The Johann Cruyff Institute is developing the next generation of leaders in the sports industry. Mariel Koerhuis, the Institute’s International Director, explains its approach and philosophy as laid down by the legendary Dutch player, coach and administrator. The blog was written just before Cruyff’s death last month.
The Johann Cruyff Institute was founded in 1999 with two main aims - to ensure the future of athletes by giving them the opportunity to have a proactive life and training for reemployment once their careers are over and, second, to professionalise management in the world of sport.
Since that first class of 35 students in Amsterdam, more centres have opened in the Netherlands and it has developed internationally with a presence in Barcelona, Mexico, Peru and Sweden. Today, its entire portfolio is offered online, making it possible for students to study from anywhere in the world.
Mariel Koerhuis says that Cruyff’s footprint is very present in its training – “applied, dynamic, ahead of his time, a little rebellious, nonconformist, someone who sees things from different perspectives that are not always the most obvious. These traits are incorporated into the way we teach.”
And she says that the Institute lives by the same values as its founder – “taking nothing for granted, being entrepreneurial, ahead of his time, a total advocate of teamwork for the good of the group, a defender of being extremely self-demanding and exceeding oneself in order to achieve goals, authenticity…”
Koerhuis adds: “We also understand that with our work we contribute to greater professionalism in the world of sport, we help the athletes to achieve a productive work reintegration for themselves.
“There are studies that really show that the sport industry represents a considerable percentage of GDP. The business of sport is important and the innovations that are being implemented in other sectors are also being implemented in ours.
“Management really applies in all sectors. If I think about my experience in consulting, banking, the metal industry…in all sectors there exists management and the classic functional areas, finance, human resources, production, logistics, marketing, communication…everything is interconnected. And this model of team management you also find in the world of sport, with one addition: the people who work in sport have a greater perception of teamwork, they have good experience because the work is directly related to emotion, passion for something that goes beyond pure management in itself, which you rarely find in other sectors. There is nothing better than to work in something you love because you have everything.
“But one very important part is to recognise the value of the sport industry for the economy of a country and the management of this business should be completely professionalised. And professionalism is achieved with experience, but also, and above all, with good training.”
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