International Centre for
Sports Studies

Avenue DuPeyrou 1
2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Wed. 11 May 2016

“FIFA Master” 16th Edition: Some Dreams Do Come True

Roughly a year ago, thirty-two young professionals seated in offices spanning twenty-six different countries received an email that made them believe in a dream they all shared. A spate of Facebook friend requests, social media messaging, visa applications and suitcase-stuffing ensued soon after, as the thirty-two embarked on a journey through esteemed institutions and organisations in England, Italy and now Switzerland.

Neuchatel, Switzerland marks the final pit-stop on our “FIFA Master” journey, and we found ourselves welcomed to the town by bright sunshine, a shimmering lake and overtly friendly swans (nicknamed "white pigeons" by the class). With little time to soak in our new environment, the seemingly 'daunting' law module began with surprisingly fun lectures explaining the role of law in sport and society. Professors Thomas Probst and Petros Mavroidis led the class in understanding why Swiss and European Union law has specific relevance for legal matters in sport, following which Professor Denis Oswald, who is President of the course Scientific Committee and an IOC member himself, gave us a first-hand introduction to Swiss association law and its importance to sport governing bodies such as the IOC and FIFA.

In the four weeks since, we have been treated to lectures from academics of the immense caliber of Vincent Monnier, Pierre Cornu, Madalina Diaconu and Jean-Baptiste Zufferey who dealt with matters ranging from sports governance to sponsorship in sport and the role of lotteries in the sports industry.

Visits from some of the foremost professionals in sport have sparked insightful debates in class, dividing opinion on contemporary issues facing the industry such as the importance of a 'one country-one vote' model at FIFA, the role of Financial Fair Play in Europe versus the 'American' model of sport, and the different methods of financing in sport. Aiding the class in formulating a more thorough understanding of these practical issues were presentations and discussions with industry specialists such as Benjamin Cohen (FIBA), Matthias Berg (IPC), Andrea Traverso (UEFA), Omar Ongaro (FIFA) and Ashley Ehlert (IIHF), along with Jason Smith (Brabners LLP), Jérôme Pernet (Tradamarca), Jean-Marie Hainaut (Lombard Odier) and Despina Mavromati (CAS).

The “FIFA Master” course, however, is incomplete without its special field visits and guest speakers. In less than a month, we have been on the receiving end of warm welcomes by our FMA alumni at the FIFA headquarters and the IOC. Between engaging presentations at these most prestigious sporting institutions and lavish dining experiences with our beloved alumni, the hitherto unbeaten FIFA Master team also managed to record a 3-2 comeback win in a 'friendly' match organised by FIFA employees.

Engaging in healthy discussions, playing football and dining with alumni working at esteemed sports organisations, agencies and associations, we can't help thinking about where it all began ... one year ago with an email that made us believe in a dream we all shared.

Natalie Amato and Harjass Singh

Class Representatives for the Law Module



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