“These students are the future of sports organisations worldwide” Joseph S. Blatter – April 2012
Friday 27th April 2012 was a day the postgraduates of the International MA in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport (the ‘FIFA Master’) will never forget. Following an early morning departure from the Centre International d’Etude du Sport (CIES) in Neuchâtel, the FIFA Master class, who were joined by the prize winning students from the FIFA/CIES International University Network, arrived at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) headquarters in Zurich for a prestigious day of educational presentations.
This truly memorable visit began with a very special welcome from the President of FIFA, Mr Joseph S. Blatter. Mr Blatter, who the CIES and students would once again like to thank for his dedication and support to the programme, spoke of the importance of the FIFA Master to the world of sport education and management. Indeed, since the FIFA Master began over ten years ago, between 80 and 90% of the 300 course alumni are now working in various sports sectors across five different continents. Thanks to the support of FIFA, the work of the CIES academic team and university partners, the FIFA Master is now one of the most respected sport management programmes in the world today.
After welcoming the postgraduates and CIES academic staff, the FIFA President moved on to the important task of awarding certificates to the winners of the final project group from the FIFA/CIES International University Network. This special prize was created to acknowledge the best group project developed within the FIFA/CIES International Network in sport management. The network now has twelve universities as partners. The winning project for 2012 was written by Sonia Calvo Herrero and Isabel García Blanco (University King Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain) on the subject of enumerating and developing tools to reinforce the links between Spanish professional football clubs and their supporters (“Cómo potenciar la relación entre el club de fútbol profesional y su afición?”). The award jury was particularly impressed with the overall academic quality of the work.
In addition, the award jury decided to give a special prize to the work of Ayat Saafin, Yousef Pedersawi, Nael Deguera et Hussein Al-Sheikh (Birzeit University, Ramallh, Palestiner) for their project “Recycling of used tyres to create basic materials for the construction of sports facilities” (“Recycling for Sports”) in recognition of its innovative spirit.
For this ceremony Mr Blatter was joined by the CIES President Mr Bertrand Reeb, the CIES General Secretary Mr Vincent Schatzmann and senior FIFA representatives Mr Christoph Schmidt and Mr Alexander Koch.
The busy morning schedule continued with detailed presentations from Christina Collenberg, Director of HR and Services at FIFA and Jaime Yarza who is a Senior Manager for Futsal, Beach Soccer and International Matches. Following questions from the class it was time for a short break.
The CIES is particularly proud of the number of FIFA Master graduates who are now working in senior positions at FIFA and was delighted that so many former students could join the current class and academic team for a special buffet lunch.
With the 2012 class refreshed and inspired after meeting so many alumni during the break, it was with excitement that the afternoon presentations began with a detailed lecture from David O’Connor from the FIFA Marketing department on Strategy and Brand Management. This was followed by a very informative session by 10th edition graduate Friedrich Martens on the FIFA Early Warning System (EWS) which was set up in 2007 to monitor sports betting at all FIFA tournaments and to help prevent sports betting from having any negative impact on these matches.
The afternoon talks were concluded by Mr Alexander Koch from FIFA Communications and Marketing and a special tour of the Home of FIFA.
The visit had one final treat for the FIFA Master 12th edition class with the opportunity to play a football match on one of the special pitches at FIFA House. The game, which featured the current class against a FIFA combined team, was refereed by Alessandro Pellicciotta from the CIES and eventually finished 3 – 2, with the combined team from FIFA the eventual winners.
Once again, the CIES would like to thank Mr Blatter, FIFA, the various guest speakers and FIFA Master alumni now working at FIFA for making this such a special visit.