International Centre for
Sports Studies

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2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Tue. 28 May 2024


Mario Papa

Current Position: Football Project Manager at European Club Association (ECA)

Year of graduation: 2021 (21st edition)

Nationality: Argentina / Cameroon / Italy

What does your current role involve?

As the sole representative body for clubs in Europe and with a membership panel consisting of more than six hundred professional clubs across the continent, the European Club Association’s (ECA) core purpose is to place clubs at the “Heart of Football”. My position sits within the ECA Football Department, a team dedicated to the sporting aspects of football (competitions, calendar, growth, development, operational, medical and technical aspects). Given the latter, my role consists of managing projects and services to ensure the successful delivery of the ECA men’s football vision.

Concretely speaking, this include delivering analysis related to the International Match Calendar, Club Competitions and Club Benefits Programme as well as managing dedicated football projects, therefore ensuring the delivery of ECA football services and the organization of football related events.

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

Firstly, the FIFA Master gives you a deep understanding of both the football and wider sports ecosystem. Moreover, thanks to the different course modules in the Humanities of Sport, Sport Management and Sports Law, it equips you with the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful in a wide range of areas within the industry.

Secondly, the course allows you to meet and connect with guest speakers who are often in leading positions and at the best organizations within the industry. This is a unique opportunity that I believe no other sports course can give you.

Last but definitely not least, the FIFA Master alumni network, and also your classmates, are amazing communities to whom you will always be able to reach out if you need either professional or personal advice. The power of the alumni network is something that I experience on a daily basis since I started my role at the ECA as the world of football is so interconnected.

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

My first piece of advice to future students would be to arrive on the FIFA Master with an open mind and with a willingness to learn from everybody you meet. This includes everyone from your classmates, the course lecturers to the guest speakers you will meet. This applies even if you think that the topic presented is not necessarily relevant to you. There is always something you can learn.

In addition, be proactive and do your best to grow your personal network. The FIFA Master will give you the opportunity to meet a high number of industry experts, but it’s up to you to make the most out of those encounters.

Finally, as the year goes by so fast, I would encourage future students to enjoy living in the three amazing countries where you will be based during your time on the FIFA Master.

FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, ranked  Europe's No.1 course a record 11 times by SportBusiness.

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

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