Relocation Issues for Professional Sports Athletes

The world of professional sports appears exciting and glamorous. For the most successful athletes, this is often the case! However, reaching the top of their competitive sport involves dedication and sacrifice with relentless training, injuries to overcome and time away from family and friends.


Relocating internationally to represent a new team or club is a reality for many top-flight sports stars. As individuals, they usually have similar requirements to corporate assignees. However, two additional factors combine to increase the risk of a stressful relocation for sports people:

1. The speed between the ‘go ahead’ of a new sports contract and the relocation.

Despite the lengthy negotiations that many transfers involve, in most cases sportspeople need to relocate very quickly, often within 24 – 48 hours of the final decisions being made. (Sports Daily).

2. How quickly an athlete is expected to compete after arriving in their new location.

Professional sports people are expected to arrive in their new host destination and ‘perform’ very quickly via a rigorous schedule – often trying to meet high expectations of managers, team-mates and club fans.    

To ensure a smooth, stress-free relocation for professional sports people, it’s important to understand the key stressors impacting them during the process. Research shows athletes who are relocating internationally face four key stressors when relocating for their sport:

  1. Understanding (language and integration)
  2. Control (reinforcement of language and integration)
  3. Belonging (cultural background and cultural appreciation from teammates)
  4. Trust (team reputation, others who have relocated to their roles)

(Source: Hsieh & Shannon, Fiske)

A combination of pre-assignment services will offer valuable reassurance to the assignees and their families. These help to address many ‘understanding’ and ‘control’ concerns. From cultural and language training to visa/immigration coordination … a bespoke range of support should be available. Given the timescales involved, cultural and language support may also feature within destination services, supporting the people involved as they arrive and settle into their new location, helping to allay ‘belonging’ issues. Always, a bespoke solution should be available.

At BTR, we appreciate the importance of excellent player liaison. Communication is key. This should be straightforward and transparent. Assignees and clients have a single, consistent point of contact. Our expert, friendly team offers clear information and answers queries quickly.

We are very aware of the additional pressures faced by professional sportspeople when they relocate internationally to represent a new team. The BTR team has a great deal of experience in supporting athletes and their families during international relocations.

Do you need to move players to new host country within a fixed time frame?
Is resolving visa and tax requirements key to starting at a new club?
Would you like to hand over the day-to-day management of players’ relocations to proven experts?

Talk to the friendly team at BTR without obligation. Contact us for expert advice specific to the world of sports.

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