The University of Edinburgh is pioneering a new online course based on the history, future and national organisation of football.
The course also features the financial benefits of football and how it can be used for social development.
Contributors to the six-week course include former Scotland defender and Match of the Day pundit, Alan Hansen, and honorary University of Edinburgh graduate, Mel Young, founder of the Homeless World Cup, which took place in Santiago, Chile this year.
The free course, called Football – More than a Game, went live last Monday (October 20) and not only discusses the organisation of the world’s leading clubs, but also focuses on the game’s legacy of establishing communities, raising educational achievement and supporting the disadvantaged in society.
The course leader, Professor Grant Jarvie of the University of Edinburgh, told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s part of our Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) programme which has proved exceedingly successful.
“The idea was to put football and education together for all abilities and international backgrounds and we’re using the course to excite people a little bit about these subjects – there’s quite a bit about football finances which is very intriguing – and we have videos and quizzes and will have online debates and discussions.
“It’s not a degree course but it takes in a great range of material that will interest the serious fan of any background.
“Apart from talking about his own background in the game and the Everton v Liverpool rivalry, Alan Hansen gives us his view on the events in Brazil, where he was a summariser.”
No prerequisite qualifications are needed to enrol on the course and, according to the University, 7,500 participants have already signed up. Students receive a certificate of participation upon completion.
Football has long been associated with Scotland. It was former University of Edinburgh law student, John Hope who, aged just seventeen, founded the first documented football club in 1824.
Subsequently, Scots introduced football to Brazil in the late nineteenth century.
In 2012, the University of Edinburgh conferred an honorary degree on Brazilian footballer and FIFA’s joint player of the century, Pelé, for his charitable and environmental work as well as his sporting achievements.
The University of Edinburgh’s first football team currently plays in the Scottish Lowland Football League and were crowned winners of the King Cup without conceding a goal throughout the competition at the end of last season.