International Centre for
Sports Studies

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2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Wed. 05 August 2020


Áine Power

Current Position: Deputy Legal Director, Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation), Member UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body

Year of graduation: 2011 (11th Edition)

Nationality: Irish

What does your current role involve?

My role as Deputy Legal Director of the FEI is a very varied one; it’s a bit of a cliché to say that each day I have to “expect the unexpected” but that is truly the reality! The FEI is the governing body of 7 equestrian disciplines, including the three Olympic disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing and the Paralympic discipline of Para-Dressage. Each discipline has its own specificities so it is really like dealing with 7 different sports. That is what makes the role challenging but very interesting at the same time. In a “normal” year, there are almost 5,000 FEI Events held worldwide so, with that volume of events, the potential for legal issues arising is quite high.

Working as an in-house lawyer in a sports federation means that you are involved in almost every aspect of the federation’s activities; in the FEI Legal Department we regard our colleagues in the other FEI departments and our National Federations and other stakeholders as our “clients”. So my day to day work can vary from drafting and negotiating commercial contracts (sponsorship, broadcast, digital), to legal proceedings (disciplinary and anti-doping, safeguarding), to drafting rules. A couple of years ago, my role expanded to take over the management of the bid processes for all FEI named Championships and Finals. That was just before the FEI decided to totally revise its approach to the FEI World Championships to move towards a more collaborative approach with bidders and that has been a great project to be involved in. 

Which aspects of the FIFA Master course have helped you most in your career?

The longer I am working in the sports industry and particularly in sports law, the more I appreciate the value of knowing a little bit about a lot of areas; that is where the FIFA Master has been a great help. It’s amazing how the little bits of random knowledge that we picked up along the way can be useful later on. Also, learning how to work with people from many different cultures with different life experiences was very good training for working in an international environment such as an International Federation.

What advice would you give to future students on the course?

First and foremost, enjoy the year! Even though results, assignments and projects are important, they are not what the FIFA Master is truly about. Having 9 months away from the pressures of day-to-day work, living and learning with classmates from all around the world is a unique opportunity and a real privilege, one that you may never have again. Secondly, the contacts you make throughout the year are a valuable resource – use them but don’t abuse them. Try to keep in mind that, whenever someone takes the time to help you out or give you advice, they are taking time from their own (probably very busy) schedule to talk with you.  

FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, ranked No.1 Course in Europe 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 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).

Discover more examples of inspiring FIFA Master alumni career paths by clicking here.

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