Introduction: The purpose of this research was to develop a talent management model for establishing a merit-based system for managers and leaders in sports organizations.
Methods: The research method employed was qualitative, based on the foundational data theory. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, and Glaser's method (1992) was used for data analysis. The research participants consisted of 15 faculty members with experience in sports management, and sampling was continued until theoretical saturation was achieved.
Results: Following a step-by-step coding process, 97 final codes were obtained, which were then classified into 13 sub-categories and three main categories: competencies of sports managers, competencies of sports leaders, and talent management process of managers and sports leaders. Our results indicate that a talent management model can be formulated for the meritocracy of sports managers and leaders by considering the competencies of sports managers (management, organizational, communication, performance, personality, international competencies), the competencies of sports leaders (leader skills, leader personality, leader behavior, leader actions), and the talent management process of sports managers and leaders (necessary infrastructure, identification and retention of talents, training, and promotion of talents).
Conclusion: Based on the research findings, it is recommended that sports organizations adopt a talent management system to attract, select, develop, retain, and sustain competent managers and leaders. This system operates on the principles of meritocracy, selecting qualified managers for key positions within the organization, and providing ongoing support to cultivate and maintain a talented workforce.