ball and keep pushing forward.” The fight in Vegas for Haney vs Linares on 29 May was Matchroom’s first event as sole promoter in Las Vegas. “It’s been a great journey in the US,” Smith reflected. “A tough one, but we’re in a good place now. We now want to go into new territories and take it to the next level. “Some of those markets we’re looking at are Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia. The long-term aim is to have 10 to 15 countries we operate in and instead of doing one event every week, we maybe do two events [every week].” Hearn has also pioneered a fresh era of women’s boxing in the UK and Ireland, which started with his signing of Katie Taylor in 2016. “Women’s boxing is fantastic. It’s on the rise and we are starting to move towards equality of pay which is very important. “I’ve always said it’s not about male or female, it’s about the value of a fight or a fighter. “Sandy Ryan is an example of someone very exciting. Women’s boxing is now something that people are viewing as competitive, entertaining and exciting, whereas before they were very hesitant, and I believe that it has a big future.”➡

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BOXING

“It’s not the politics or the clauses that frustrate me, it’s the honesty. Honesty is always frustrating because it’s something that you always expect in boxing.”

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Joshua vs Fury Our conversation with the dynamic pair came just 48 hours after Anthony Joshua’s proposed fight with Tyson Fury was called off. The Brits had agreed a huge heavyweight unification showdown in Saudi Arabia this summer, but the fight was disappointingly axed following an arbitration which ruled that Fury was to fight Deontay Wilder for the third time. “I don’t know what to believe? questioned Hearn. “Some people have accused me of being a bit naïve and I trusted the word of these people [Fury’s team] that they wanted to make the fight happen. But I was wrong. We couldn’t have done anymore but you can’t make someone else fight if their teams accept the fight and we now have to adapt accordingly. “It’s not the politics or the clauses that frustrate me, it’s the honesty. Honesty is always frustrating because it’s something that you always expect in boxing. “When you’re all moving forward, trying to make the fight, you have to trust people and have some kind of unity as a project, as an event and as a partnership. “Unfortunately, we weren’t told the truth. We were told the arbitration wouldn’t be a problem. “I feel like certain people in that deal wanted their control and didn’t want us to have our day in the sun or any effort to make the fight. We had to do everything and maybe I should have read into that a bit better. But, when you’re being told something and on the verge of making the biggest fight in history, you just presume that everybody wants the same.”


You would assume that Fury would have been gutted that he was no longer had the opportunity to become the unified champion of the world that he so vocally wanted? “He doesn’t seem it,” Hearn responded. “He never kicked up a fuss. He never complained. He never had a go at his team. He seems quite happy to me.” A venue for the fight had been secured in the Middle East, something which begs the question as to why it the biggest British boxing showdown wouldn’t be held in Britain. “Mainly because of the money,” said Hearn bluntly. “We spoke to Wembley Stadium and we couldn’t get a guaranteed live gate for July or August. They would have loved to have done it, but they couldn’t guarantee that we could fill the place up due to the pandemic. “You have to understand that we have to present these options to the fighters who are about to go out there and risk their health and their life for your entertainment. “Both guys and everybody would love to do that fight in

England, but if someone says to you, ‘I can give you £20 million to fight in London or £100 million to do it in the middle east’, it would be a very quick conversation, quite frankly.” The Paul Brothers In recent years, there has been a rapid rise of super fights between celebrities who are not in the boxing world, notably famous YouTubers like American brothers Logan and Jake Paul who are taking the boxing world by storm. “I think it is good for the sport in some respects,” admitted Smith. "Floyd Mayweather against Logan Paul is a bit of a mockery because it’s two complete opposites. It’s a fight between one of the best boxers in the world, against someone who has had never won a professional fight.” “Logan and Jake Paul bring in a new audience and if we can retain 10, 15, 20 per cent of that audience into boxing, then I think it’s good. It’s a difficult thing to get right and you’re not going to please everyone, but I think there’s a space for it – it’s just how it moves forward. “The numbers we did with KSI against Logan Paul were huge, both in the UK and globally within their audience. They have a younger demographic following them and it’s going to be interesting to see how it affects the sport going forward.” The Paul brothers are

undoubtedly creating a lot of attention and ultimately money in the sport. A lot of boxing fans and young boxers question if their presence has a negative impact on the sport. “Sometimes you do get fighters who say, ‘I’ve been there, grafting for years and I’ve not got these opportunities’,” said Hearn. “Well, the reason is you either aren’t good enough or haven’t built the profile to get yourself in that kind of proposition. “On one hand, I understand the revolt from fighters who say that they don’t deserve to get the opportunity in this sport because that’s correct, but they have built the platform to do whatever they want. “They’re clever people. Whether you like them or not is a different story, but they are very smart at what they do. They understand their audience and have built a following to be able to do this sort of thing.” Athlete Welfare “I think people are talking about it [athlete welfare] a lot more now and are focusing on that on all sports," said Hearn. “We’ve seen it a lot with fighters over the last 12 months, struggling with their mental health, so you have to be reactive to that and that’s down to their teams and their management. “All sports need to work harder in that respect and there needs to be a stronger focus on making people happy. People think that sportsman,

particularly fighters, don’t get affected by things like that but they do, probably more so than anybody because boxing is a very lonely sport. “Boxing is probably one of the best educations for any young person. You only need to look at the stories of some people who have come through the sport and have changed their lives. “It teaches them discipline, respect, manners, fitness, health, through a regimented lifestyle. “Boxing plays a huge role in the community. Unfortunately, the people in power don’t see that on the ground. Anyone who walks into a boxing gym knows what it can do for the community. “I don’t think it’s the government who aren’t interested, they just don’t have people on the ground who understand communities or the role that sport can play. Some people just look at boxing and don’t consider what it does. “Without the opportunity to learn boxing for some people, they would be up to no good because that’s what can happen to some kids who have no positivity or focus in their lives. Boxing can give you focus by surrounding yourself with good people.” “There is a lot less wealth in boxing in the early stages of their careers,” added Smith. “I think, getting to watch the dedication of these fighters and what they put themselves through, makes our jobs look easy.” ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 9


ST GEORGES PARK

St. George’s Park takes centre stage for England With UEFA EURO 2020 finally underway after a year-long wait due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the National Football Centre at St. George’s Park has played a crucial role in supporting the England men’s team as their base camp during the tournament. With Wembley Stadium hosting all three of England’s group stage matches at UEFA EURO 2020 - and eight games in total, including the final - St. George’s Park is the perfect place for the Three Lions to prepare for the tournament.

Set in 330-acres of Staffordshire countryside, St. George’s Park is the home to all England’s national football teams, providing world-class facilities to prepare ahead of international fixtures since it was built in 2012. Talking of St. George’s Park, England manager Gareth Southgate, who is hoping home advantage can count for England this summer, said: “we’re really familiar with the surroundings, we’re secure and we’ve got incredible facilities.” Those facilities include 14 outdoor pitches - with an exact replica of the Wembley Stadium surface - a full-size indoor 3G pitch, an indoor futsal arena and a suite of rehabilitation and sports science areas. The state-of-the-art performance facilities incorporate cutting-edge technology and the very latest apparatus, providing the ultimate training and rehabilitation hub for teams. Visitors to the site, including a wide variety of professional sports teams and business guests, enjoy world class facilities and impressive accommodation with a 228-bedroom Hilton hotel catering for individuals, groups or team bookings, 10 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

along with major sporting or business conferences. For the past five-and-a-half years Holly Murdoch, in her role as General Manager, has assumed overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the site. As the venue prepares for one of the most important periods in its history, following one of the most challenging year’s, she explains why the excitement is reaching fever pitch. How important is the next few weeks for the venue during UEFA EURO 2020 and how much preparation has gone in to readying the site? It’s a hugely exciting period for the venue and for all the teams on site. It’s not unusual for us to host England teams, of course, but this is the first time they will be having such an extended stay on site and, naturally, we hope their stay here is as long as it can possibly be. There are several key differences to manage compared to a standard international window, not least the fact that we will be building a bespoke media centre on the site to house UEFA’s global broadcast partners and journalists who will attend regular media events

throughout the tournament. Since opening in 2012, St. George’s Park has continued to improve and update its facilities to ensure they remain industryleading, and we continue to attract elite teams and athletes. With that in mind, over the past 36 months there are several capital projects that have been delivered ready for the EUROs but will continue to add value to all site visitors moving forwards. These including having a new bespoke physio area for individual and group sessions, a complete refurb of the gym, and the installation of a new cryotherapy suite. On top of this, the England Technical team will oversee a variety of installations in and around the hotel to ensure players have the optimum performance environment for the duration of their stay. How important is the role of St. George’s Park in supporting the success of the National Teams? It is one of The FA’s key objectives to win a major tournament by 2024 and St. George’s Park will be fundamental to that success. As the home of national teams and housing the technical teams outside of camp, the venue has a big role to play. We want to support our squads and staff by providing the best possible environment to enable them to achieve their objectives and goals. Clearly, the facilities are just bricks and


mortar, and it is the players and staff who bring success. But the successes come from a robust and focused plan on how we develop England talent through the pathway from development teams to seniors. Having a physical home for the Technical Teams, who support each of the National Teams, allows us to build a culture and ethos around the centre, which influences the players when they are on-site. How has this past year impacted on the venue’s key priorities? It has been a year like no other, but it’s important to keep perspective as the

impact on the venue is nothing compared to that on many people’s jobs and lives. The unique location and layout of St. George’s Park - being in the heart of the countryside and incorporating an on-site hotel - proved advantageous in allowing us to create a Covid-secure bubble when many other high-performance venues were locked down. These factors were critical in enabling the safe return of international football and accommodating our own National Team squads, plus several Premier League teams, from August 2020. Also, in the past year, we’ve hosted camps and training tournaments for the likes of England

Rugby, GB Archery, Boccia UK, GB Sevens and GB Rowing. It’s been a huge benefit having the Hilton hotel on site and being able to rely on their industry leading CleanStay programme to provide complete peace of mind to our visitors. What are the biggest challenges at St. George’s Park? The biggest challenge is constantly striving to be the best elite training centre in the world. We want people to think of St. George’s Park as the number one training venue globally and become the unrivalled venue of choice for all elite sport teams, not just football. Elite sport evolves so quickly and there are always new methods, techniques and equipment entering the market. We are mindful of the incredible facilities that some Premier League clubs now have and we want to ensure we match and, hopefully, better their club experience. This challenge brings a lot of excitement as it is motivating to want to continually improve the venue and the operational delivery. And everyone who works here is passionate about doing that. ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 11


EURO 2020

SOUTHGATE’S SELECTION DILEMMA England have a young squad packed full of young talent for Euro 2020 and must ignore the moaners and sceptics. WORDS: ABRAHAM ADEBAYO

Every match can feel like a no-win situation for the England manager. For all the progress in the World Cup and Nations League, Gareth Southgate’s tenure is ultimately judged on his team’s performance at the European Championships. England came to this year’s Euros with one of their most talented squads for many years. A new look squad from the 2018 World Cup that included inexperienced young talent like Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount, but also a lot of experienced players including Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson, all players that have experienced tournament football before and will help to guide the younger players. When the squad was initially announced, the questions being asked were, who will start? What formation will be played? Before the tournament Southgate was fond of playing 12 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

five at the back, with two defensive midfielders, much to the fans displeasure, with them eager for him to change it. In some people’s eyes Grealish had to start, in others Foden and in some Sancho. With so many opinions and so much expectation as ever, Southgate was always going to have a tough job of satisfying everyone. When the first game came around against Croatia, Southgate went with a four at the back, much to the fan’s enjoyment. He started with Sterling and Foden on the wings and Harry Kane through the middle, with Mount, Phillips and Rice taking the midfield spots. However, many were eager to see Jack Grealish stretch his legs with the Villa playmaker being tipped to be England’s most important addition for the tournament. As it turned out, Raheem Sterling started in his desired position and went on to score the only goal

of the game to give England the victory. Kalvin Phillips was another player whose selection was questioned but played very well, winning a lot of plaudits. Jadon Sancho, however, didn’t even make the bench for the game, with Southgate opting for two goalkeepers on the bench. Overall a decent performance from a well-rounded team. As the Scotland game approached, fans called for a change to the lineup, as there wasn’t a need for two defensive minded midfielders against a low block Scotland team. But Southgate stuck with a very similar starting 11 to the opening fixture, with full backs Reece

James and Luke Shaw coming into the squad. The decision seemed to backfire as England failed to make good of their chances in a game which finished in a goalless draw. Of all the young British talent on the pitch, it was 20-yearold Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour who put on a controlling performance the middle of the park to win UEFA’s ‘Star of the Match’. It was also another game that Jack Grealish didn’t start, and when he came on, he was one of England’s most threatening players when he came on, picking up the ball from deep and running at defenders, winning many free kicks in the process. Jadon Sancho managed to make the bench


“Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were then both ruled out due to a positive Covid test result from Billy Gilmour of whom both had been in close contact with their club teammate after the game against Scotland.” for this game, after outrage from the fans, however he still didn’t manage to get any minutes, even though the attack were struggling. Two games into a major tournament and the usual criticisms continued. Thrown into the mix, Manchester City decided that this would be a great time to make a formal bid for England’s captain, Harry Kane and speculation also circled around Sterling’s future. I bet that would have been interesting news for the players to find out less than 24 hours before kick-off. You can just imagine the conversations between during training.

