ISH’s first course is the innovative MA Leadership in Sport beginning in autumn 2019. The first intake is limited to 30 talented students.

The 15-month non-residential course – designed so that students can stay in their jobs while studying the MA – features evening seminars in London, with its home in Fitzrovia.

The programme will combine the latest academic research with seminars by leading practitioners. Speakers include David Epstein, Ed Smith, Mervyn King, Kasia Boddy, Mike Brearley, Howard Marks, Simon Kuper and Sam Zussman.

Sports science has helped our knowledge of sport and informed its academic study, but understanding sport – whether a single team or the wider industry – now relies on the critical grasp of societal and cultural forces. It is time for a more balanced and inter-disciplinary approach: time for sports humanities.

On the field, it is becoming harder to gain an edge through optimizing the body. Greyhounds and racehorses haven’t got much faster since the 1950s. Humans, too, are now approaching the outer wall of their physiological potential. In contrast, the art of leadership, superior decision-making, decoding the signals derived from history, the honing of judgment, balancing data and intuition: all these skills are far from commonplace, and designed to be inculcated by this MA.

Leadership in sport (both playing side and business) increasingly rests on critical thinking, especially the ability to grasp the bigger picture in an era of ultra-specialisation.