By Marcus Leach

Burnley Football Club is to become the home of a revolutionary university as the University & College of Football Business (UCFB) prepares to open its doors for the first time this September.

Football has long been big business, but now for the first time students will be able to study the business of football at Turf Moor's new £2 million academic venture.

Brendan Flood, who sits on the board of directors at Burnley FC, is one of the chief investors in the new project, and he has put together a high profile board of advisors.

The non-executive board includes Brian Barwick, former chief executive of the Football Association, Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, and Burnley fan and former Downing Street press advisor Alistair Campbell.

Philip Wilson, chief executive of UCFB, said the new venture will create over 150 jobs, and will cater for 200 students in its first year, with that figure rising to a maximum of 1000 over the coming years.

"Football involves more than just the game, off the pitch there is the media and marketing, supply chain management, logistics, business and finance and we want the UCFB graduates to leave with transferable skills that they could just as easily take to Mars or Deutsche Bank as a football club," Wilson said.

The centre will offer three-year courses, accredited to a leading university:

BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance (three years)
BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing (three years)
BA (Hons) Football Business & Media (three years)

Already over 100 applications have been received on the UCFB website, and the courses will be offered via UCAS, the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service, by the end of March.

"We want this to be something that Burnley as a town and a club are proud of and will have an impact on the local economy that spills out beyond UCFB," Wilson added.

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