England secured qualification for the last-16 before playing their final group game against Czech Republic. This meant the result had no major influence on their progression in the tournament last group game, other than the win giving the players an extra day of rest. Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were then both ruled out due to a positive Covid test result from Billy Gilmour of whom both had been in close contact with their club teammate after the game against Scotland. This was Southgate’s opportunity to rotate the midfield and give an opportunity to some players

that hadn’t received minutes. Pregame the main calls were for Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho to both get starts. Grealish got his call-up and impressed with an assist, but instead of Sancho, Bukayo Saka got his chance to light up the field. And that he did, so much so that he won UEFA’s ‘Star of The Match’, and Sancho managed a short run around for the last 10 minutes. Raheem Sterling, who many fans wanted to be replaced, started the game and scored the only goal of the game, again. For all the criticism he has received so far, Sterling has proved his critics wrong and has been the nation’s only scorer of the tournament. Even better still, he has scored his first two goals in a major tournament less that 500 yards from the garden he first kicked a ball in. With so many different opinions and the heightened expectation, what affect does this have on the welfare of the players and their performance? Gareth Southgate's England will line up against Joachum Low's Germany in the last-16 on 29 June in front of around 40,000 spectators at Wembley for a fixture full of drama and steeped with history. From the Geoff Hurst hat-trick in England's 1966 World Cup final victory to the Gerd Muller strike which ended their reign four years later and the Frank Lampard goalthat-never-was in South Africa in 2010, this fixture has rarely been uneventful - as Southgate knows too well. The England manager had his own penalty saved in the shootout against Germany at Wembley which ended England's Euro 96 dreams at the semi-final stage. Revenge would be sweet. ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 13


ENGLAND FOOTBALL

THE FA INTRODUCE NEW BRAND TO PROMOTE GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL The Football Association (The FA) has worked with London-based design studio to create a new consumer facing brand, England Football, that represents, unites, and promotes participation in football across England. The new identity seeks to provide enhanced level of aspiration and inspiration to players, volunteers, and supporters of the game alike. 14 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021


England Football, which complements the role of The FA as the not-for-profit governing body of football in England, aims to create chances for people to play, coach and support football and better connect the grassroots game with England’s National Teams. “The rebrand is recognition of all the roles that the FA plays. We’ve got quite a broad scope, including Wembley, St George’s Park, there’s regulation, governance, the national team, elite teams, and participation. There is a lot of good work going on in all those places, but what we wanted to do is align and bring some of those together to drive further impact and that connection,” said Georgina Lewis, the FA’s Head of Marketing. “When we were researching and testing the whole proposition, there were two words that came through prominently about what England Football should stand for and that was inclusivity and accessibility. It’s why we wanted to take that design and take it one step further

by really signifying those two core values about what England Football is. “The design of it was really important because we didn’t want it to just be another logo or rebrand that just sat on top of something that existed already. We wanted to make sure that there was real substance and fundamental change that was delivered by what we were launching.” To reflect the increased inclusivity, the identity has a new crest: a male lion, a female lioness, and a lion cub, representing the youth element of the national game. The three unite to from the England crest with no boundaries, illustrating the goal of eliminating barriers to participation for everyone at every level of football across the country. The rebrand also includes a range of new ‘transformational’ digital products and services, including

EnglandFootball.com, a one-stop online hub across all levels of the game providing comprehensive information and access to FA participation; Find Football, a digital tool helping players and parents find participation opportunities; and My England Football, a new reward programme to recognise the passion of England fans, grassroots players, and volunteers. “It’s that aspiration and inspiration that we’re trying to bring together. If you think about how our relationship with our fans has changed in recent years, for some time we felt like it was kept at arm’s length for us. Now, we’re transitioning to have that direct engagement with individuals and that is why having the brand and platform in which we’re able to do it and having the right infrastructure is important. “EnglandFootball.com has been launched and it was a really big step forward for us. ➡ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 15


ENGLAND FOOTBALL

The FA’s website has been a good, functional website but hopefully what you see with EnglandFootball.com is a real change in how it looks and how users can interact with it, whether you’re an England fan or a participant. “Within that is Find Football, which we felt was important for people to find opportunities to play in their local area and already we’re seeing strong numbers of people interact with that and a high conversion rate as well, which we weren’t seeing on the old tool that’s a positive too.” The announcement of England Football comes at a time of some significance for the grassroots game,

are at now from a Covid perspective and looking at going through a recovery phase, the timing for that has hit a sweet spot. “ Most significantly might be that earlier this year, an announcement that almost shook the foundations of football in England emerged, when Premier League clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur declared they had signed up to become founding members of a European Super League, something that would

strategy, of which it laid out many goals that it is looking to achieve within the stated period. It is hoped that introducing England Football will accelerate these proposals moving forward. “One of the goals is to have 2 million digitally engaged individuals in the grassroots games and that’s not just through the England Football product, that’s through the whole ecosystem of how we engage from now on. “There’s still a really big focus around women’s and girls’ football and making sure that there are equal opportunities for girls to play, be that in school, clubs or recreationally and overall increasing the direct engagement between ourselves and participants. “Ultimately, it’s our job to maximise investment into the game, by having the right platforms to deliver football and futureproofing ourselves. “A number of those elements in the strategy will be measured. I think what we will be doing then is making sure that England Football is contributing to making that positive change. “Find Football is a really good example of that because we know that we have so many searches from people looking for football and we can analyse whether they are being done successfully. “The insight piece

“With our focus on the grassroots game, where we are at now from a Covid perspective and looking at going through a recovery phase, the timing for that has hit a sweet spot. ” which has suffered from the impact of the pandemic, while this summer’s European Championships will bring together fans across the country. “We see a swelling of up to 10 million additional audience members who are interested in football and the teams around the time of a tournament, which is why it was really important for us to be out in the market on time to capitalise on that,” Georgina asserts. “With our focus on the grassroots game, where we

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have had consequences right through to grassroots level in the country. “I think one of the positives we have seen from what happened with the European Super League was that we were reminded just how much people love football and what the core values and culture is around football in England, whether in the grassroots game or, as a fan. I think that all plays to the heart of what England Football is trying to get across too.” In January this year, The FA launched its 2020-2024

around Find Football will be interesting, and we will be able to see where there is a demand for football and what type of football too - whether that’s disability football, boys or girls football and whether it’s for recreational or competitive purposes. “It will allow us to plan with the right investments, for the right programmes to be taking place, where financing for pitches is going and we can start to feedback into where we’re going in the future with regards to our investments to help that growth and retention.” Noticeably during the pandemic was the effective, societal change that football can have. Georgina believes that England Football can underpin that and drive even further change moving forward. “We have seen become incredible football players turn into incredible voices who can stand up for what they believe in. You have Marcus Rashford with his free school meals campaign and Jordan Henderson who has been very outspoken about online abuse, as just two examples. “Even working on the social media boycott that took place and seeing the football world come together like that, delivers a strong message. I think it shows our scale and that we’re willing to speak out with a strong voice and it’s important that we continue to use it in the right way to drive change. “We’re early days in this but we are in it for the long haul and believe that we can make a difference now to the future of football in this country, by improving grassroots football and providing more opportunities for individuals to be a part of the game.” ◆


WHERE ENGLAND’S EURO 2020 SQUAD STARTED THEIR CAREERS

JORDAN PICKFORD WASHINGTON ENVELOPES

JORDAN HENDERSON KIERAN TRIPPIER

FULWELL JUNIORS

WOODHEY

KALVIN PHILLIPS

DEAN HENDERSON

WORTLEY JUNIORS

WHITEHAVEN MINERS

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

PHIL FODEN

HANDSWORTH FC

REDDISH VULCANS

KYLE WALKER

CONOR COADY

SHEFFIELD UNITED

RAINFORD RANGERS FC

HARRY MAGUIRE

MARCUS RASHFORD

BRUNSMEER ATHLETIC

FLETCHER MOSS RANGERS CFC

JOHN STONES

SAM JOHNSTONE

PENISTONE CHURCH

EUXTON VILLA

JACK GREALISH

BUKAYO SAKA

JUDE BELLINGHAM

HARRY KANE

GREENFORD CELTIC

HIGHGATE UNITED

RIDGEWAY ROVERS

STOURBRIDGE JUNIORS

JADON SANCHO

TYRONE MINGS CHIPPENHAM TOWN

WATFORD FC

BEN WHITE

REECE JAMES

SOUTHAMPTON FC ACADEMY

KEW PARK RANGERS

RAHEEM STERLING ALPHA AND OMEGA

BEN CHILWELL WOBURN LIONS/ BLETCHLEY YOUTH

DECLAN RICE CHELSEA ACADEMY

MASON MOUNT BOARHUNT ROVERS/ UNITED SERVICES

LUKE SHAW MOLESEY JUNIORS

OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 17


SCOUTING

ELLEVATE FOOTBALL CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE OF SCOUTING AND GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL The Ellevate philosophy is to motivate, inspire and empower the next generation. A multifaceted platform which has rapidly expanded and become a centralised forum and global community that helps young footballers, football clubs, teams and the community to expand and take their game to the next level. Players can track their progress, upload highlights and improve their chances of getting scouted. WORDS: AKSHAY LUGANI, FOUNDER OF ELLEVATE FOOTBALL

There is no central platform which caters to the playing needs of young aspiring footballers in the football obsessed teen market. Ellevate provides guided content, intricate challenges and player care, as well as a safe environment that opens up opportunities to the next generation of footballers. The new Ellevate app encourages mass participation and promote grassroots football by helping clubs, teams, and academies to grow and educate their players, whilst allowing clubs to control their data in a user-friendly singular platform. Feel free to sign up to the app, join the Ellevate journey and gain access to Ellevate exclusive editorials and discounts. Ellevate’s mission to help grassroots football and local communities has led to partnerships with several independent Academies and clubs across the UK to offer its services. Ellevate has also established relationships with a number 18 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

of professional clubs within the football league and abroad, having these professional clubs on board will lead to a number of scouting exercises for young aspiring players to obtain a chance to get a trial or exposure through the app. A 'Training' area of the app will contain industry insights into how to elevate your game; Players will have access to exclusive content curated with football professionals to improve their skills and tactics. These will be broken down into weekly, and daily sessions, with a clear structure and schedule for users to follow. Each 'training session', users will be provided with a video walkthrough, including instructions and tips on how to complete the drill. 'Training' will also have coaching insights for teams to use, for example, recent games played are uploaded to analyse team tactics. This offers the opportunity


for players to level up their skills – the more training you participate in, the higher your level. Reaching higher levels will unlock rewards and prizes. Ellevate will be joined by lots of familiar faces from the premier league to offer exclusive editorial content. Ellevate’s content will feature a vast number of familiar faces including, Ben White, Leah Williamson, Emilie Smith Rowe and Patrick Bamford - plus lots more. Ellevate hosts Chunkz and Harry Pinero will be delving deeper into the life of a professional by hosting useful discussions with the experts and taking on the pros in our Ellevate football challenges. Ellevate has established relationships with numerous professional clubs within the football league and abroad. The platform will be an aftercare market for players coming down from the top level, the app will seek to reintegrate the players that have dropped out and find them opportunities at other clubs. As well as being an aftercare market for released players, having these professional clubs on board will lead to a number of scouting exercises for young aspiring players to obtain a chance to get a trial or exposure through the app or at one of Ellevate’s scouting days.

Ellevate offers a failsafe, user friendly application that bridges the gap between the young aspiring player and the scout/ agent. The scouts and agents that wish to signup have access to a tailormade dashboard that can be personalised specifically for the individual’s preferences. All scouts will have access to individual player profiles and analytic tools that will document player progress across the Elevate masterclass sessions as well featuring their own independent highlight centre. The Ellevate platform offers a simple web-based entity for scouts all over the world. Scouts and agents can simply use the advanced scout search to adjust specific metrics and unearth the talent they’re looking for. Scout Profiles • Exclusive access to the independent Ellevate scouting web database. • Opportunity to explore advanced search features to

adjust specific metrics and unearth the talent you’re looking for through Unlimited monthly searches. • Unlimited player contact options matched with the ability to speak directly to the player via the app to arrange trial days and potential opportunities. • Invitations to scouting days in local regions across the world, with active players across seven different continents. Full access to scouting day footage and all highlight footage captured in the Ellevate app. Ellevate scouting days allow aspiring players to showcase their talents, and scouts to discover talent. Scouting days are made up of drills, trials and exercises to exhibit the players’ best assets, creating a day that brings talent and industry professionals together. Ellevate scouting days will commence later this year and the app will be re-launching this summer with lots on new and improved features. ◆

OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 19


HARRY MAGUIRE

HARRY MAGUIRE JOINS CAMPAIGN TO HYDRATE GRASSROOTS TEAMS Sports drink brand WOW HYDRATE and England defender Harry Maguire have joined forces with UK Supermarket Tesco to help hydrate grassroots teams across the UK to ensure they are hydrating and fuelling healthier in order to perform at their best.

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WOW HYDRATE ambassador Harry Maguire will be helping to support amateur clubs across the UK who only have small budgets and are unable to regularly supply healthy hydration products. The recent pandemic has had a negative impact on grassroots football, with many teams suffering with little funding and the England centre-backs support will help to ensure these players are hydrating properly. “It’s been a tough year for grassroots football, which is why it’s important to give back in any way you can,” said Maguire. To kick off the campaign, Maguire travelled to surprise his old grassroots team Brunsmeer Athletic FC, based in Sheffield. As they started their training session, he came up behind them to shock them and let them know that they would be training with him for the afternoon. “Surprising my old team was amazing. Those Saturday mornings were so important to me and my brothers – we played for this club, so it means a lot to us. I wouldn’t be anywhere without grassroots.” WOW HYDRATE are seeking to educate consumers about the benefits of healthy hydration for performance relating to sports. The company have formulated an innovative push-cap technology to ensure that athletes at all levels across the UK receive the freshest essential vitamins

and nutrients at the simple push of a button. “Hydration is so important. It’s what fuels you as a player. Amateur clubs with small budgets are unable to regularly supply hydration products which is why I have teamed up with WOW HYDRATE and Tesco to support grassroots clubs and make sure they are getting proper, healthy hydration, which is vital for performance. “Together, we are giving

grassroots teams the opportunity to get a free supply of WOW HYDRATE Protein water every month between September and November in Tesco stores to fuel their players. For every team that gets involved and signs up, there is also the opportunity to win a full year sponsorship – as well as a training session with me!” Grassroots clubs can sign up via the WOW HYDRATE website and qualifying teams will receive a QR code to scan throughout September to November to redeem at their local Tesco stores to purchase WOW HYDRATE’s Protein water multipacks for free. Once the clubs have signed up and received their drinks, they will be entered into a competition to win sponsorship for their team and a training session with Harry Maguire. ◆ For more information, grassroots teams can contact football@wowhydrate.com

OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 21


PAULO FERREIRA

INSIDE CHELSEA’S INCREDIBLE LOAN SYSTEM Chelsea FC are known for having an exceptional youth system, with seven Academy Graduates among the clubs 2021 Champions League winning squad. Loans Technical Manager Paulo Ferreira speaks about Chelsea’s focus on youth players and loan strategy.

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Chelsea’s Academy graduates were to the fore in Porto during the club’s 2021 Champions League title victory, with Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Billy Gilmour and Tammy Abraham all part of Thomas Tuchel’s European squad.

