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“My law masters allowed me to work on players contracts in the football transfer window.”

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“My law masters allowed me to work on players contracts in the football transfer window.”

Graduate with football stadium in the background

LLM International Sports Law in Practice graduate, Eleanor Dobson, is Club Secretary and Legal Counsel at Barnsley Football Club. She studied on the LLB Law course before deciding she wanted to specialise in sports law after studying an elected module on the undergraduate course. 

“My masters helped prepare me for the demands of the industry I am in today. The delivery of the course facilitated an environment for inquisitiveness and discussion. We were given the opportunity to critically analyse sporting rules and regulations. We were not just learning and studying for an exam, we were learning to better our professional practice.

“I was presented with the chance to complete a placement at ProSport International, a leading sports management company in South Africa, where I was able to put theory into practice. I reviewed players’ service agreements, assisted in the development of Rugby League training camp and calculated commissions owed to the agency.

At Barnsley Football Club, Eleanor is the central point of contact for all administration, information and communication. Including preparing and completing player contracts, transfers and compensation agreements in accordance with all regulatory requirements set by the various football governing bodies.

“Every day is different, which is one thing I love – it never gets boring! One minute I could be completing domestic or international player registrations, transfers and loans and the next I could be communicating aspects of football rules, regulations and requirements to the Board and staff.

“Summer 2022 marks my first time working within a football transfer window. It is a fast-paced environment which involves much discussion and a variety of moving parts, but it is also such an integral part of the footballing calendar.

Eleanor frequently applies the subject knowledge she gained from her masters degree, in activities such as sport marketing and anti-doping legislation, to ensure the club is complying with regulatory requirements.

“Having this understanding allows me to apply my knowledge practically and maintain the integrity of the football club itself.

“On my course, all my lecturers were very supportive, approachable and easily contactable. In particular, my academic advisor who remains a key mentor for me, pushing me to achieve my best at all times.

Eleanor’s career ambitions are to become a Sporting Director and then in the longer term, a Chief Executive Officer of a football club.

“You have to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone! Contact the organisations, teams, individuals that you are interested in working for and ask if they have any availability. Work hard and build strong working relationships.

“The biggest lesson I have learnt is the more work you put in, the more opportunities seem to present themselves.”

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