International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Wed. 12 October 2022


Diederik Dewaele

Current Position: Director of Football at the European Club Association (ECA)

Year of Graduation: 2005 (5th Edition)

Nationality: Belgian

What does your current role involve?

I have worked for the European Club Association (ECA) since 2008, which is basically since the creation of the association. ECA is the representative body for clubs in Europe and my role at ECA is quite varied. I manage projects related to UEFA Club Competitions, which includes discussions with them on the format, access and revenue distribution of these competitions. We equally have a lot of projects running which relate to women’s football, football development, support for clubs with commercial operations and operational delivery of games during UEFA Club Competitions.

I am also currently overseeing all membership related projects, which include membership engagement, education and knowledge programmes.

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

The FIFA Master was an eye-opener for me in various different ways. It allowed me to gain access to a lot of interesting information and guest speakers. But, the course also taught me how diverse society and sport actually is. Living with classmates from all over the world exposes you to different mindsets and ways of living, thinking and consuming sport. One of the key lessons I learned during the FIFA Master, therefore, is that not everybody in the world thinks in the same way as where I grew up. This has helped me in building relations in my professional career.

In addition, I truly believe that the alumni network has added a lot of value to my career. The accessibility to other alumni and the willingness of these alumni to support wherever possible is invaluable. The fact that in almost every big city in the world you can meet FIFA Master alumni is fascinating. For this reason, I try to be as available as I can for other alumni, irrespective whether they need professional information or career advice.

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

FIFA Master students need to understand that the course is more than lectures and field visits alone. The main strength of the course is the combination of these lectures and visits with the network that you will start building – not only amongst your classmates, but also when meeting guest speakers and alumni. From my own experience, many employers in the sports industry are happy to consider hiring alumni from courses like the FIFA Master, as they consider this one-year international experience as added value on the CV, both in terms of knowledge but also network. Personally, I am always happy to see alumni appear on shortlists for positions at the ECA.

Finally, I would recommend to future students that they enjoy the cities in which the FIFA Master modules are based. Leicester, Milan and Neuchâtel are so different, but all offer a great platform to enjoy your studies, sport and life!

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, 2021 and 2022 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).

As of 3rd October 2022 the CIES has officially opened the application process for the 24th edition (2023-2024) of the FIFA Master.

Please note that the deadline for applying is midday (12pm) Central European Time on Friday 13th January 2023.

Please click on this link to access the online application form.

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