Since the Abramovich era began in 2003 the loan system has been a means to earn revenue as well as give individuals game time. The best example of how the loan system generates revenue for the club is that of Thibaut Courtois where a £7 million deal was agreed with Genk in 2011, which was paid off in fees by Atletico Madrid to have him as their number one – on loan from Chelsea – for the first three seasons. Not only did Chelsea then have a replacement lined up for Petr Cech when they recalled Courtois in 2014, but he was effectively a free transfer. Over the past decade, the focus has increasingly changed toward British talent – which has been accelerated by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union – as many of the homegrown players who joined as boys, like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, have come of age. There has rarely been a better time to be a young player at the club that has hardly been renowned for giving youth a chance since Roman Abramovich took over in 2003. However, Frank Lampard helped to transition a number of the club’s youth players into the first team during Chelsea’s transfer ban imposed by FIFA. Paulo Ferreira won an impressive nine major trophies during his time as a player for Chelsea, but now he has a very different role as one of the clubs Loan Player Technical Manager. “Players leaving on loan can often prove to be a critical stage for young players as they move into the final part of their Academy journey,” began Paulo. “Chelsea of course has a large number of loan players and has done for a number of years, which is why we started the loan department two years ago. “The brilliant thing about this department is it allows us former players – myself, Carlo Cudicini, Claude Makélélé and Toure Andre Flo – to offer our experience and guidance to the young players that Chelsea now has. We offer as much advice and support to the players on loan, helping them gain game time at their clubs as the goal for us is to bring them back when they are ready to join the first team. “Even when this doesn’t happen, we are still very proud of what the players we have worked with have gone on to achieve

with the likes of Lukaku, De Bruyne and Salah being very successful. “Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it difficult for us as we can’t see our players face to face as often as we’d like and we can’t watch their games in the stadiums, but we still try to speak with them all the time and offer all the support that they need.” In the past, clubs loan players out and wouldn’t think about them during that period of time, so having a wellestablished loan department to guide players throughout their development experience is imperative and makes the players feel part of the parent club even while they are away. “A lot of the parent clubs of some of these players are surprised of how

involved we actually are in the duty of care and attention we provide our young loan players,” explained Ferreira. Each member of the Chelsea loan department is assigned a group of players to not only act as a mentor but as a regular point of contact for a group of players who are out on loan, to provide detailed analysis, coaching and track their progression. “For example, Trevoh Chalobah has been on loan at [French Ligue 1 side] Leorient and has also been at Huddersfield Town, and before that Ipswich. As one of the players who I mentor, we sit down speak about his game, his progress at the club and provide advice on how he can improve his game. “I always try to use examples of those who are playing in the first-team with a similar style of play. Ultimately, if a player is out on loan from Chelsea, we want to be able to transition them into our own team if possible. So, saying: this is the kind of thing that Jorginho is doing in your position and how you can adapt your game.” Some people have criticised the number of players that Chelsea have out on loan. But just look at the likes of Mason Mount who went out on loan to Vitesse. He was transitioned into the first team by Lampard and is now not just starting Champions League games for Chelsea, he has won the tournament. “We have a great working relationship with Vitesse,” asserted Paulo. “Not only have our players felt welcome there but the level of football playing against the likes of PSV, Ajax and so on is really fast paced and is also a higher level than the Championship in some respects. “Winning the Champions League with such a large number of players who have come through the clubs Academy is an incredible achievement for us – many ➡ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 23


PAULO FERREIRA

of which have gained valuable experience while on loan. It shows that the process delivers results. “During the transfer ban, Lampard’s willingness to give the young players a chance gives our loanees the the hope that they also break into the first-team when they return. Under Tuchel that has continued. The pathway is very clear.” Paulo first begun his illustrious career in his native Portugal, which he explained is a very different experience for young players due to the level of club competition. “The big three clubs, Benfica, Sporting and Porto have their Academies nowadays, but for me it was different. I joined a club when I was 10 years old already playing on full sized clay pitches, and didn’t experience a higher level of football on grass until I joined Estoril Praia when I was 17. I experienced strong competitive football playing against the likes of Benfica in the top division of youth football, which was a big step

experience, while still playing with some of the best players in the world – the Bundesliga for example has a raft of loanees and also more players who are now choosing to leave on a permanent basis. “For many of these European clubs, young players are essential to their business model as they are much more affordable, whereas the big stars are often out of reach. Premier League clubs on the other hand are able to buy international players full of experience and come at less risk. It is for this reason that more players are looking to move away from England as part of the early stages in development.” “English players moving to a foreign country most likely have the same experience as

wife who could speak some English, and we also found Portuguese people in England who we are still in contact with today who helped us socially. Ferreira expressed his pride in seeing Chelsea’s loan players rising through the ranks. “Of course it’s fantastic for me to see players I have worked with doing well. I worked with Mason when he was in the Netherlands and to see him succeeding now with the Champions League makes me very proud. “Lampard did such a good job to bring through these young players such as Mason, Tammy, Tomori and to have played a part in their development is amazing for me. We have to make sure the players are getting game time and getting the most out of their time on loan so it makes me happy that these guys have benefited from the work we do in our department. Chelsea winning the Champions League this season has been an incredible moment for everyone at the club. Paulo reflected on his involvement in winning the Champions League with Porto and highlighted a number of similarities with Chelsea’s team this season.

“You could tell much like us in 2004 that this Chelsea team started to look round at each other in the Semi Final and the Final and genuinely believe in each other to win the tournament. ” up for me and a challenge I learnt a lot from. “In recent years, a lot of young British players have made the leap into foreign leagues on loan, while more and more are now choosing to leave on a permanent basis too. From my experience playing in Portugal, I think Europe’s other leagues offer a good competitive environment to develop. “The appeal for young players to go on loan in Europe is the realisation that youth players often play regularly in the first team and are given a chance to gain valuable 24 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

I did moving to England in the sense of the language barriers and cultural differences, but I believe that this also helps to build the individual into a more well-rounded player by leaving home.” “My English was very poor when I arrived at Chelsea, but I was lucky that I joined with Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff who could help me when I didn’t understand. “There are words you have to learn straight away on the pitch, but I had lessons every day when I first arrived so could pick it up quickly. Outside of football I had my

“At the start of the tournament, Chelsea wouldn’t have seen themselves winning, which was the same for us at Porto. You look at the quality of other teams and the players they have and you feel that you will try your best but imagining the final is very difficult. However, you start to win games, you play well and you beat teams such as Manchester United in our case, and Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in this season for Chelsea and you start to develop that belief. “You could tell much like us in 2004 that this Chelsea team started to look round at each other in the Semi Final and the Final and genuinely believe in each other to win the tournament. “Tuchel has done a fantastic job to bring the best out in the players much like Mourinho did with us in 2004, and you could see they believed that in that moment in the Final, that they were the team that deserved the trophy. “This isn’t something that just happens, it comes from building that belief throughout the tournament which was great for me to watch because it reminded me of when I was there all those years ago.” Chelsea will continue to use loans to help balance the books, with Abramovich making it clear from his early days as owner that he wanted the club to be self-sufficient. Although this seems to be an ongoing battle, which has also been heavily affected by the pandemic. ◆


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26 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021


TENNIS

WTA REBRAND TO ATTRACT NEW AUDIENCE Micky Lawler, President of the WTA, opens up about the challenge of growing the profile of female athletes and a comprehensive rebrand with the ATP to create consistency and alignments across professional tennis. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has introduced a comprehensive rebrand, that includes a new logo and revamped tournament categories, in a move to create consistency and alignment across professional tennis as well as simplicity for fans and customers. Starting at the beginning of 2021, it means that the elite women’s tennis circuit has shared the same tournament tier and nomenclature as the men’s ATP Tour. President of the WTA Micky Lawler is one of the most influential female figures in Tennis and instrumental to the growth of women in sport. Over the last year, she has overseen the transformative marketing rebrand and has worked on developing a closer relationship between themselves and the other

respective tennis associations in recent months. “We’re working closely together on marketing and anything consumer-facing.” Micky stated when asked about how the relationship is growing stronger between the WTA and the ATP. “We started together with our marketing campaigns, and we now have some shared positions. On the websites, our teams work together, our graphic designers work

together and on all social media content and highlights we’re working together too. “It just started a few months ago and we hope that it’s going to carry over into other areas. I’m confident that it will because it is working really well and it’s a no-brainer. It’s difficult to change something in your brain that says I’m fiercely protective over the WTA and anything that might compete with it. This is a different mindset, and this

is actually great for both the WTA and ATP. “ Examples of the way the WTA and the ATP have collaborated include the award-winning digitalfirst show Tennis United, which was created during the suspension of the ATP and WTA Tours due to the pandemic. Initially, the show was designed to provide a voice to professional tennis players and deliver exclusive content to fans from their favourite players around the world. With the first show in April 2020, Tennis United marked the first time the two tours joined forces to collaborate on a series of content. Additionally, a short film titled ‘Tennis is Life’ was launched between the two associations, reflecting on the coronavirus-hit season. “We both have such good depth in terms of competitions and athletes, that it’s going to lead to a closer collaboration,” continued Micky. ➡ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 27


TENNIS

“We’re also working closely with the Grand Slams and the ITF, so I think the pandemic has accelerated the idea that we need each other and let’s create efficiencies where possible to maximise value output. “It was a mutual decision for us to work together. The ATP had new leadership at the beginning of 2020, and they had brought in an outside consultant on the marketing side. Right away, our teams started working together and that was great news for us.” A closer working relationship may have come at one of the best times for women’s tennis, off the back of a difficult year, which challenged the foundations of the WTA. “It’s been a very intensive time and we had to adjust quickly. First to understand the scale of the pandemic and the timing of the multiple-step solution or envisioning a way forward beyond the pandemic,” confirmed Micky. “Of course, there was new information every day and different countries were affected in different ways and because we are a global tour, we had to look at it from a very global perspective. We knew immediately that we needed to make course corrections in every aspect of our business.” A study from Nottingham Trent University revealed that 80 per cent of female athletes believe that the growth of the sport has been hindered during the pandemic by inequalities with men’s sport. “When there is a massive challenge on a global scale, the larger businesses are going to have a bigger cushion and margin to fall back on. The smaller businesses will have a lesser margin. In that context, women’s sports will get hit harder. “We have to take a step back and rebuild. That’s across sports and any walk of life. The pharmaceutical companies and technology companies haven’t suffered as hard as some – they’re almost pandemic proof. We’re not pandemic proof! “I know the ATP has been hit hard and we’ve been hit hard too. The side effects are probably going to be worse for us. On 28 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

the other hand, it is a very big moment in women’s sports and our rebuild will be stronger. “We have a long way to go but I think we will grow back stronger than the men’s sport because there is so much awareness of the right thing to do and putting the spotlight on women’s sports.” As well as making progress in relationship building, the WTA took on a large-scale and comprehensive marketing rebrand, which featured a new logo, a marketing campaign called ‘For The Game’ and revamped tournament strategies. Although it had been in the works for several years, the process was accelerated by the pandemic.

“The reason for doing a rebrand was because of two things. Our logo didn’t say women’s tennis and I thought personally, we needed it to say women’s tennis. Like in any business, you need to update and change things all the time and we felt that changing the logo was the right time. “We worked with our stakeholders and there was an agreement that we would benefit from a new logo. We just looked at the results from the first quarter of 2021, and the tournaments traditionally do their marketing and create their look and feel, but now having consistency and working together seems to have had a positive impact and there has been a huge uptick in tournaments using the WTA branding alongside their own, which is what we wanted. “The other thing was that we wanted to change the theme to ‘For The Game’ as it


“It turbocharges the sport. It’s the stars that drive momentum and interest, as they bring new fans to the game. Naomi Osaka for example transcends the game because she’s a rockstar! ” was adaptable and asks a lot of questions like, why do you love the game? Why do you play it? It also focuses on what is the biggest driver of the game. It works for players, tournaments and fans most importantly. We wanted to think fan first and clean it up.” The marketing rebrand for the WTA coincided with some of the sports’ athletes raising their profile after the important events that have occurred over the past year, including Naomi Osaka’s vocal stance during the Black Lives Matter protests. Micky emphasised that it is important for the sport, and that of any

sport, to have these athletes representing women’s tennis. “It turbocharges the sport. It’s the stars that drive momentum and interest, as they bring new fans to the game. Naomi Osaka for example transcends the game because she’s a rockstar! “It’s created a massive revival for the sport in Japan and you can say the same about Steffi Graf in Germany or Gabriela Sabatini in Argentina and that leads to generations of tennis fans. If you look at Bjorn Borg from the 70s, Sweden is still a big tennis country and before Borg, yes there was tennis, but you can’t describe

the influence and impact that it had on the sport.” It is no secret that women’s tennis is one of the most successful women’s sports in the world and a case study example for other sports to follow. “The WTA has had almost 50 years to grow. Women’s soccer, for example, hasn’t had that yet but I think it’s going to continue growing in a big way,” Micky asserts. “First of all, participation is drastically up. In my generation, girls never really played sports like soccer or American football. It was never in question. Field hockey, ballet and piano were for girls as well as tennis. If you wanted to sweat, you played tennis, if you wanted to be elegant, you did ballet. “With the women’s soccer World Cup, there is great interest and great attendances but that needs to be built up more and become established so that stars can be created and there can be some consistency for a fanbase to grow.” Despite having reached a position to be proud, Micky is still determined to do more and stresses that the WTA will not rest on their laurels. “Our goal over the next few years and our focus are all about continuous growth. I think we are focused on the right priorities, by being innovative and creating value for our communities, fans, players, stakeholders and that that value keeps moving forward and growing. “We’re looking at ensuring that attendees have the best experience when they come to tennis matches and that they become regular fans for the future. “It is of paramount importance that this happens so that we can maintain our position as one of the best and deliver a sport that is a perfect environment for female athletes to operate in.” ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 29


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JORDANNE WHILEY

GOING FOR GOLD: JORDANNE WHILEY’S PARALYMPIC DREAM Jordanne Whiley MBE wasn’t sure if she would compete at a Paralympic Games again after giving birth to her son in 2018. After returning in incredible form, the wheelchair tennis star only has tunnel vision for gold in Tokyo. Wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley MBE is credited with becoming Britain’s youngest ever national women’s singles champion in the sport aged only 14.

Wiley has osteogenesis imperfecta as does her father, Keith, who was a multi-sport Paralympian competing in athletics and shooting events, winning a bronze medal in Men’s 100m L3 1984 in the New York Games. It was her father who provided the encouragement to take up tennis in the first place too. “My dad got me into tennis when I was three years old," Whiley shared. "He was competing in Israel, and I was bored as I had broken my leg so couldn’t go in the swimming pool etc. Someone gave me a racket and ball and

One look through Whiley’s list of achievements and you would imagine her trophy cabinet, bulging for so many years, is now threatening to burst its hinges. Ten Grand Slam titles, including four at Wimbledon (the fourth of

“I always wanted to play Tokyo. It will be my last Games. “My goal is to improve on a bronze in doubles – I’m really hoping to be in a gold medal match for that. But really the sole reason I came back to competition after having my

“My goal is to improve on a bronze in doubles – I’m really hoping to be in a gold medal match for that. But really the sole reason I came back to competition after having my son was to get a gold medal in singles.” I started hitting against a well and I think I had some natural talent. “When I came home, I decided to continue practising tennis – I used to go and practice every Monday night after school, then I ended up getting a coach and it has just gone from there...”

which she won while 11 weeks pregnant), and two Paralympic bronze medals in doubles. However, one accolade has eluded Whiley for so long and the Tokyo Paralympics are her final chance to get her hands on the singles medal, an opportunity which has been delayed due to the pandemic.

son was to get a gold medal in singles. Any singles medal would be a huge achievement and so my focus is to get on the singles podium. “Covid has impacted every athlete (and person) on the planet. From my perspective, 2020 was a bit of a rollercoaster as I had quite

a lot on. I tried not to think about it too much and just let things happen as it was totally out of my control. I took three or four months out completely as I couldn’t train, due to England being in full lockdown, so I spent time with my family and then slowly got back into training when I could. I have tried to stay flexible and adaptable throughout the pandemic and focus on the things I can control. After a year’s delay, more than 4,000 athletes are set to take part in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, which begin on 24 August. These Games will be the most important Paralympics in history, with the coronavirus pandemic highlighting a series of inequalities in society for disabled people, with a number of young athletes hoping to make their mark on the big stage, which Jordanne says is great to see: “There is a lot of young talent coming through all sports which is great to see as it’s the young talent that keeps the Paralympics going. “I can only speak on behalf of tennis, but we have some amazing young talent coming through the ranks on our junior pathway. I’d love to see more girls playing tennis and after Gordon [Reid], Alfie [Hewett] and I have all left the sport, I’d love to see the juniors come through and take our place.” ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 31


OLYMPICS

THE CHALLENGE OF THE TOKYO 2020 SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES Organisers are preparing for a simplified 2021 Summer Games that priorities health safety but will inevitably also hit sponsors and spectators. WORDS: HOWARD SNYDER, ASIA PROJECT MANAGER FOR TORCHSTONE GLOBAL

“It’s a problem that’s happened every 40 years – it’s the cursed Olympics,” remarked Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso before a parliamentary committee in March 2020.

