International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Fri. 05 August 2022

Chapter 2 - ‘Reunited in Switzerland’. A special week for the FIFA Master 20th edition class

The following day, the 22nd edition class gave their Final Project Presentations in sweltering temperatures, eight groups sharing their projects covering hot topics from across the world of sport. How can African footballing academies better nurture their talent? What role can music and entertainment play at the Olympics? And, how can you rebrand a national team? Just some of the topics researched by the current class. (To watch the full event: CIES YouTube

Before celebratory drinks, there was a special tribute to our aforementioned Pierre - Professor Pierre Lanfranchi. A man who, in his own words, “was in meeting number one for the FIFA Master”, and who has been an instrumental part of 22 editions of the course ever since. A truly global sports scholar, Pierre was a friend, father and grandfather to class after class of graduates from around the world, with his incredible power to bring people together and eccentric curiosity. A fitting tribute was given on stage by colleagues, gifts given and several standing ovations followed, leaving a man (who could speak on behalf of the planet!) almost speechless - no mean feat! 

We were treated to a special dinner at CIES and the FMA’s very own Alessandro Pellicciotta’s Italian restaurant in Yverdon-les-Bains that evening, complete with both a sunset and a rainstorm, not to mention incredible food, drink and service!

Our final full day gave us the chance to be a part of the 22nd edition’s graduation ceremony, in the picturesque setting of Neuchâtel Castle high above the city. Speeches were made, certificates handed out and wise words shared as we finally had the chance to ‘graduate’ in style and in person, with CIES kindly presenting us with copies of our 2020 diplomas at the end of the ceremony. 

After yet another drinks reception in our finery at the Castle, the class then attended the FMA gathering, arranged to welcome previous students and to officially mark the two new editions into the community. After some 20th edition nostalgia (thanks to an incredible film made by our very own Japanese broadcaster, Taizo Uchida) the FMA hosted a panel event discussing the jobs market in the sports world, with three leading experts from the industry. 

Soon after, the formal proceedings ended and the party began, with 75+ alumni meeting for drinks, snacks and lake views at Cafe des Amis. Alumni from the 1st edition to the 22nd mingled and chatted sharing experiences and stories, and it was incredible to finally experience the alumni community at such scale! 

After our evening of celebrations, the FMA organised mini-golf and brunch at the lake, with varying levels of golfing prowess on show. The winner was David Squires (UK) of the 12th edition, and we said our goodbyes lake-side as the week came to an end! Our trips home began both near and far, from Zurich to Zimbabwe, as future reunions were put in calendars and best wishes shared.

Reflecting on the reunion, the field visits and the experiences across Switzerland during the week, on behalf of the 20th edition I would like to thank everyone at CIES and the FMA for making this dream a reality! It meant so much to us all to gather again, reminiscing about the past and planning for the future, and was only possible thanks to such incredible hospitality and the FIFA Master family.

To finish with the words of a fellow classmate, “It’s never a goodbye, but a see you later!” We can now say we are the only edition that has returned twice to Neuchâtel for course lectures!

FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, ranked No.1 Course in Europe 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 by the SportBusiness International global rankings.

Organised by CIES in partnership with De Montfort University (United Kingdom), SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy) and the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

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