Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Methods of appointment and qualifications of club doctors and physiotherapists in English professional football: some problems and issues


Objective—To examine the methods of appointment, experience, and qualifications of club doctors and physiotherapists in professional football.

Methods—Semistructured tape recorded interviews with 12 club doctors, 10 club physiotherapists, and 27 current and former players. A questionnaire was also sent to 90 club doctors; 58 were returned.

Results—In almost all clubs, methods of appointment of doctors are informal and reflect poor employment practice: posts are rarely advertised and many doctors are appointed on the basis of personal contacts and without interview. Few club doctors had prior experience or qualifications in sports medicine and very few have a written job description. The club doctor is often not consulted about the appointment of the physiotherapist; physiotherapists are usually appointed informally, often without interview, and often by the manager without involving anyone who is qualified in medicine or physiotherapy. Half of all clubs do not have a qualified (chartered) physiotherapist; such unqualified physiotherapists are in a weak position to resist threats to their clinical autonomy, particularly those arising from managers' attempts to influence clinical decisions.

Conclusions—Almost all aspects of the appointment of club doctors and physiotherapists need careful re-examination.

  • football clubs
  • doctors
  • physiotherapists
  • qualifications

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Original article
    Michael Cullen