Aso had a point. The 1940 Summer and Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in Tokyo and Sapporo, respectively, were canceled due to World War II. Forty years later, the United States led a boycott of 65 countries of the 1980 Moscow Summer Games to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  And despite public opinion polls showing that over 70 per cent of Japanese favor postponing or canceling the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games – in addition to the risk of the Olympics becoming the ultimate super-spreader event – it is almost certain that the Opening Ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021, 364 days later than originally scheduled. Everything associated with Tokyo 2020, however, looks like an exhausted marathon runner stumbling across the finish line. This article will detail protocols for those few who will be able to 32 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

enter Japan, take a look at Tokyo 2020’s top risks, and give advice to stakeholders as to how to best salvage what is left of the Olympic experience. The Show Must Go On Approximately 600,000 foreign visitors were expected to attend Tokyo 2020, and Japan had hoped for a boom in tourism and a record 40 million overseas visitors in 2020. It is now practically impossible for foreign fans to enter Japan, and even accredited members of the Olympic Family – National Olympic Committees (NOC), International Sports Federations (ISF), TOP Sponsors, and Broadcasting Partners – will find their numbers severely curtailed. 90,000 direct Olympic stakeholders were expected to enter Japan from abroad, including 30,000 athletes, coaches, and team members from the 206 IOC member nations. As for the remaining 60,000, Japan wants to cut the number in half, with members of the IOC and IPC (International Paralympic Committee), national and regional Olympic committees, the media,

international federations, and sponsor guests and staff bearing the brunt of the cuts. The IOC has even promised to only grant accreditation to those in “essential and operational” roles, and to cancel the IOC Guest Program and accreditation for spouses and other accompanying guests. What to Expect if You Can Enter Japan has stopped issuing visas to all foreigners who do not have a valid work / residency permit for Japan, and there is no expectation that the strict visa regime will change prior to or during Olympics. Being accredited by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) and the IOC will most likely be the only way to enter Japan during the Olympics and Paralympics. All accredited personnel will be issued an Olympic Identity and Accreditation Card (OIAC). The OIAC has two functions: to serve as a temporary access visa to the Host Country, and to allow the bearer access to Olympic venues. All those who wish to enter Japan are required to submit a certificate of


a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure. Upon entering Japan, accredited individuals must follow the Olympic and Paralympic ‘playbooks’ developed by the IOC and TOCOG. Designed to ensure the Olympics and Paralympics can take place safely, the

isolate and treat any potential positive cases. The playbooks, as of now, require all accredited individuals to complete an activity plan for the first 14 days of their stay in Japan that will be shared with Japanese authorities in lieu of a mandatory quarantine. All travel is

“While contagions were most likely on stakeholders’ original Olympic risk list because of the Norovirus at PyeongChang 2018 and the Zika virus at Rio, no one could have imagined the devasting impact that the COVID-19 pandemic would bring. ” playbooks outline a typical journey for each stakeholder group, beginning with measures starting 14 days before arriving in Japan; testing before departure and upon arrival; and the use of smartphone applications to report health and support contact tracing during the Games. Measures will also be in place to identify,

theoretically restricted to official Games Venues, accommodations, and a limited number of additional locations. Visitors are not supposed to go to tourist areas or restaurants and must not use public transport unless given permission. Each stakeholder organisation is required to appoint a COVID-19 liaison

officer who will be responsible for ensuring their colleagues understand and follow the rules outlined in the playbooks. The actual playbooks, which are expected to be periodically updated until right before the Games begin, can be found at (https://tokyo2020.org/en/ games/tokyo-2020-playbooks/). The New Risk Environment While contagions were most likely on stakeholders’ original Olympic risk list because of the Norovirus at PyeongChang 2018 and the Zika virus at Rio, no one could have imagined the devasting impact that the COVID-19 pandemic would bring. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed Tokyo 2020 from a close-knit gathering of athletes and spectators from around the world to an invitation-only chess game where everyone is a pawn that will only be able to take one small step at a time from their prescribed square. Similarly, geopolitical risks were also on everyone’s list, but most people were focused on North Korea, and not the recent aggressiveness of China around the Senkaku Islands and the South ➡ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 33


OLYMPICS China Sea, as well as an escalation in the great power competition between the US and China. While it is highly unlikely that China will make aggressive moves on Taiwan or the Senkakus immediately before or during the Olympics, the events of the past year clearly illustrate the important of contingency planning. Cyberthreats, intense heat, natural disasters, and terrorism are also top of mind for risk managers. And lastly, the financial risk of the Olympics will now come into play, as tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. The right of sponsors and other Olympic stakeholders to use the Olympic logo is really just a right to spend even more money on marketing campaigns – and the return on investment of an Olympic sponsorship is notoriously difficult to calculate.  Corporate marketing campaigns will have to be revamped, and sponsors and National Olympic Committees and Sports Federations will have to write off significant investments that have been made in travel plans and brand and media campaigns. Furthermore, multi-million-dollar hospitality programs to wine and dine customers that have been a mainstay of every Olympics will have to be drastically cut back, and stakeholders must be keenly aware of throwing good money after bad. And while holding the Olympics will provide some hope in a trouble world, sponsorships have been devalued and it is clear that the Olympic movement and the IOC need some sort of reform.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Advisory Council and the New Zealand Olympic Committee have recently come out with calls to scrap Rule 50 and recognise athletes’ right to speak out on human rights issues. The US Olympic Committee has even gone so far as to announce that it would no longer punish athletes who participate in peaceful protests, putting itself in direct conflict with the longstanding policy of the IOC. Sebastian Coe, the President of World Athletics, has also reportedly clashed with the IOC leadership regarding Rule 50. Sponsors, NOC’s and ISF’s should thus be ready with holding statements vis-à-vis their athletes as well as a general statement concerning the right to peaceful protests and free speech. This pressure from national Olympic committees will cause the IOC to reTop Risks examine its policies. IOC President While it is beyond the scope of this article Bach, however, has recently reiterated his to go into the specifics of each risk, the position that he did not want the Olympic chart below summarises TorchStone’s list Games to become a “marketplace of of the top risks for Tokyo 2020. demonstrations,” and we predict Risk Trend that the IOC will Top Risks for Tokyo 2020 Threat Level (As of April 2021) take a passive approach to this Public Health: Contagions Critical Neutral hot-button topic. Operational / Financial Impact: Marketing, Hospitality, Tickets and other activations

High

Increasing

Public Health: Extreme Heat & Medical Emergencies

High

Increasing

Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Typhoon)

High

Increasing

Geopolitical Disruption (e.g. China, North Korea)

High

Increasing

Moderate

Neutral

Top Sponsor Risks Cyber Threats

Moderate

Increasing

Terrorism: Threats and Attacks

Moderate

Decreasing

The IOC and Rule 50 While everyone can agree with the truism of the Olympic movement’s goal to contribute to building a peaceful and better world through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind, the IOC’s Rule 50 limiting demonstrations is clearly out of sync with demands for social justice in the politicised world we now live. 34 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

Salvage Operations So, what should Olympic sponsors, National Olympic Committees and International Sports Federations do to salvage their

Olympic plans? Olympic stakeholders will have to do their best to move their Olympic activations online to social media and virtual reality experiences and need to figure out how to personalise these interactions in order to increase brand loyalty to their organisations and satisfy their donors and other supporters. For sponsors, cutting back on marketing and hospitality programs saves money

and lowers exposure to potential COVID-19 risks for guests and staff alike. Ad spending and marketing dollars, as well as the ad campaigns themselves, must also be fully re-examined to meet the needs of holding the Olympics in a COVID-19 world. Hospitality programs incountry and virtual viewing parties should replace the usually Olympic hospitality jaunts. The same goes for NOC’s and ISF’s. While they may be able to send a small contingent of coaches and other essential personnel to Tokyo, they should consider organising virtual viewing programs and limited in-person hospitality depending on the state of the virus in their respective country. Conclusion The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games is an unprecedented situation that will cause headaches for every Olympic stakeholder. Japan’s decision to ban overseas visitors for Tokyo 2020 was as much a political decision as a public health matter, as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has been under fire for its poor handling of COVID-19 and late vaccine rollout, as well as its lack of political vision, general indecision, and numerous scandals. While holding any sort of Olympics in Tokyo would be a symbol of hope in a troubled world, the Tokyo Games will now be an invitation-only event that will be held with strict quarantine measures at the border, widespread testing and contact tracing, and limited domestic spectators. Television broadcasts, social media and virtual reality will be how the games are experienced, and Tokyo 2020 will leave a legacy that may both diminish the scale and pageantry of future Olympics and, at the same time, spur evolutionary change. E-sports and similar virtual experiences may become de rigueur, changing the composition of Olympic events. ◆


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TRAVEL

KICK-OFF: PLANNING SPORT TRAVEL AS THE PANDEMIC RECEDES Planning travel for large sporting events has always been a case of complex game plans and strategy, thanks to the pandemic it’s more difficult for sports teams and their supporters to get the right result than ever. WORDS: JOSH GUNN, GLOBAL MARKETING MANAGER AT CTM SPORT

Now that many countries are in recovery mode and looking ahead with a spring in their steps thanks to vaccine rollouts, sporting fixtures are occurring with crowds permitted and tournament organisers are more confident about upcoming events.

As one of the world’s leading travel management organisations, CTM Sport has a long history and depth of talent when it comes to supporting international athletes and sports teams when they venture onto the road for away games and top tournaments. We’ve been talking to our experts about how travel has changed for sports teams and the fans over the last 18 months and what we’re seeing now as the world looks to open up again and cheer on our sporting heroes at club and country level. Permission to Travel Many countries are allowing travel for essential and business purposes, but reasons for travel often need to be verified at the border with accompanying documentation from the sport’s governing body or a tournament organiser. Travel planners especially need to make sure that anyone who might be travelling separately from the main party has appropriate documentation. Social distancing measures have meant that private charter planes that would have previously been filled with everyone from 36 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

the starting team to the doctors, physios and kit man are now half full or less. Recently one of the support personnel from a client team had to arrive in France separately and needed appropriate documentation from European Professional Club Rugby to travel and avoid France’s strict lockdown where they weren’t allowed to leave their place of residence. You’ll need to be prepared that some personnel will need to travel ahead of the main party, which requires some additional planning but making sure everyone is aware of who’s travelling where and when can minimise any unexpected challenges if a player needs assistance pre-departure or fixtures are moved. Cancellation Conflicts Sports travel planners have always known that flexibility is your friend when it comes to booking travel, with little option to book more than 2-3 weeks ahead for anything less than a major event like the Olympics or World Cup. The vast majority of hotels have implemented more flexibility into their agreements to entice teams, organising bodies and supporters to their properties despite the looming risk of snap lockdowns and extended isolation for those caught in a destination when their home country alters guidance and restrictions. We’ve worked with both airlines and hotels recently to negotiate storing

booking value as credit for future travel after fixtures were cancelled rather than cause the team to lose their outlay on non-refundable bookings, saving them tens of thousands on just one trip. We saw the impact of changing restrictions with the European Champions League Football final being moved from Turkey to Portugal to allow the majority of fans of both British clubs to attend the fixture without the need for hotel quarantine so it’s worth taking the time and planning for the unexpected ahead of future overseas matches so that your backup plans can swing into action if required rather than leave you scrambling. You should also plan for cancellations that are required as a result of a team member or athlete unfortunately testing positive for Covid-19. For many sports, this needs to be reported immediately and results in an automatic cancellation of the fixture, so you should plan accordingly and have adequate flexibility in contracts for this as well as other reasons for cancellation like local lockdowns. Restrictions on the ground For teams travelling internationally, it’s vital you or a designated partner like your outsourced travel team is constantly on top of changing restrictions between the UK and other countries, as well as how they interact with each other. A good example that UK athletes had to get used to in France and Italy recently was completing specific forms when leaving


“For teams travelling internationally, it’s vital you or a designated partner like your outsourced travel team is constantly on top of changing restrictions between the UK and other countries, as well as how they interact with each other.” the hotel for any reason, regardless of the fact they were visiting to take part in a well-known sporting event. You should expect to be collating and sharing much more passenger data ahead of trips across borders, including travel history in the previous 2-4 weeks ahead of visiting certain countries. Having local coordinators who have been dealing with restrictions as they come into force from Day 1 is invaluable. For a recent trip to France, one of the Premiership Rugby teams we work with was required to have a list of each person onboard with their name, date of birth, address, and their latest Covid test results. Any individuals not included on the list would have been fined on the spot, as well as potentially the club. Protecting players and athletes from COVID-19 Keeping players fit and healthy has always been a priority of clubs and their supporting cast but Covid has added a new dimension to that. Until all team

members have been vaccinated and the risk of variants has subsided, clubs should take every precaution when travelling to limit contact from those outside the group and have measures agreed with the hotels on what Covid protocols will be in place. Where possible, it’s best to implement strict temperature, symptom or full rapid Covid tests for hotel personnel working in the same environment as players, coaches and support team members. When sourcing hotels, it’s better to work with those who are already operating in this manner than contracting with one who will look to set up new procedures in a short space of time, to minimise any disruption. For many of our clients, we’ve been working with them to identify high-risk events throughout their journey, such as mealtimes and using hotel gym and pool facilities. Having food prepared and laid out by hotel staff before athletes enter the dining area so there’s no interaction can assist here. Some clubs have insisted that

gyms and pools be reserved exclusively for their use and kept empty up to 48 hours ahead of arrival to minimise any risk of contamination by prior guests. It’s Game Day, what’s changed? Thanks to social distancing, you’ll likely need additional ground transport to get your players to the venue for the match. This shouldn’t represent too much of a challenge for experienced sports travel pros though. Post-match events can be trickier to navigate but depending on the event and set up, you and your team should be able to work on a timetable with the local authorities and event organisers to ensure it goes smoothly, regardless of the result on the pitch. Kickoff is around the corner, is it too late to ask for help? If you’re looking for the perfect partner for your team or supporter travel, our experienced team at CTM Sport would love to share best practices with you and discuss your options. There’s no limit to what we can do and we’ve proved our value to leading rugby, football and other leading sports teams worldwide before the pandemic and throughout. ◆ Shelley Matthews General Manager, Sales CTM Sport W: www.travelctm.co.uk E: shelley.mathews@travelctm.com T: +44(0) 207 429 9618 OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 37


MICHAEL MAKONI

WSL PROMOTION FOR FOXES IN FIRST PROFESSIONAL SEASON

Leicester City are a club known for their underdog stories, with the Women’s team now achieving promotion to the Women’s Super League in their first professional season, as Assistant Manager Michael Makoni recalls.

38 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

In August 2020, the fortunes of the Leicester City Women’s club changed forever, when it was announced that they had been brought by the parent company of the men’s team, King Power, having run as an independent club with only informal cooperation with the Foxes in the past.

