I chose Nottingham Law School because I knew about the specific guidance, assistance, and expertise I would receive.
More about Ini-Obong
My name is Ini-Obong and I come from Nigeria. I have been in the UK for some time now, initially arriving here as an undergraduate student at another University. I later returned home to qualify as a barrister and solicitor before coming back to the UK to undergo my Masters and PhD degrees in succession, both here at NTU.
The title of my PhD is “Football Trafficking: A Socio-Legal Study on the Trade of African Football Minors”, and my supervisory team consists of Mr Simon Boyes, Dr Helen O’Nions, and Dr Seema Patel. I chose Nottingham Law School because I knew about the specific guidance, assistance, and expertise I would receive. Sports law is still an emerging field of research and I needed supervision from those who knew the regulatory literature well. I also needed the expertise of a migration expert to assist me in understanding the law and policy relating to trafficking and forced migration.
My project looks to plot the existence of football trafficking, looking at it from a more legal/regulatory standpoint. The main objective of my study is to curb the problem using football as a tool for the sustainable and long-term development of African communities. I am extremely passionate about this topic because I am African and I love football. There are upwards of 15,000 African minors being trafficked every year making it a significant problem yet there is little research on the topic. The rewards of a football career make it a particularly attractive pull factor and there is a case for clearer and tighter regulation from football’s governing body FIFA. I hope my thesis can contribute to broader knowledge of these issues and can inform a new regulatory approach.
I am currently only 5 months away from submission, and I am happy that things are progressing as planned. I have acquired experience of teaching on a Masters programme in the law school and have taken part in various external and internal conferences and poster competitions. I have also been interviewed about football trafficking on US television. Upon completion, I plan to qualify as a solicitor here in the UK and will continue to develop and disseminate my research to both academic and professional audiences.