Dr Geoff Nichols

MSc, PhD

Management School

Honorary Senior Lecturer in Sport and Leisure Management

+44 114 222 2184

Full contact details

Dr Geoff Nichols
Management School
Room C097
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

Geoff completed a BA Joint Honours in Economics/Sociology at the University of Durham.

He completed a MSc Industrial Relations (by research and dissertation) in 1981 while working with a team at Strathclyde University researching the impact of productivity bonus schemes.

In 1986 he completed a MSc in Sport and Recreation Management at Loughborough University and in 2004 was awarded a PhD from Sheffield University for his thesis, `The impact of sports programmes on youth crime.' Geoff has worked at Sheffield University since 1990.


8 years as an outdoor pursuits instructor; both for Outward Bound, and for Tameside Council, where he was a sports development officer

He is a keen mountaineer, rock climber and fell runner and lives in Sheffield. He helps with mountaineering and climbing training for the Scout Association.

Research interests

Geoff’s main research interests are volunteers in sports clubs and events; management of sports clubs run by volunteers and the volunteering legacy of sports events.

Recent research has included the volunteering legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, a national survey of sports clubs in the UK (for the Sport and Recreation Alliance), research into how sports clubs recruit new volunteers (for Sport England) and the experience of volunteers at the 2012 Olympic Games.

He has worked on two previous national surveys of sports clubs (both also conducted for Sport England). Since 2009 he has chaired the Sports Volunteering Research Network.

The network promotes research into sports volunteering through arranging research symposia and a newsletter. Network presentations are available at http://svrn.group.shef.ac.uk

Most of Geoff’s research is conducted in collaboration with colleagues in other institutions, both in the UK and abroad.

Prior to 2007 Geoff’s research focussed on the relationship between sport and crime reduction, especially for young people. This was the topic of Geoff´s PhD.

Geoff was involved in six major programme evaluations and two national surveys, including a survey for the Home Office, into physically demanding activities for probation service clients (1997/8).

Much of this work was incorporated into his 2007 book, `Sport and crime reduction: the role of sports in tackling youth crime,' which was written for policy makers and academics.



  • Nichols GS (2017) Volunteers in Community Sports Associations: a literature review. Brill. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Nichols G (2007) Sport and crime reduction. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Nichols G (Ed.) (2013) Volunteers in sport: international perspectives. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Book reviews

Conference proceedings papers

  • Nichols GS & Ralston R (2012) Volunteer management at the 2012 Olympic Games: a tension between “programme” and “membership” management styles. Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium for Olympic Research (pp 110-115) RIS download Bibtex download


  • Nichols GS & James M (2017) Social Inclusion and Volunteering in Sports Clubs in Europe; findings for policy makers and practitioners in England and Wales View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Nichols GS, Ibsen B & Elmose-Osterlund K (2016) Sports club policies in Europe. A comparison of the public policy context and historical origins of sports clubs across ten European countries. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Geoff is interested in supervising PhD students in the topic of volunteers in sport.

Teaching activities

Geoff leads an undergraduate level 3 module, MGT363, The Leisure Industry.

This covers: the importance and meaning of leisure, the birth of modern sport, the rational for the public sector in leisure, sport and crime reduction, the voluntary sector in sport ,managing sport volunteers, mega-sports events and regeneration, time and money as leisure determinants, and leisure’s importance in future society.

He also leads a level 2 module, MGT242, Research Methods.

Both modules are able to draw on his previous and current research. Both use a combination of lectures and student led tutorials.

The content and structure reflect the aim of the university to develop students’ ability to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own learning.

Professional activities

Geoff is a member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity and the Leisure Studies Association.

He has formerly served as a board member of the Journal Leisure Studies and on the Leisure Studies Association executive committee.