The ground-breaking move meant that for the first time, the club was professionalised and was the next step for a team with big ambitions to reach the summit of women’s football in the country – ambitions set out by the players and coaching staff at Leicester, including Assistant Manager Michael Makoni who stepped up from the reserves to become Jonathan Morgan’s assistant in 2013. “From where the club was when I joined, to where we are now is remarkable,” said Makoni reflecting on his time as part of the setup at Leicester City. “When I first joined and was speaking to the manager, Jonathan Morgan, he told me they had 18 players and I said ‘oh, wow, that’s a good-sized squad’ and he responded ‘no, we only have 18 players

across the first team and reserve team’. It was quite difficult to manage at the time. “I remember travelling up north with two minibuses, Jonathan driving one of them and his dad driving the other. We had no goalkeeping coach, no physio, we were doing everything and whilst doing that, we had to keep on winning games.” Since then, the team has been on an upward trajectory, which included an accepted application to join the inaugural FA Women’s Championship in the 2018/19 season, as well as earning professional status after being brought by King Power in 2020. “It’s been in the pipeline for a few years now, bringing the women’s team on board, but they wanted to make sure that they did everything properly,” Michael confirmed. “We knew that there were eyes were watching over us, it was just a case of wanting to make the club run sustainably. When we started to build momentum and grow, we started to feel like it was coming. “When it came to applying for the FA Women’s Championship, we got that support then because Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha

didn’t just want to kind of be involved with the team, he really wanted to be involved and make sure that he was doing it properly and to be a part of our club.” As the process kickstarted, it progressed quickly, forcing Michael and the rest of the team to act swiftly, made only more difficult by the pandemic. “Last summer was the final step for us when Leicester City decided to invest into the team and make us go full-time and push us onto becoming a WSL side. “All of this was going on during our pre-season, so Jonathan and I quickly looked at which players we wanted to bring on board and we wanted to make sure we got that right. It made it a bit more difficult to do during a pandemic because we weren’t able to invite anyone down, everything had to be done over the phone. The coaching staff also had to be added to, we needed an analyst and a kitman. “It all moved really quickly in the end, so it required a quick turnaround. We managed to fill all the positions and got most of the targets that we were after.” Before heading into the season, the coaching team, alongside the players, set ➡


OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 39


MICHAEL MAKONI

“On paper, it looked like it was going to be impossible with 12 new players, the men’s team’s training ground wasn’t ready because of Covid, meaning we couldn’t move into the old facility, and we had to hire out a training pitch to use. ”

an ambitious goal that they wanted to achieve that was made all the more difficult by the circumstances they found themselves in. “We wanted to win the league in our first season as a professional club,” proclaimed Michael. “On paper, it looked like it was going to be impossible with 12 new players, the men’s team’s training ground wasn’t ready because of Covid, meaning we couldn’t move into the old facility, and we had to hire out a training pitch to use. “It’s strange because this season has probably been the best for us in terms of the resources we’ve had but the most difficult in terms of getting it right because there was pressure from ourselves to make sure that we were successful on the pitch, in circumstances that nobody has ever been in before with the pandemic. “It was a season where we weren’t ahead of the curve, we were having to adapt as the situation changed. “We knew it was ambitious to say we were going to do it straight away because we had no right to make such a bold claim, but we believed in ourselves and got there in the end.” Midway through the season, when the men’s team’s training ground finally reached completion, the women’s team were able to permanently move

40 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

into their facility, something that only further pushed them on for the rest of the campaign. “It’s great because we get to train at a Premier League standard training ground. It has brilliant facilities, including four changing rooms, which was necessary for social distancing. “It also has analysis rooms; a world-class gym and they now have everything to help support recoveries like plunge pools and physio rooms. The biggest thing now though, is that we have a home and base where the players can feel more comfortable.” Navigating through one of the most challenging and unprecedented periods that sport and society have faced in the UK for many years, the Leicester City Women’s team accomplished what they set out to do, by winning the FA Women’s Championship title and securing promotion to the Women’s Super League. “There were some great celebrations after we secured the title,” adds For some who have been here a long time, it was a massive relief to finally get to the WSL and a lot of jubilation

for those who have come with us on this journey.” In football, celebrations are usually short-lived as the hard work and preparation for the following season gets started and already, targets have been set for what the team hope to achieve. “Our goals for next season are again ambitious, Jonathan has already come out and said he wants us to finish mid-table, but we just want to stay in the league as a minimum and become a sustainable team in the Women’s Super League and challenge for trophies. “We’re not naïve and we don’t think that it will just happen overnight, it’s just a case of building towards one day being able to regularly compete with the top teams in the league.” The Women’s Super League is inundated with talented players and teams that are sure to raise new challenges and ask different questions of a Leicester City Women’s team that have come so far in such a short period but, as they and even the men’s team have shown before, are a club more than capable of succeeding. ◆


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RECOVERY

ENGLAND RUGBY STAR TREATED WITH PIONEERING SWISS COMBINATION THERAPY One of England’s top rugby players has cured his chronic heel pain with a pioneering new combination therapy from Switzerland, in the lead up to the British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa. Jamie George, who plays hooker for Saracens, England and The British & Irish Lions, suffered from chronic plantar fasciitis for two years.

The condition, one of the most common complaints in runners, classically causes stabbing foot pains and can be debilitating. At its worst, it left Jamie in so much pain that he would limp off after a training session on the club’s artificial pitch. Jamie, 30, who has over 50 caps for England, said: “‘I suffered with heel pain for two years, mainly caused from constantly alternating between grass and artificial playing surfaces.” Rhys Carter, physiotherapist and director of The Carter & George practices in Hoddesdon and Radlett in Hertfordshire, treated Jamie with a new Laser and Shock Wave combination therapy concept, Guided DolorClast® Therapy, from Swiss medical company EMS, that helps treat musculoskeletal pain. The treatment is supplied by medical products specialist Algeos, which provides innovative products to those in the Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Orthotics and Prosthetics markets. Musculoskeletal injuries are described by patients as highly painful, especially in their acute phase. Opioid medications or sedatives are often prescribed. This alternative, safe and non-invasive treatment works by combining radial and focused shock waves with high-power laser therapies to reduce inflammation 42 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

and pain, stimulate tissue regeneration, increase blood flow and break down scar tissue, thus increasing the speed of recovery. Up to 90 per cent of patients suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder can be quickly and safely treated with the new concept. Clinical research has shown that Guided DolorClast® Therapy can deliver better results than traditional treatments such as steroid injections. It is being used to treat a number of conditions including tennis elbow, back pain, anterior knee pain, knee osteoarthritis and plantar fasciopathy. Algeos also provide rehab products that can support the GDT concept. A number of Premiership rugby and football clubs in the UK are already using the cutting-edge technology. It has also been used by Olympic gold medallist Alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic long-distance runner Zane Robertson, top Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen

and Australian professional golfer Stuart Appelby. Jamie, who was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis after an ultrasound scan, said: “Rhys suggested we treated it with shockwave therapy, which I have had before, but he also suggested the use of laser prior to using the shockwave. He explained that the analgesic effect of the laser would allow him to get more pressure from the shockwave, which in turn should accelerate the healing process. “Alongside a stringent stretching and strengthening programme, devised by our strength and conditioning team at Saracens, I had four sessions of Laser and Shockwave each separated by a week. “By the end of the fourth week, I had experienced a 60 per cent improvement in pain, particularly after training and first thing in the morning. I continued the strength training for another month and would estimate a 95 per cent recovery now, with only mild discomfort after a game on an artificial pitch. This used to cause so much pain that I would limp. “I would thoroughly recommend the laser and shockwave treatment for any particularly stubborn injuries, and I know where to go if my pain ever returns.” Rhys, who says Jamie no longer has heel pain, said: “Jamie reported his pain was worse in the morning, particularly after training or a game, and that it gradually worsened over the course of the season, with mild improvement during off season.


ABOUT GUIDED DOLORCLAST® THERAPY Guided DolorClast® Therapy can be used to treat a number of conditions including tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, upper and lower back pain, anterior knee pain, knee osteoarthritis and plantar fasciopathy. After a patient is assessed, they are treated with a combination of a high- power laser to reduce inflammation and pain, radial shock waves and focused shock waves. This combination promotes fast healing and a return to motion for the patient. To maximise treatment outcomes a rehabilitation exercise programme is also devised. Find out more by visiting www.carterandgeorge.co.uk www.algeos.com/ems-gdt or www.ems-dolorclast.com

“On objective examination, there was point tenderness over the insertion of the plantar tendon and there was evident tendinopathic changes in the plantar tendon, in keeping with plantar fasciitis. “This injury can take up to three months to recover and required a combination of new laser and shockwave combination therapy with a progressive strengthening programme done in conjunction with his strength and conditioning coaches at his club. “I used the new EMS Radial Shockwave Therapy device and the new EMS high powered laser to carry out the GDT protocol. “I also worked closely with the Saracens strength and conditioning coaches to devise a series of ‘short foot’ intrinsic foot strengthening exercises, eccentric soleus strengthening and calf stretching. We also recommended gentle rolling of the arch of the foot with a tennis ball. “The results were exceptionally good. Jamie reported a 60 per cent improvement in symptoms after four weeks of treatment, which included 4 sessions of GDT and strength sessions every other day. In reality, a 60 per cent improvement resulted in an improvement of pain symptoms after training and matches on the artificial surface, as well as a reduced pain on barefoot walking first thing in the morning. “Following a one-month gap of treatment with GDT, there was continued improvement reported by Jamie with no pain after training or matches and no pain in the morning when bare foot walking at the eight-week mark since beginning treatment. We stopped treating at this point as the initial problem had resolved.” ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 43


CURTIS GRANDERSON

PLAYERS ALLIANCE PURSUES GOAL OF MAKING CHANGE, BACKED BY MLB AND THE MLBPA When last year’s season was cancelled, several current and former MLB players formed the Players Alliance to improve representation of Black Americans in all levels of baseball and further increase diversity across sport. A year on from its founding, three-time MLB All Star and President of the Players Alliance, Curtis Granderson sat down with Premier Sports Network to outline the organisations objectives. For years, baseball’s Black players had discussed the possibility of forming something like the Players Alliances – a group that could use its collective voice and resources to create opportunities for the Black community in baseball and beyond.

In the midst of a global pandemic and with the sport coming to a halt, the Players Alliance was formally founded in the summer of 2020, urged on by an important calling. “In the middle of 2020, I think it was a mixture of everybody being home because of the pandemic then we start seeing the boil over the social injustice pieces that were happening in the United States, particularly with George Floyd,” began three-time MLB All Star and President of the

44 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

Players Alliance, Curtis Granderson. “It was almost like a perfect storm in a very positive and negative way. Of course, you never want to have something like this be the reason that brings people together. But, because the pandemic was happening, because everybody was seeing this and replaying it, then talking about it; it gave the opportunity for former and current black players, who weren’t playing because of the pandemic, to come together and say ‘you know what, we need to do something more than just post something on social – the black square – and then be done and just move onto the next thing." As a racial reckoning arrived in the United States, the Players Alliance were able to virtually get together and

connect – the positive side of an otherwise negative situation. “Guys were able to start communicating with each other and realising that we didn’t have to fly across the country to all be together in order to voice our opinion and realise that we have a lot of similarities in this," Granderson shared. “Edwin Jackson, Dee Strange-Gordan and Cameron Maiden, were the three main players that started this and then it expanded to 10 players, then 50 players and now we are at 150 players. This has all led to the creation of the


“The perfect storm gave us the ability to connect with the youth, connect with the current players, connect with the ownership, connect with the union without always physically having to be in the same room at the same location.” non-profit – the Players Alliance – to see if we can start to address some of these concerns in the community where we live, where we play, and where we call home.” The organisation focuses on the entire game of baseball, all the way down to grassroots where young prospects are first introduced to the game, as well as all the challenges on the journey to the professional game. “The perfect storm gave us the ability to connect with the youth, connect with the current players, connect with the ownership, connect with the union without always physically having to be in the same room at the same location,” explained Granderson. “I think early on there was still a little understanding in terms of what this is, because it literally popped up in the middle of everything that was already going on. “The current baseball players were trying to figure out if they were going to play the season, the players that had retired were trying to figure out what life into being at home in a pandemic with their friends and family was going to look like, and then comes the Players Alliance being introduced. “It took a little bit of time, but I think the bright spot for us was this winter when we were able to be one of the only groups to go out socially distanced to do something safely and span the entire country to recruit those that weren’t just Black players but White, Latin and Asian players who were saying ‘Hey, you’re coming to my city, this is my home, this is something important to me and I want to get involved with this.’” Amateur Draft The Player Alliances’ first project supported the annual amateur draft, where high school and college players from the United States, Canada and Porto Rico can be drafted to join a professional team. ➡ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 45


CURTIS GRANDERSON “Once those players are drafted and decide to sign their contract, they then join their team,’ explained Curtis. “In 2020, that season was not unfolding so all of these newly drafted professional players were not getting a chance to see their teammates.” Major League Baseball saw a small increase in the population of Black players on opening-day rosters in 2020, with 7.8 per cent or 80 players comprising the 30-man rosters, injured and restricted lists. 14 of the 30 teams have two or fewer Black players on their opening-day roster. On the other hand, the Seattle Mariners have more Black players than the entire American League Central Division, and as many as the National League West Division. Now, with the formation of the Players Alliance and college coaches making a conscious effort to provide avenues for amateur players who aren’t in showcase events, and whose parents aren’t shelling out

“During this period, a lot of players are at home with their families: If they are going to be doing something publicly or in the community space, this is the time to do it. “We were able to connect with Pull Up Neighbour, they have this massive truck that can store a tonne of supplies and we were able to put COVID resources such as masks, sanitiser, gloves and so on. We were also able to partner with a lot of the food banks from the different cities to get food to the people in need. Not only were people trying not to get sick, but because they were furloughed people were also unaware of where their next meal was coming from.” The tour also distributed more than US$1,000,000 worth of baseball equipment to kids, some of whom received their first ever baseball gloves, baseball hats and t-shirts from some of their favourite players: “A lot of the kids were excited to see the person they see on TV actually

“During this period, a lot of players are at home with their families: If they are going to be doing something publicly or in the community space, this is the time to do it.” thousands of dollars each year in travel bills, a difference is being made. “From a Black player standpoint, because the numbers are low in our sport, one of things that a lot of Black players remember about the draft is, after signing and joining up with team, I am now getting introduced and connecting with the few guys that look like me. Well, they didn’t get that opportunity and virtually we were able to present that to them and that was the first thing that we did soon after the 2020 draft.” Pull Up Neighbour The Players Alliance partnered with Pull Up Neighbour, a Black-owned community response team that aided the union’s efforts to reach tens of thousands in communities across the country, which is where traction really started to pick up and knowledge sharing began. “We were trying to figure out how we can do something around Giving Tuesday, which is the first Tuesday in December to take us into the holiday season and hopefully before we get ready for spring training,’ Granderson asserted. 46 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

hand them the gift.” “Even before the tour started, the number of calls and text messages from our non-black teammates, who were reaching out asking for more detail: ‘How can I be involved? If I am involved what does that require of me? The main thing is, if you align with what our mission is and seeing our game change for the better and support some of the things we are doing socially.” Visiting almost 33 cities across the United States, the tour was unfortunately cut short as the number of COVID-19 cases rose, but Granderson is confident that they will be able to continue where they left off this year and continue spreading the message. “We are hopeful for this


