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News

Wed. 09 October 2019

FIFA MASTER ALUMNI – WHERE ARE THEY NOW? – DAN O'TOOLE

Picture: FIFA Senior Office Manager - Office of Deputy General Secretary, Dan O'Toole (on the right) together with Wilfred Kidao, General Secretary of the Tanzanian Football Federation

Dan O’Toole

Current Position: FIFA Senior Office Manager - Office of Deputy General Secretary at FIFA (previously FIFA Financial Governance Programme Manager)

Year of graduation: 2014 (14th Edition)

Nationality: Irish

What does your current role involve?

I have just been promoted FIFA Senior Office Manager - Office of Deputy General Secretary but I was previously FIFA Financial Governance Programme Manager, which is the role I will explain hereafter.  In this position, I was working in the Member Associations Division in FIFA, specifically in the Financial Governance Unit. This team was created following the reform process of 2016 with the specific task of promoting transparency and accountability amongst all FIFA’s 211 member associations, improving how financial decision-making is made in these organizations.

Our role is effectively split into three key areas.

1. Managing the financial side of the Forward Development Programme

FIFA invests USD 1.7 billion every World Cup cycle specifically into developing football around the world. The Financial Governance team is responsible for coordinating all payments to member associations and confederations, guaranteeing all funds are delivered to their intended destination, with the maximum development impact possible. This ranges from communicating with banks and other third parties, coordinating with a variety of other FIFA Divisions and, of course, working hand-in-hand with the member associations and confederations themselves.

2. Coordinating the audit and reporting process of each of FIFA’s 211 members.

Under Forward, for the first time ever, all member associations have to produce audited financial statements. Also all member associations that receive funds under the Forward programme have to report on their use annually to FIFA. We work together with globally recognised independent auditors who check that everything reported to us is accurate. Our team is responsible for coordinating between the MAs and the audit team, processing the results and identifying action areas. This process also helps us to identify targeted improvements in the administration and structure of our member associations, which in turn helps to drive the third and most important part of our work…

3. Providing education and capacity building in the field of financial management and governance.

Using the information gathered through the audit and reporting process, as well as through our daily interactions with member associations, our team works all over the world to professionalize the administration of those member associations who need the most help. This involves visiting these member associations and establishing action plans together with their management and staff, supporting them through these action plans. It also involves hosting regional workshops focused on financial management and governance, and generating educational content in the form of templates and guidelines. It is this daily interaction on the ground with member associations that is the most enjoyable aspect of my daily work.

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

I believe it has helped me combine my experience in the generic business world – which many people have – with the unique sports world – a combination which not a lot of people have. It is critical to have an understanding of the ‘specificity of sport’ when understanding how decisions are made in sporting organizations and to help continually improve this decision-making process.

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

I would borrow the wise words of the great footballer and great philosopher, Eric Cantona, who himself borrowed the same words from “King Lear”, ““As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport”. Soon the science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of the cells, soon the science will fix the cells to the state and so we will become eternal. Only accidents, crimes, wars, will still kill us but unfortunately, crimes, wars, will multiply. I LOVE FOOTBALL!”

 

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.