International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Wed. 02 February 2022


Tang Xigang (David)

Current Position:  Commercial and Operation Director of City Football Group China

Year of graduation: 2003 (3rd edition)

Nationality: Canadian and Chinese

What does your current role involve?

Our group owns and operates 10 professional football clubs around the world in different countries. Our flagship club is Manchester City Football Club.

Since I joined the group, we have established an office in Shanghai, recruited a small team of local marketing and sales people, and started from scratch to develop our brand and business in this exciting market.

I’m currently managing our group’s commercial operation in China. My responsibility covers three main areas. Firstly, growing the fan base and fan engagement for Manchester City FC in China. Secondly, developing commercial partnership/sponsorship business with Chinese companies and thirdly developing our football education and recreational youth football business. I love my job in so many ways. It’s football, the greatest sport; It’s a great team that is playing the most beautiful football; It’s a great organization with talented, hard-working and fun people within it. 

The biggest challenge for us in China? Football is still developing here. However, there is a lot of great potential and opportunities. Everybody talks about China, and the ‘Football Dream’ of this country. But success won’t be overnight. We have to stay focussed, be mindful, but also be strategic, on what our end goals are, so that we progress forward step by step and be part of that journey to achieve the ‘Football Dream’ for China.  When the World Cup comes to China in the future, I can again be proud of my work, our country, and our team. It’s a marathon, and we have to keep our pace up.

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

I completed my FIFA Master studies between 2002-2003 in the 3rd edition. Before the course I was working in a professional accounting firm.  I decided to make a complete career switch into football. It was purely my passion for sport that drove me to make one of the most important decisions of my life.

The course was super important, therefore. I always share with people what I did on the FIFA Master and how it impacted my life.  Immediately after graduation from the FIFA Master I joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in various areas of Marketing, Competition and Football Development. Then I switched from the Federation into the sponsorship side and I spent ten years with Nike in various football roles such as sports marketing, brand marketing and sales. Then, in March 2016, I decided to take a new chapter in my career and joined City Football Group.

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

Enjoy it! It’s a once in a lifetime chance. Your class is your family. Love them, stay together and support each other!

The FIFA Master network, digitally and physically, is one of the most valuable course assets for me, both from a work and also life perspective.  It’s a priceless business network, but it’s also a priceless friends and family network to me too.

Studying on the FIFA Master course is one of the most important and best decisions I have ever made in my life. I would completely recommend it!

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 and 2021 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).

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