2021 season, that some of the guys that didn’t know about it last year are going to be in the locker-room communicating with guys that were participating and saying, ‘Hey what was that thing you did the past year, tell me more about it’ and then it will continue to grow more internally and organically.” Overcoming key problems “As you can imagine with 150 players there is a lot of ideas and we have been narrowing our focus down,” said Granderson. “The great thing about this is that it is being talked about from one teammate to another and now that we are all together a lot of those things are very similar so we have to decide what we can attack first and make sure we are successful with that,

before moving onto the next chapter. With Covid being at the forefront, that needed to be addressed. “The second thing we definitely want to make sure of is continuing to introduce

was doing book reports about Black History month and I came across players like Jackie Robinson and thought ‘Wow those guys look really cool, I like how they are wearing their uniforms’ and that’s how I started. I then started swinging a black baseball bat because of my favourite baseball player – Ken Griffey Jr. Working with MLB, the MLB Player’s Association, and all 30 clubs have enabled the Players Alliance to create an executive committee which consists of front-office individuals from some of the teams as well as an ownership committee that consist of some of the owners of these teams. “We know we can’t repair everything ourselves we are going to need help

“Less than a year in we are going to see different things pop up at different times that indicate where our focus needs to be, and this is where we are going to drive that. Our focus is making sure kids have access to the game or are introduced to the game; as well as having opportunities to continue to remain in the game. “If they don’t then get that chance to go professional, we want to assist them with careers in the game, whether its scouting, coaching, analytics, front-office or ownership – all these different things that we would love to see, that then branch out to the community side as well.” Barriers to participation Curtis shares his own

“This is where everybody comes in from the baseball world saying ‘we hear what you’re talking about, what about this, what about that and we can help you in this areas’ and that’s been our strategy up until this point.” kids to baseball. A lot of kids are not going to play the game if they’ve never seen it, don’t know it and don’t realise that there are people that look like them participating. “For example, my story: I started playing when I was 6 years old, partly because I

and assistance,” admitted Granderson. “This is where everybody comes in from the baseball world saying ‘we hear what you’re talking about, what about this, what about that and we can help you in this areas’ and that’s been our strategy up until this point.

experiences from the journey which took him to the Major Leagues: “I had a very unique story. When I played, and for a long period of time, I was one of the only Black players on a lot of my teams. The first time I ever had a team of more than two black players was once ➡ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 47


CURTIS GRANDERSON

“Yes, it was great to show the support but when you start looking at the representation that’s where we are definitely lacking.” I played professionally at the age of 21. “However, prior to all that my start to the game I think is a big reason why I remained in it. When I played at six years old, although I was the only black player on the team, my team was the only team coached by a female and being introduced to that, her welcoming me in, treating us all like her sons, making it fun and exciting, this made me want to continue to come back. “Now, the story could have been completely different if that coach would have treated me in any different way. But now looking back at it throughout the course of my entire career – when I started at 6 years old and retied at 39 years old – I only had one female coach which was that first one at the age of six. “We had our first on-field female coach this past year with Alyssa Nakken at the San Francisco Giants; we are starting to see female General Managers with Kim Ng at the Miami Marlins; and we are also starting to see some things change and move base – we had Black rookie of the years in both leagues last year from the American League and the National League, so certain things have been a slow progression but not having those issues early on kept me in the game. “I did also recognise that

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there’s not a lot of people who look like me out here, so how do I go ahead and try and change some of those things? Just using the United States, we represent 13 per cent of the country. Just doubling our numbers from seven to 14 per cent will be a massive change, which would be exciting to see. Hopefully any of the barriers that we have faced up until this point can be illuminated – which include pricing, equipment, travel, exposure, scouting and being recognised. The development of Player Care “There is more talk about it internally that has become louder and louder that now people are referencing that we have a product that is going to be on this field, ideally we want to see them on the field as long as possible. “In order to do that, we need to make sure that they are physically taken care of and mentally taken care of. This is something that helped me out the year before I made it to the Major League – I was one step away from quitting. Statistically I was perfectly fine, but mentally I was in a different place where I thought the best solution for me was to get away from the game. At the time Granderson reached out to the teams mental skills coach who played

a big part in keeping him in the game. Less than a year later, Granderson made it to the Major League. “Without that individual and some of my additional support staff I would never have had a chance to have a 16-year career. “That also goes into the nutrition side, which has started to be addressed. There were definitely concerns from the players and it’s great to see that nutritionists are being added to teams and that each team has a mental skills person that can also double as a team therapist or a psychologist and that the outreach is there for players. “Strength coaches are being added at every level versus one person trying to handle all those jobs. And off-season check in and controls. It was amazing early in my career where the season would finish, I would go back home to Chicago and I may not hear from anybody until February and the trust was in that I would do everything I needed to do for

when I was to join back up with the team in February. “Now checking in and communicating, coming to see you and give you a plan is definitely helping so it’s been great to see and hopefully it can continue.” Commitment from MLB and MLBPA In September 2020, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association committed US$10 million to fund programmes from the newly formed Players Alliance. The joint grants will be delivered annually through to 2024 and will look to fulfil an array of initiatives that the Players Association see as essential to be successful in their aims, which include player-led mentorship, the funding of individual leagues, equipment donations and special tournaments, to name a few. The commitment was huge for the Players Alliance. “We can’t do anything without both of those two entities,” said Curtis. “The Players Association represents the players that are on the field and everything that you get a chance to see, from the players rights to contracts to all the


different things we talked about in terms of getting this nutrition advice, mental skills and strength coaches. So, when you see the product out there, that in part is what the association has been fighting for. “Then Major League Baseball is the vehicle that is going to provide this for people to see. The power of our player membership, including our non-Black teammates coupled with support of MLB and the Players Association, gives us the unique ability to create increased opportunities for Black communities we care so much about and solidifies the mission of The Players Alliance.” The importance is reflected by MLB and the MLB Players Association. “We have so many players that are leaders on the field, but they are also leaders off the field and being able to collectively to use all their voices, get together and really do good in various communities across the United States and hopefully around the world is really important,” explained Leonor Colon, Senior Director of International and Domestic Player Relations at the MLB Players Association. “I think a lot of people are going to learn from all of things we are doing with various players. But it’s really about having a mission and it really is more than just black players, that’s the focus, but to be able to really appreciate the diversity of our game and having players no matter where they are from supporting this mission, it’s inspiring. “We are one of the few sports that is as diverse in terms of backgrounds,

compared to [American] football and basketball. Being able to have one union that really embraces the diversity in communities within our game and giving back is really what it is about, and they are executing it perfectly.” Diversity of Leadership “When there was a heavy push for the BLM campaign the 30 owners and General Managers got up and wanted to show their solidarity and it was great to see the BLM logo. But as you pan through all 30 teams there are only two people of colour. “Yes, it was great to show the support but when you start looking at the representation that’s where we are definitely lacking. And it goes up even higher when you go into ownership: We have a couple of minority owners Derek Jeter of Miami Marlins, Lebron James just became one with Boston Red Sox, Magic Johnson too with the LA Dodgers. But these are 2-3 per cent owners, not the majority stakeholders there," asserted Granderson. “We can’t create opportunities for individuals that aren’t there, but we can start laying the pipework by getting more kids into college and as they graduate, they potentially get qualified to do this and then in a few years from now, we can have our first Black hire. Sport as a vehicle for social change Sports can and should be a vehicle for progressive social change: “Let’s not just check the box or throw money at the

problem and hope it goes away and I think this has been some of the problems for a very long time, especially when you look at ownership,” said Granderson. “When we really take building a foundation approach and introducing young kids to this game, they become fans of the game and participate. We have seen statistically that most student athletes tend to do better in school because of all these different things that are awarded to them. If they continue to keep their grades up, they can participate in their teams and these young boys and girls will hopefully get a chance to further their education, which then again qualifies them for some of these positions where we want to see some diversity. “Whatever the action happens to be, we want to keep the action going and that was one of our biggest fears with the summer. Once the summer started to come to an end and sports become a reality again, and then we had one of the largest elections in US history, we didn’t want to be pushed to the back. “We want to make sure we continue to keep going, it doesn’t have to be as drastic as always taking the knee or wearing a BLM patch, but we are going to continue letting you know that we are still fighting for these issues. “Collectively there is a lot of people behind us that also want to see some of these things continue to change and are demanding that they do start to change from a number of different aspects. This isn’t just a Black side of the game, but females in sport and diversity as a whole. It still baffles me that throughout my entire 16-year career I didn’t have one female coach, only one female athletic trainer. Future plans for the Players Alliance Curtis is optimistic that in 2021 the Players Alliance will be able to do some more in person events, although this remains to be seen. In the meantime, virtual events will continue as the baseball season gets underway. “We will look towards potentially doing monthly virtual chats about a bunch of different topics and have some focus groups such as on baseball focus (hitting, fielding, throwing), the mental side and also physical preparedness. Then there will be financial education conversations, which will all be ongoing throughout the course of the year. “Then we are hoping that come July, which is our MLB All Star Game that will be hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, that we can be a little more in person and bring some individuals down to the All-Star game and start to do some things with the Association and MLB. This is one of the biggest moments of the year, when everyone’s eyes are on that one particular event.” ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 49


WELLBEING

MANAGING YOUR PERSONAL ENERGY – BEING MORE SUSTAINABLE AND AVOIDING BURNOUT Over the years, time management has been a pillar of how effectively we can work. However, time runs out, and it doesn’t matter what your experience level is or how much knowledge you have, there are always only 24 hours in a day. WORDS: IAN CALDECOURT, SENIOR CONSULTANT AT HEMSLEY FRASER

Most of us may be familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix (4-box grid), which without doubt, has its place in the effective management of time - helping us to prioritise based on importance and urgency.

However, time runs out, and it doesn’t matter what your experience level is or how much knowledge you have, there are always only 24 hours in a day (apart from that one day a year when we have 25 hours and yet most of us still spend that extra hour asleep!). We need to start combining tried and tested time management techniques with personal energy management to help us be more sustainable and avoid burnout. Imagine one of those online games where the character has a finite amount of energy to complete a task in a finite amount of time. If you go too quickly, you run out of energy before the task is complete, and if you go too slowly, the clock runs down before your energy has expired. Along the way you can pick up ‘energy boosts’ to help you achieve the goal. Your working day can be thought of in a similar way, throughout the day your energy bar is draining - simply reordering tasks won’t give you more energy and you risk burnout. You have to find those ‘personal energy boosts’ that will help you get through the day and sustain you over time. Tech company, The Draugiem Group, used a time tracking app to find out what 50 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

set their most productive employees apart. Somewhat surprisingly, what they found was that it wasn’t the length of time spent working, but for every 52 minutes spent on focused work, these high performers took approximately a 15-minute break. If we have learnt one thing over lockdown and the past year, it’s that we can take a break and still achieve. A colleague of mine said to me it took him three months to realise that he could take a break from work and sit in the garden

“If we have learnt one thing over lockdown and the past year, it’s that we can take a break and still achieve. to have a cup of coffee without negatively impacting his outputs - bizarrely, it increased them! Bill Gates takes this advice to the extreme and is known to have nothing scheduled in his day so that he can sit, think and recharge. So, how simple is it to recharge and manage energy? Let’s use a well-known psychology idea around introversion and extroversion. You

could say that introverts are batterypowered and recharge internally, perhaps reading, sitting quietly or relaxing. Extroverts are solar-powered and take stimulus from the outside world by doing things like talking to others, socialising with friends, going out for meals (some of this is a lot tougher to achieve in the current climate). You need to find out what helps you recharge your energy and make time for it. It’s not the same for everyone, as we all have introvert and extrovert traits of varying degrees. Even if we lean towards one more than the other, it’s still beneficial to develop and learn new activities. In short, we can all do both, but the likelihood is your energy bar will drain more quickly and therefore need more recharging by doing tasks and activities that less suit your preference. A balance of doing and recharging will help you manage your personal energy. Using the example from The Draugiem Group, in those 52-minute bursts, you must achieve what is called ‘deep’ work. You need to set the goals in those times and do it. The energy boosts will come in the downtime. Start by creating a plan for these over the next month, focusing on what needs to be achieved without being too specific about daily goals. Once those goals are clear, protect them as you would your birthday celebrations! ◆


THERE ARE ALSO SOME SIMPLE ENERGY HACKS THAT YOU CAN USE TO GIVE YOU A BOOST. SOME OF THESE WILL DEPEND ON WHERE YOU GATHER YOUR ENERGY: Music – it can stimulate, be it the latest tunes, sounds of nature, classical or memory joggers. When you feel ‘pumped’ your energy increases along with your motivation. Music can also have a calming and restorative effect too. Sleep or nap  – 7-9 hours each night remains the goal, but this can be ‘topped up’ with a power nap during the day. Some people drink coffee and then nap so that the caffeine kicks in when they wake. Obviously, this is not advisable constantly throughout the day as caffeine can affect your sleep at night. Breathing and meditation – perfect to help us regain focus, there are apps available such as Headspace or Calm which can help. If meditation doesn’t work for you that’s ok, park it and move on. Walk – or just move, do something you enjoy physically. If you have a busy schedule just try

to alternate standing and sitting whilst working. Eat and drink well – drink water throughout the day, not a prescribed amount. Avoid the carbs that cause your energy to crash, although a small piece of dark chocolate to boost your energy can be a treat! Gratitude and kindness – in 2021 we have perfect opportunities to do these things. Be grateful for what you have and not what you miss. Leave a good review, pass on thanks to a colleague or help a neighbour - these will all give you the boost you need and recharge your soul. Do something different – anything! Ask yourself, «When was the last time I did something for the first time?» Even if you do something routine, look for something you have never noticed before.

Connect with friends and nature – perhaps obvious and easy, but the boost from sunlight and a smile from a friend can help us stay in a good mood. Play – do something for fun and remember the joy of being a child. Read – to learn or for pleasure. A friend of mine used to have two books on the go, one fiction and one non-fiction, to stimulate all parts of the brain. Declutter – personally or professionally. The joy of an empty desktop, neatly filed paperwork or a clear inbox will do you wonders. Trying some of these things will help you step back, recharge and be ready for the next challenge. That way you can once again enjoy your life and your job! ◆ To find out more visit: www.hemsleyfraser.com. OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 51


MOSE MASOE

IT'S TIME TO WALK & TALK Mose Masoe received the news last year that nobody would ever want to hear – “You’ll never walk again”. His inspirational journey has seen him defy the odds, while simultaneously working on the Mose Masoe Foundation to support future players who might suffer the same fate. In January 2020, Hull Kingston Rovers prop Mose Masoe was taken off the field in a stretcher during a pre-season friendly against Wakefield Trinity following a spinal injury, an injury that would force Masoe into premature retirement from his rugby career. Since then, Masoe has had to come to terms with the severity of his life-changing injury and adapt accordingly after it was revealed that he had damaged two vertebrae in his spine and was diagnosed tetraplegic, meaning a partial or total paralysis of all four limbs and torso. “When you look back at the injury, it doesn’t look bad at all,” said Masoe. “The way that I try and explain it to someone is; if you drop your phone 100 times it could be okay, but then you’ll drop it on a certain corner, and it will shatter. “It was just a freak accident. It’s just happened, and I’ve got to move forward and that’s how I’ve got where I’m at now.” Masoe has come a long way since suffering from his injury, with the initial diagnosis that he may not ever walk again

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being defied just eight months after the injury, when he took his first steps unaided. “At the time, it was difficult to hear that I might not ever walk again. It was one of those things that I got over quickly, as I was like, 'It’s happened, what can I do next? What’s next?' Just like anything in sports, for example, you might lose a game, but you go back and say to yourself, 'We’ve lost the game, what can we fix to get better?' I’ve taken the same kind of mentality into this. “I’ve tried everything to defy odds, I’ve tried anything and everything to get better, and it’s helped.” To provide even more of a challenge for Masoe, the pandemic delayed elements of his recovery, it allowed him the time to adjust to the new lifestyle he had been made to live. “I entered the hospital in early January and got out on April 30. I think it was just over 100 days that I was in there for,” Mose confirmed. “Then when I come home we were in lockdown, so I didn’t have physio for the whole month of May when the physios were closed. It didn’t matter too much though as I was just

getting settled into home and learning how to do things. “Covid kind of helped out in a way and that was a positive that we got out of it.” In the face of his damning diagnosis, Masoe has been able to make significant improvements compared to where he was a year ago and is prepared to work hard on himself to get even better. “If I could put on a scale from where I was before my injury, which was 100, to where I was immediately after my injury, which would be 0, I’m probably at about 30 per cent to 40 per cent,” Masoe explained. “It’s not just the physical side, it’s all the internal stuff and the things that happen inside as well. Like your bowels, your bladder, your spasms - it all takes over. I think that’s the biggest battle, being able to do all the normal things, like being able to go to the toilet by yourself.

