Research: significant difference trainer remuneration in amateur football

Publication by Nick Veenbrink

Every day ten thousands of trainers step on the pitch to train Dutch football players. Oftentimes, these trainers are volunteers and highly-involved parents. On the other side, however, there is a large group of paid (selection)trainers. Research shows that there is a big difference in the height of remuneration for these amateur football coaches. In relation to this: senior-team coaches earn way more than junior-team coaches, men’s team coaches earn five times as much as women’s team coaches, the possession of football technical licenses is rewarded with a higher salary and finally, the height of remuneration differs greatly based on region. These and other conclusions are deducted from research as executed by NMC Bright which looks at trainer remuneration in amateur football.

Targetgroup: amateur clubs from 8 different leagues
“A lot of clubs ask us whether we know how other football clubs deal with remunerations for trainers. Apparently, how to deal with rewards and appreciation is an interesting topic”, as noted by Director of NMC Bright, Wouter Kuperus. “This benchmark report that looks into trainer remuneration provides amateur football clubs with material for comparison on a national level.” The questionnaire was filled out by 353 amateur clubs from 8 different leagues. The questionnaire looked into the amount of net-compensation of selection trainers who coach senior teams (men and women) and youth teams (men). Amateur clubs roughly use the following guidelines in allocating compensation.

Senior-team coaches earn more than youth-team coaches
First and foremost, the age category a coach is responsible for decides the amount of salary he/she gets. This means that a youth-team selection trainer earns an average of €1.208,- compared to an average of €8.582,- for head coaches (first teams).

U19 coaches earn more than U11 coaches
Furthermore, there is a clear pathway for amount of remuneration in relation to age category. An U9 coach earns an average of €312,- while an U19 coach earns an average of €2.480,-.

The higher the level of competition, the higher the remuneration
Thirdly, the level of competition is decisive in determining the height of remuneration. The higher the level of the team that is being coached, the higher the trainer’s salary. For example, U13 – U19 trainers who coach a relatively high-level team earn way more than trainers who coach a relatively low-level team.

Men’s team coaches earn more than women’s team coaches
If you are a trainer and you want to make money it is better to coach a men’s first team than it is to coach a women’s first team. The difference in compensation is approximately five to six times as much.

An education is appreciated and rewarded
There is a strong correlation between the amount of compensation and the level of (football technical) education that has been completed. Needs to be said, however, that there is a significant difference between youth-and senior coaches. The most common license is the UEFA C license (28%) with which senior-team coaches earn an average of €3.590,-. Youth coaches with an UEFA C license earn an average of €1.619,- per season. 25% out of the 1.763 coaches who took part in this research does not have a football technical license/diploma. Out of this group, the majority is coach of a lower age category team.

The region is decisive
Finally, our research showed great differences per region. Clubs located in the western part of the Netherlands pay the highest salaries. Clubs located in the most Southern region (Limburg) pay the lowest salaries, while clubs located in the Amsterdam region pay the most.

Discussion
“If the amount of remuneration is a way of how amateur football clubs classify their priorities, the following assumptions can be made: senior-team coaches are more important than youth-team coaches, men’s teams are way more important than women’s teams and the higher the age category, the more important the coach. Can this be justified? In some cases, yes: being coach of a senior-team that plays on a high level, demands a lot of time, which translates to a higher salary. This is how the current ‘market’ works in the Netherlands. There is another side to this story though: I have noticed that a lot of clubs say things that do not correspond with their financial policy. The challenge for amateur football clubs is to make sure their financial policy matches with what they think is (most) important. So, when a club says their youth has the future, but at the same time the head coach takes up 80% of the total budget, I hope they will read this article and take a critical look at their own policy”, as stated by NMC Bright’s director, Wouter Kuperus.

Download the full benchmark report trainer remuneration in amateur football here. Note: the report is only available in Dutch.