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News

Tue. 10 July 2018

FIFA Master Alumni – Where are they now? – Ross Wenzel

Ross Wenzel

Current Position: Partner, Kellerhals Carrard

Year of graduation: 2008 (8th Edition)

Nationality: British

What does your current role involve?

I am a Partner and Head of the Sports Law Department at Kellerhals Carrard (KC), one of the largest and leading law firms in Switzerland. I joined the firm in 2010 and have been a Partner since the beginning of 2014. The firm acts for a number of well-known sports organisations including the IOC, WADA, many Olympic and non-Olympic International Federations, National Anti-Doping Organisations, Football Associations, football clubs etc. The focus of my practice is on sports arbitration, including anti-doping, football-related and other governance/regulatory disputes. Together with my team, I handle more than 50 cases a year, mostly before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

I also advise clients with respect to their commercial programmes, hosting, sponsorship and media contracts, for example. I have also been fortunate enough to attend several of the most recent Olympic Games as the main external counsel of WADA, arguing doping-related cases and eligibility disputes before the Ad Hoc Division of the CAS. In addition to my client work, I also deliver the anti-doping module on a sports law course at the University of Geneva and regularly speak on sports law issues at conferences, and, in particular, on anti-doping.

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

The module in Leicester on the Humanities of Sport was very useful in terms of my overall understanding of the sports industry. However, as I work as a sports lawyer, the most relevant and useful module of the FIFA Master was of course the final one in Neuchâtel. At the time, Professor Oswald gave the lectures on anti-doping. This introduced me to (or at least deepened my understanding of) an area of law which has increasingly become the focus of my practice.

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

Sports law is a very competitive area. Many students and practitioners want to work in this area but only a handful of lawyers are able to say that it is the main (or only) area of their practice. Because it is so competitive, those that want to work in this area should be willing to take jobs that give them exposure, experience and contacts even if those jobs might not necessarily appear ideal at first glance. Even though I wanted to work in sports disputes, I worked (before joining KC) for two years at a sports marketing agency in Switzerland, largely drafting and negotiating commercial contracts as an in-house lawyer. Without the FIFA Master, I would probably not have got that job and, without that job, I do not think that I would have got the opportunity with KC. More generally, it is also important to demonstrate a continued interest in, and knowledge of, the sports law market. For example, this can be demonstrated by reading the CAS case law, writing articles or blogs.

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