“All those little things that I took for granted I’d love to have back and I’m training myself to be able to do all those things again.” Clubs are often prepared to deliver care for their players on a wide-ranging scale but rarely is a team required to step up to support someone who is facing an injury that will change the course of their life. Thankfully for Mose, Hull Kingston Rovers have been there for him throughout the process. “They’ve been awesome since day one, everyone at the club from the very top, all the way to the bottom,” said Masoe. “They’ve given me time to be able to get better, which is awesome because they didn’t have to. With some contracts, if a player gets


injured, there is a six-month period where you’re able to offload a player. “Firstly, the owner came in and said to me you don’t have to worry about your contract: 'Your contract for this year and next year is sorted, you just have to focus on getting better'. That was probably the biggest thing that’s helped with my family and me, as I just have to focus on going to

retirement, the Foundation was launched to help raise funds to help relieve the financial and mental hardship of players who suffer spinal injuries affecting their welfare and quality of life. “We wanted to set up the Foundation to help other players in the future - touch wood those big injuries don’t happen to players, but if it does, at least something is

“We wanted to set up the Foundation to help other players in the future - touch wood those big injuries don’t happen to players, but if it does, at least something is there for them now.” my physio, which I do three times a week. It’s nice just to be able to focus on my rehab and getting better, which has been awesome.” From what has been one of the most difficult periods in Masoe’s life, has birthed at least some positivity after the formation of the Mose Masoe Foundation, set up in honour of the former rugby star. After realising the financial difficulties that can occur if a player is forced into early

there for them now,” said Masoe. “The Foundation was suggested by Neil Hudgell, Chairman of Hull Kingston Rovers, who also has a background in insurance and he knows that it would never be enough to look after a player in the long-term.” The Mose Masoe Foundation now works to provide relief of financial hardship amongst current and former rugby players by making grants of

money; provide relief of mental hardship amongst current and former rugby players; support ex-players who have and/or are suffering from spinal injuries; and raising awareness of spinal injuries arising through playing rugby. “All the work that the Foundation does is really important, especially the mental side of it. “I think it’s shown over the past couple of months what players deal with, like online abuse. I feel like a lot of players will need it as things have changed, the game has changed because of social media, and I feel like there needs to be some kind of help. “There are a lot of other charities out there to help, but just for Rugby League players, there isn’t much to help with the pressures of the game. “A lot of people have struggled with their mental health because of Covid as well, with the pressure of guys not getting contracts and so on. It all builds up and it’s nice to have something there for players to speak to, to help them out.” In honour of Masoe, the Combined Nations All-Stars will wear a representative jersey in their clash against

England on June 25, of which £10 from every one sold is set to be donated to the Mose Masoe Foundation. On being honoured with the jersey, Mose exclaimed: “I was just stoked! It’s a massive honour for me. I remember when I came over to St Helen’s in 2013 and they’d just finished the All-Stars and a lot of players were speaking about how good it was to play against England and were so excited. “It’s just nice to be recognised for coming over and being recognised as an overseas player who can bring something to the game. “The jersey has been made to reflect the clubs where I have been, even my amateur club. It’s a massive honour for myself and the family.” An inspiration to many, Masoe’s journey is far from over for himself as he welcomes a new attitude to life, despite the circumstances he finds himself in and has vowed to continue defying the odds. “I think for myself I’ve now got a more positive outlook on life and things that I am grateful for. I want to work hard to try and improve my situation further, which I know will be hard but I’m ready for it.”◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 53


KIYAN PRINCE

THE LEGACY OF KIYAN PRINCE CEMENTED FOR QUEENS PARK RANGERS IN FIFA 21 15 years on since his tragic death, former QPR academy prospect Kiyan Prince has been commemorated in EA SPORTS’ FIFA 21 game and handed the number 30 shirt for the 2020/21 season. Lee Hoos, Chief Executive Officer at QPR, shares how the club has supported the Kiyan Prince Foundation since the untimely death of the youngster. Kiyan Prince was once one of the most exciting players coming through the Academy at Queens Park Rangers FC. Admired by many, it seemed that the teenager was destined for a long and successful career wearing the jersey of a club he had supported since just a young age. However, 15 years ago, a tragic incident occurred that cost Kiyan his life and rocked the English footballing community. “I think what tells you everything about the type of person he was, is that he tried to break up a fight, owing to his abilities as a leader and a peacemaker,” said QPR CEO Lee Hoos. “For that, he was stabbed by one of the participants in the fight.” “I can’t imagine what his father, Mark, must have gone through to receive a call like that out of nowhere, where he was being told that his son had lost his life,” Lee added. “I can’t imagine anything more horrendous as a parent than having to go through that. “But he’s been able to

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create something incredible from it, and that’s the Kiyan Prince Foundation, dedicated to preventing knife crime and youth violence. “Mark’s vision was simple, that Kiyan was going to make a difference in people’s lives, even if he’s not with us anymore.” Two years ago, QPR embarked on an ambitious mission to work out how they can generate revenue from each of their assets. One of those was of course the iconic Loftus Road Stadium. “We decided that it would be a great idea to give over the

naming rights of a stadium to a charity,” Lee explained. “We had a conversation with the fans about which ones they felt would be appropriate, we shortlisted them again and put it out to a vote. By far and away, the winner of that vote was the Kiyan Prince Foundation. “That was the start of our relationship and from that platform, Mark has been able to grow the name and purpose of the Foundation to where it is today.” The Kiyan Prince Foundation has since gone on to offer its services, which include

motivational speaking, motivational training, educational workshops, to thousands of young people. For his work with the Foundation, Mark was recognised for his services in tackling knife and gang crime with an OBE in 2019. “What we wanted to do with Mark is help to promote his important and inspirational message,” said Hoos. “Our thinking was “if this saves one life, then it was worth doing” and I think that the way Mark is going about it now, he can make a difference in many people’s lives. This is just football doings its part.” This year, on the 15th anniversary of his death, Kiyan would have been 30 years old and so the Foundation and QPR felt that it was important to commemorate his life in a special way, in what would have been a big year in his life. Partnering with EA SPORTS, Kiyan was added to FIFA 21 as part of the QPR team roster. As part of the game’s ‘Career Mode’, players will be allowed to adopt Kiyan and make him their avatar as they make their way through the game and live the career that he was supposed to. In ‘Ultimate


Team’, players will be able to redeem prizes, such as the QPR shirt, which has been tagged with the Foundation’s logo and a link through to their services. Games developers worked closely with Kiyan’s family, friends, former teammates and coaches to integrate him properly into the game, by ageing his appearance, developing his characteristics on the pitch and his style of play. The campaign was created on a pro-bono basis by ENGINE, with all the proceeds raised going directly to the Kiyan Prince Foundation. “When we heard about it, we thought that it was a fantastic idea, and we were fully supportive of it and the initiative, and we offered our support in any way we could,” Lee affirmed. Speaking to QPR, Mark Prince said: “I want my son to be remembered not for the tragedy of his death but for the triumph of his achievements. Through this campaign, my hope is that the world finally gets to glimpse Kiyan’s incredible potential fulfilled. “We get to honour his talent. And, hopefully, we can inspire other kids to honour their own

talent, too - whatever their own strengths might be.” In addition to having Kiyan added to one of the biggest video games in the world, QPR decided to do something of their own. “It has also led to us giving the number 30 shirt to Kiyan for the whole of the 2020/21 season, as he would have been 30-years-old,” said Hoos. “Our player Charlie Owens gave up that number for him and he quite understood the significance of giving it up for something as meaningful as this.” Topps is also adding a Kiyan card into their Match Attax game, with a special edition collectable card made available to fans. QPR have become one of the beacons of goodwill, not just having supported the Kiyan Prince Foundation, but through their 2017 Game 4 Grenfell, to help raise money for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. Lee believes that football has the capability to drive positive change and make a

difference to society and in every walk of life. “Even after all the European Super League talks that went on earlier this year, football clubs are at the heart of their communities,” Hoos asserted. “Even the big six clubs in the Premier League, despite being internationally recognised. Football provides a really powerful medium to reach people. It’s a great equaliser and a great way to communicate with people that perhaps wouldn’t be receptive to a message. “As an American, I can see how different it is between

what sport can do here in England compared to back home. It’s a delivery mechanism for creating effective social change programmes, which I find tremendous, and I really admire football for what it does and how it takes things forward in that way. “Football fans in England are probably so used to it that they don’t realise how lucky we are to have football as a mechanism that’s doing so much to raise positive awareness of some of the biggest issues we face today.” ◆ OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 55


SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS

Lord’s Cricket Ground sees 70% improvement in dispatch times using 24/7 software Lord’s Cricket Ground recognised the need to change to a web-based software solution because their current processes did not meet their new requirements, they wanted all stakeholders to use one software solution, and customer expectations changed. Before using 24/7 Software, Lord’s Cricket Ground, home to Middlesex Cricket, was utilising outdated tools to communicate and respond to incidents, leading to delays and poor response times to customer needs.

The venue was looking for a more professional approach to the operational issues The Home of Cricket faced that required urgent response on match day and felt that existing communication methods between key stakeholders were outdated and led to delays in incidents being dealt with in an appropriate response time. These requirements led to the venue implementing 24/7 Software’s Incident Management System. After deployment of 24/7 Software’s platform, Lord’s had a web-based software solution for all their stakeholders to use, a tool to learn about their operation’s performance and identify areas for improvement & optimization, and access to first-class customer service. 24/7 Software makes Lord’s feel wanted as a customer and affords its operation the ability to identify weak links, respond to issues and incidents instantly, and reduce callouts due to improved processes. “The web-based software solution that 24/7 Software could provide for Lord’s, we believed would enable us to open the system up to access by multiple internal stakeholders to help us learn about our 56 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

entire operation and how to improve performance regularly,” started Jeff Cards, Ground Superintendent for Lord’s Cricket Ground, owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). “Initially incidents were dealt with by pen and paper but in time Excel spreadsheets were used. This approach led to delays in providing necessary relevant information to internal stakeholders with expediency.” A Change in Customer Expectations The previous solutions used by Lord’s were manually led and relied heavily on staff being available on the other end of phone lines. “Expectations of spectators attending cricket matches changed, and we had to do something to enhance the customer experience,” said Cards. “The primary issues were related to cleaning, but we also felt that we needed to provide our visitors with a channel for informing us directly of concerns and issues they faced. “Expectations of spectators attending cricket matches changed, and we had to do something to enhance the customer experience.” A SaaS Solution for Learning and Improved Performance Lord’s recognised that going to a SaaS (Software as a Service) product would help them avoid the outdated methods of

licensed, downloadable software, which would be a significant burden in terms of cost, and replace it with secure, real-time, on-demand software at their fingertips. “We were looking for web-based SaaS solution rather than a licensed product that we would have to manage,” explains Cards. “The web-based software solution that 24/7 Software could provide for Lord’s, we believed would enable us to open the system up to access by multiple internal stakeholders to help us learnt about our entire operation and how to improve performance regularly. “We were also keen to improve systems in time for the opening of a brand-new state of the art control facility.” Lord’s wanted a system that was easyto-use for everyone and was bespoke to suit their specific requirements. The stakeholders that Lord’s wanted to assist were: • Estates/ Maintenance • Ticketing • Security • Customer Service • Medical This facility – with a pitch facing view – is the hub of the safety and security operation at Lord’s, enabling users to monitor and manage several life-safety systems such as CCTV, fire alarms, public address, and radio communications.


50%

Reduction in critical incident callouts due to improved processes from using 24/7 Software “Outside of MCC staff, the Club works in close liaison with the local licensing authority and blue-light services from within the Control Room,” shared Cards. Not Available in the UK It was clear from an early stage that the type of product Lord’s was looking for was perhaps not available in the UK at the time when they were considering options. “We looked at what other venues in the UK were doing in this area of operations and incident management,” said Cards. “The only system that we felt could appeal to all of our needs was the one available through 24/7 Software, a USbased software company. “We felt wanted by 24/7 Software and we were impressed by their enthusiasm for their suite of products as well as with their desire to help meet our specific and unique requirements.” Cards explained how these unique requirements related to the need for a product that could fit an operation that often operates over 15 hours a day across an inclusive five-day period. “The timing could haven’t been more perfect as we were looking for significant enhancements to our matchday Control Room operation as 24/7 Software was introducing itself to the European market. “I like the can-do attitude of 24/7 Software. They have always looked at ways of how the system can be improved and continue to deliver a first-class

customer service experience,” Cards emphasised. “They have always looked at ways of how the system can be improved and continue to deliver a first-class customer service experience.”

70%

“Our use of the software has enabled us to reduce specific callouts due to improved processes ahead Improvement in of events by up to 50 per dispatch times using cent.” 24/7 Software Incident Use of the 24/7 Software Management System Incident Management System has undoubtedly led to significant improvements across all Significant, Definable of the safety and facility Results management elements of When asked to share Increase in maintenancethe Lord’s operation. the benefits and The primary related incidents being results from working enhancement and responded to and with 24/7 Software results have been in the completed using 24/7 and implementing area of cleaning and its software solution, Software maintenance, but Lord’s Cards explains that continues to identify Lord’s has seen improvements to longer-standing issues, a significant improvement in callout which they recognise have long-term cost responses to jobs and incidents. benefits for MCC. 24/7 Software’s Incident Management “An example of this would be the onSystem has enabled Lord’s to identify going management of fire-safety issues weak links within its operation and help that led to a change to the infrastructure identify ways of improving the service of our networked fire alarm. In turn, it has they offer patrons. “Our Estates team now provides prompt reduced callouts and maintenance costs for us. response to incidents reported form our “24/7 Software is not only a software Control Room. Our dispatch time have provider but a company that cares about improved by over 70 per cent,” Cards the success of their customers. We revealed. continue to feel wanted by 24/7 Software “We’ve seen a remarkable 40 per cent and are confiedent that won’t change,” increase in maintenance-related incident response times and completions. concludes Cards. ◆

40%

OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 57


RECRUITMENT

WINNING THE TALENT WAR IN 2021 Knock your recruitment out of the park

WORDS: CLAIRE DEVAUX, HEAD OF SECTOR MARKETING AT IRIS SOFTWARE GROUP

As we approach what feels like full time in this long pandemic, the changed economic landscape poses one major question – how can you meet the demands of the new world? One word: people.

