International Centre for
Sports Studies

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Thu. 22 February 2024


Stanislav Shtipkov

Current Position: Head of Intelligence and Development - World Leagues Forum

Year of graduation: 2021 (21st edition)

Nationality: Bulgarian

What does your current role involve?

The main objective of the World Leagues Forum is to represent national football leagues, improve global football governance and foster collaboration between the leagues. My role within the organization touches on these three aspects to a different degree with the main purpose of helping the professional development of the leagues. That includes the exchange of good practice and producing different materials which can be used internally among the leagues. Also, I dedicate time to working with key stakeholders in order to develop relationships and projects which will improve specific aspects of the various league's everyday operations. 

Also, my role requires me to develop the organisation and look to expand different service areas for the leagues. This can involve improving existing services or creating a completely new area of service. The development of strategic projects based on a league’s specific requirements is also something that I dedicate time to. These particular projects are usually very diverse and can range from women's football governance matters to business development cases. 

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

When I return periodically to this question since my graduation until today, I find that the answer evolves. Initially the FIFA Master helped me to understand the football ecosystem and how exactly everything is interconnected. Also, it gave me closer access and contact with people working in top positions at the best football and sports organisations around the world, which eventually allowed me to land a role within the organization I am today. So, without the FIFA Master I wouldn't be where I am now at the World Leagues Forum. Further, I have realised that the FIFA Master Alumni Association is a network of people with whom it is easy to have no barriers with and to get along with very quickly. it is like an instant group of new friends which you have whenever you move to a new sports location.  

Each module of FIFA Master is applicable to everyday life when working in a world football organisation. From the history and cultural studies of the Leicester module which puts everything in sport into perspective, helping to clarifying the “How” and "Why" of many situations, through the business side of things with the SDA Bocconi module in Milan which puts you in the shoes of sports executives and their everyday decisions, to finally the magnificent sports law module in Neuchâtel which takes you through the governance and regulatory rules which set the boundaries of an organisation, their type of relations and why things happen as they do. With this combination the FIFA Master provides all of the necessary ingredients to be successful. It then depends on each student to make the most of it. 

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

My advice for future students would be to always make the extra effort in your class assignments, projects and guest lecturer visit preparations. You never know who you might impress! Methodical work and good planning always pay off, but sometimes opportunities open without you consciously pursuing them and rather by demonstrating a good work ethic and vision through everyday decisions. Also, remember that one of the best networks you will create is the one with your classmates, and, most importantly, you will most likely create great friendships for life. 

Arrive at the FIFA Master with an open mind and be ready to learn outside the classroom as well. Your colleagues will be an inspirational group of people who have passed through a completely different path than yours so expand your horizons! Finally, take the best of the three cities you will live in. Enjoy them and dive into the different cultures, food and experience these places can offer to you.

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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