Employees must be the cornerstone of your game plan, especially as you may now have skill/ knowledge gaps that require you to scout new talent. But as so many others are also hiring to fill a gap, one of the fiercest battles that employers face – the talent war – rages on, creating difficulties when trying to attract the right people. For those unfamiliar with the phrase ‘talent war’, it’s a costly battle that takes place when searching for the best and brightest staff, created by a shortage of suitable candidates. Using the knowledge, we’ve acquired from helping numerous sports clubs with recruitment, we’ve created this comprehensive blog, highlighting key factors you should consider to win the talent war. Increased demands for flexible working Many people who were forced to work remotely because of the pandemic have experienced the benefits of ditching the daily commute. The result is that far fewer candidates will be willing to take on a job that is restricted to being fulltime in the office. 58 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

If you want to get the ball rolling in the talent war and secure the best employees to fuel your success, you need to offer a hybrid working model that’s flexible to the needs of your employees. This may require a range of adjustments, from introducing new policies to implementing digital systems and processes that can support remote working. Blurred regional salaries We predict that following on from the increase in remote working – employers will be able to blur the line slightly regarding regional salaries on some jobs. The change in how people work means that those who don’t live nearby, potentially in areas with a lower cost of living, will be able to apply and work, providing that they can operate from home. So, for roles based in areas such as London that would typically demand a higher salary, employers may be able to offer less by instead providing flexible/remote working. However, careful consideration will be needed when deciding wages, as lowering salaries could alienate a potential ‘man of the match’ who lives in those expensive areas. If you do opt for reduced salaries in return for remote working, you must be able to centralise your data in a digital HR system. Using outdated processes for a dispersed workforce is incredibly time-consuming and prone to error.

Added focus required to retain talent Many employees may have become disillusioned or fearful about the future of the business and whether it can make a comeback after the pandemic, meaning you need added focus on retaining existing employees. Typically, providing yearly pay increases would help retain talent, but for many employers, this isn’t currently an option – so to compensate, instead offer career progression and examine how roles can expand. By considering the bigger picture and focusing on learning and development, you’ll undoubtedly improve the next generation of employees, ensuring an overall more impactful workforce. How can IRIS help? The pandemic has clearly shaken up recruitment and created a wide array of new considerations, but you can still boot your recruitment in the back of the net and make 2021 your most successful year yet. We are the experts in people management, so whether you’re looking to optimise your remote working and data management, or you simply want the best tools to win the talent war – we can support.◆ Visit iris.co.uk/solutions/area/hrsoftware to see how our industryleading HR software can support you.


“The pandemic has clearly shaken up recruitment and created a wide array of new considerations, but you can still boot your recruitment in the back of the net and make 2021 your most successful year yet.” OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 59


FINANCE

OFF-PAYROLL WORKING ARRANGEMENTS: WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THIS NOW From 6 April 2021, HMRC has implemented its long-awaited reforms to the changes to the IR35 legislation. The legislation was originally due to start from 6 April 2020 but was sensibly delayed due to the implementation date being at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. WORDS: TOM WILSON, PARTNER AT HAYSMACINTYRE

This area has been under focus for some time by HMRC due to the so called ‘gig economy’ and their thoughts on an increasing tax gap because of it. Sport tends to have its fair share of off-payroll working arrangements, and you will have seen high profile cases with premier league match officials and Uber, in particular; these cases have driven these reforms and the legislation is now in place.

Therefore, now is the time to review whether you are affected. This could have some commercial consequences, particularly if you have arrangements with key individuals ‘off-payroll’ that now need to change. A summary of the proposed changes, together with the key points you will need to think about following 6 April 2021, include: • Medium and large sized businesses will be responsible for implementing the legislation. Consequently, smaller businesses will not be affected by the changes. • The responsibility for operating the legislation will fall to the engager, or client, who will be required to determine the employment status of the worker. The legislation brings into 60 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

scope intermediaries, such as personal services companies, and those who are engaging with an organisation through a company may be caught under the new rules. There is also a requirement to share the outcome of the determination of status with the worker and any entity within the worker supply-chain who may be responsible for paying the worker.

off-shore entity, the obligation to apply the legislation will sit with the UK agency closest to the off-shore entity. • Where payments to a worker fall within the scope of the proposed legislation, the PAYE and National Insurance due will be paid across to HMRC through the payroll, in accordance with ‘real time’ reporting. The amount upon which PAYE and National Insurance will be calculated will be based upon the net value of the invoice, being the amount before any VAT is charged. The worker will remain responsible for its VAT obligations. The engager will also be liable for Secondary Class 1 National Insurance, together with the Apprenticeship Levy on the invoice values included in the payroll if applicable. It is not proposed that any employment rights will be transferred to the engager. • One fundamental change for the worker is that they will no longer be able to claim a 5% ‘overheads’ deduction as part of calculating their final tax and National Insurance liabilities.

“This could have some commercial consequences, particularly if you have arrangements with key individuals ‘offpayroll’ that now need to change. • HMRC have recommended that its Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool is used to help determine the status of the worker. However, the CEST tool has not always been accurate and often gives ‘inconclusive’ as a result, meaning a more manual approach is needed. • Where there is a lengthy supply chain between the engager and the worker, it will be the responsibility of the entity closest to the worker to apply the legislation and deduct PAYE and National Insurance. Furthermore, where the supply chain includes any


Determining a business’ size The definition within the Companies Act will be applied to determine who is a medium and large business for IR35 purposes, and will apply where two or more of the following conditions are met: Condition

Test

Annual turnover

£10.2m or more

Balance sheet total

£5.1m or more

Number of employees

50 or more

The government recognises that the Companies Act definition may not apply to non-corporate entities, and so the turnover and number of employees of the organisation will be set at similar levels. Action points You should act and review this now. It is advised you seek professional advice before making any large-scale changes. The following questions could help review the risk and help respond if necessary: • Do you engage any workers who are not paid through the payroll? • Are you a medium or large business?

• Are you an agency supplying workers who are medium or large businesses? • What processes do you have in place to be able to determine the employment status of a worker? • Do you know who in your business has details of the workers you engage? • Are you able to manage the expectations of the legislation? ◆ If you have any questions about the new IR35 legislation and how it applies to your organisation, please contact Tom Wilson, Partner, at twilson@ haysmacintyre.com. OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 61


PSN Directory ACCOUNTANCY & TAX (BUSINESSES)

haysmacintyre 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1AG, UK www.haysmacintyre.com Contact: Tom Wilson, Partner E: twilson@haysmacintyre.com T: +44 (0)20 7969 5697 ACCOUNTANCY & TAX (INDIVIDUALS)

MHA Carpenter Box Amelia House, Crescent Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1RL, UK www.carpenterbox.com Contact: Sam Uwins, Senior Partner E: sam.uwins@carpenterbox.com T: +44 (0)19 0323 4094 APP DEVELOPMENT

DIGIRUU 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE, UK www.digiruu.com Contact: Aman Birdi, Founder E: aman@digiruu.com T: +44 (0)79 5539 6217 ATHLETE ENGAGEMENT

Teamworks 122 E Parrish Street, Durham, NC 27701, USA www.teamworks.com Contact: Paul Dudley, VP and GM for Enterprise & International Sales E: pdudley@teamworks.com T: +1 (215) 260 5230 BUSINESS SOLUTIONS

Eureka Solutions West Point House, 5 Redwood Place, East Kilbride, Glasgow, G74 5PB, UK www.eurekasolutions.co.uk Contact: Richard Christie, Business Systems Specialist E: richard.christie@eurekasolutions.co.uk T: +44 (0)13 5558 1960 DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Global Sports Initiatives Tampa, Florida, USA Contact: Kevin Meredith, Chief Executive Officer E: kevin@globalsportsinitiatives.com T: +1 (305) 209 2362 EXECUTIVE EDUCATION

UCFB Education Ltd. Wembley Stadium, Wembley, HA9 0WS, UK www.ucfb.com E: info@ucfb.com T: +44 (0)33 3060 1456 EXPENSE MANAGEMENT

Rydoo Hendrik Consciencestraat 40-42, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium www.rydoo.com Contact: Jan Dejosse, Vice President of Marketing E: jan.dejosse@rydoo.com T: +32 (0)15 29 19 29 62 | OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021

FITNESS HYDRATION

WOW HYDRATE 5 Prospect Business Park, Langston Road, Loughton, IG10 3TR, UK www.wowhyrdate.com Contact: Jon Hayman, Managing Director E: jon@wowhydrate.com T: +44 (0)20 8508 9510 FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Argentex 25 Argyll Street, Soho, London, W1F 7TU, UK www.argentex.com Contact: Jon Goss, Head of Sport E: jon.goss@argentex.com T: +44 (0)20 3772 0318 GAMBLING & ESPORTS MARKETING

Because We Can Media www.becausewecanmedia.com Contact: John Donovan, Founder & CEO E: john@becausewecanmedia.com T: +44 (0)77 8741 4423 GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES

Sterling Lexicon Hallmark House, Rowdell Road, Northolt, UB5 6AG, UK www.sterlinglexicon.com Contact: Ruth Lyons, Business Development Manager E: ruth.lyons@sterlinglexicon.com T: +44 (0)77 6931 2434 HR SOLUTIONS

IRIS SOFTWARE GROUP Heathrow Approach, 470 London Road, Slough, SL3 8QY, UK www.iris.co.uk E: sales@iris.co.uk T: +44 (0)34 4225 1525 MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY

Beder www.beder.org.uk Contact: Razzak Mirjan, Founder E: razzak@beder.org.uk T: +44(0)79 2919 1993

OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

24/7 Software Group 6909 SW 18th Street, Suite 301, Boca Raton, FL 33433 www.247software.com Contact: Gerald Hwasta, Chairman & CEO E: ghwasta@247software.com T: +1 (561) 421 1500 PR & COMMUNICATIONS

Ashton Media Group www.amg-global.co.uk Contact: Neil Ashton, Founder E: neil.ashton@amg-global.co.uk T: +44(0)77 1061 8980 PRECISION MEDICAL DEVICES

Electro Medical Systems (E.M.S) Chemin de la Vuarpillière 31, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland www.ems-dolorcast.com Contact: Christian Seeberger, Sales Manager Europe GDT/ Pain Therapy E: cseeberger@ems-ch.de T: +49 894 271 1610 PRIVATE AIRCRAFT CHARTER

ACC Aviation 18 Priory Drive, Castlefield Road, Reigate, RH2 0AP, UK www.accaviation.com Contact: Mitch Broadstock, Senior Business Development Manager E: mitch.broadstock@accaviation.com T: +44 (0)17 3723 2230 REAL ESTATE

Knight Frank 55 Baker Street, London, W1U 8AN, UK www.knightfrank.com Contact: Alex McLean, Head of Sports Desk E: alexander.mclean@knightfrank.com T: +44 (0)20 4502 3143 Contact: Kate Doyle, Graduate and Early Careers Manager E: kate.doyle@knightfrank.com T: +44 (0)20 3811 1762

We’re always looking for innovative partners who align with our values in the global sports industry. To get in touch, please email enquiries@premiersportsnetwork.com or call +44 (0)20 3983 8562


Job Vacancies SCOUTING & TRAINING

Ellevate Football 75 Park Lane, Basement Office, Fountain House, W1K 7HG, UK www.ellevate-football.co.uk Contact: Akshay Lugani, Chief Executive Officer E: akshay@e11evate.co.uk T: +44 (0)77 4107 0002 SECURITY & RISK MITIGATION

TorchStone Global 295 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10017 www.torchstoneglobal.com Contact: Christopher Sanchez, VP E: csanchez@torchstoneglobal.com T: +1 (540) 424 8755 TRAINING PROVIDER

Hemsley Fraser St James Court, 74-94 Fore Street, Saltash, Plymouth, PL12 6JW, UK www.hemsleyfraser.com Contact: Jake Phillips, Client Relationships Manager E: jake.phillips@hemsleyfraser.co.uk T: +44 (0)34 5071 2801 TRAVEL MANAGEMENT

Corporate Travel Management Senator House, 85 Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 4AB, UK www.travelctm.com Contact: Shelley Matthews, VP Sales & Partnerships EMEA E: shelley.matthews@travelctm.com T: +44 (0)779 176 8019 WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT

When I Work 420 North 5th Street, Suite 500 Minneapolis, MN 55401, USA www.wheniwork.com Contact: Isaac Philibert, Partner Success Manager E: Isaac.philibert@wheniwork.com T: +1 (612) 504 4689 WEALTH MANAGEMENT

FLM Wealth Management Basildon House, 7-11 Moorgate, London, EC2R 6AF, UK www.flmltd.com Contact: Ben Smith, Senior Advisor & Chartered Financial Planner E: ben.smith@sjpp.co.uk T: +44 (0)20 7710 3422

To discover more sports job vacancies visit www.premiersportsnetwork.com/jobs If you have a vacancy you would like to promote, please contact enquires@premiersportsnetwork.com Head of Global Marketing - UCFB Location: London or Manchester, UK Salary: £50,000 - £60,000 per annum Closing date: 2 July 2021 Head of Player Development - Sunderland AFC Location: Sunderland, UK Salary: Competitive Closing date: 2 July 2021 Director of Participation - Archery GB Location: Shropshire, UK Salary: Competitive Closing date: 2 July 2021 Senior Academy Pathway Physiotherapist - Bath Rugby Location: Bath, UK Salary: Competitive Closing date: 2 July 2021 Education and Skills Tutor - Aston Villa FC Location: Birmingham, UK Salary: Competitive Closing date: 4 July 2021 Head of Disability - Sport England Location: Loughborough or Bisham, UK Salary: Competitive Closing date: 4 July 2021 Senior Education Manager - Huddersfield Town AFC Location: Huddersfield, UK Salary: £25,000 - £28,000 per annum Closing date: 5 July 2021 Digital Marketing Manager - Detroit Tigers Location: Detroit, MI, USA Salary: Competitive Closing date: Ongoing Esports Lead - Formula 1 Location: London, UK Salary: Competitive Closing date: Ongoing Partnership Sales Manager - Phoenix Suns Location: Phoeniz, AZ, USA Salary: Competitive Closing date: Ongoing Director, Business Intelligence - Los Angeles Kings Location: El Segundo, CA, USA Salary: Competitive Closing date: Ongoing OTFF ISSUE 16 ★ JULY 2021 | 63


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On The Front Foot - Issue 16  

Inside this issue: - Eddie Hearn and Frank Smith lay out what the future looks like for Matchroom Boxing - St George's Park takes centre sta...

On The Front Foot - Issue 16  

Inside this issue: - Eddie Hearn and Frank Smith lay out what the future looks like for Matchroom Boxing - St George's Park takes centre sta...

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