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Wed. 27 July 2022

FIFA Master degree certificates awarded during an emotional ceremony held at the Château de Neuchâtel for the 22nd edition class

The historic surroundings of the Grand Council Room at the Château de Neuchâtel provided the venue for an emotional and unique ceremony on Saturday 23rd July 2022.

The current 22nd edition FIFA Master class was joined by the 20th edition class as they had been specially invited back to Neuchâtel by CIES so that they too could experience the same ceremony. This was due to the fact that in the spring and summer of 2020 part of their course studies in Neuchâtel and graduation ceremony had been forced online in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic at the time. Their attendance at this graduation, and also the programme of field visits which had also been specifically organised for them in the build-up to the ceremony, made this an unforgettable week for everybody involved with the FIFA Master. Indeed, their return and clearly evident special bond as a group, provided the ideal opportunity to reflect on the academic journey undertaken by students each year, and also the new and lasting friendships which the course creates. 

Mr Pierre Cornu, President of the CIES Foundation Council, opened proceedings by welcoming the students and also their families, friends and distinguished guests who had made the journey to Switzerland in order to help celebrate on this special day.

Mr André Duvillard, President of the LoRo-Sport Commission for the Canton of Neuchâtel and official representative of the Government from the Canton of Neuchâtel, Mr. Simon Bradbury, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities at De Montfort University in Leicester (UK), Ms Roya Derakhshan, Lecturer at SDA Bocconi-School of Management, Milan (Italy) and official representative of SDA Bocconi-School of Management and Prof. Felix Kessler, Vice-Rector and official representative at the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland), all delivered speeches to the postgraduate students. They were followed by FIFA’s official representative and Head of Development Programmes for Africa, Mr Solomon Mudege, who is also a FIFA Master graduate from the 10th edition, and FIFA Master Alumni Association (FMA) President, Mr Julian Smith, who welcomed the class to the FMA as its newest members.

Following a brief musical interlude, CIES Director, Prof. Denis Oswald, next introduced to the gathered guests the Patron of the 22nd edition of the course – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Gold medal winning rower, Emma Twigg. This was a proud moment not only for the graduating students, but also the FIFA Master course Scientific Committee as Emma, who is from New Zealand, is also a FIFA Master graduate herself from the 15th edition of the course. Accordingly, Emma is now the first ever FIFA Master graduate to return as Patron. Following an emotional film screening of Emma’s Olympic winning race, she addressed the room via a live video link which included offering advice on overcoming adversity, with reference to her previously competing, but finishing just outside of the medal places, at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games before storming to victory at Tokyo 2020.

The ceremony next moved onto one of the key moments of the academic year, with the awarding of the FIFA Master degree certificates. Mr Vincent Schatzmann, CIES General Secretary, called the 22nd edition class members individually to receive their diplomas from Prof. Denis Oswald.

Then, the "Alberto Madella Award", which rewards the group of students who had made the best Final Project presentation from the conference held the previous day was announced. For 2022, this award went to the Group 1 project with the title, “Kick-off the Renaissance: How to make National Football a Brand? An Analysis on rebranding practices from the football industry”. Congratulations to group members Adil Ansari Rajeev Abrahim (Trinidad & Tobago), Rong Chen (China), Guadalupe Maria Diaz (Argentina) and Adél Köves (Hungary) on receiving this award.

A further presentation was made to Geneviève Favre-Savoie (Canada) who received the Swiss Sport Managers Award for graduating with Distinction.

Next it was the turn of the 20th edition graduates, many of whom had travelled extensive distances from around the world to reunite with their old class members, to be officially presented in person with a version of their certificates, as they had previously been awarded during an online ceremony in 2020. 

Finally, Yasmine Helmy (Egypt) and Adil Ansari Rajeev Abrahim (Trinidad & Tobago) from the 22nd edition addressed their class and highlighted just a few of the incredible memories which had been made since the group first came together in September at De Montfort University in Leicester. As they both noted in their speech, the journey from the United Kingdom to SDA Bocconi in Italy and then to the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland had been completed in what felt like the blink of an eye. However, it was an experience which would now stay with them forever.

Before closing the ceremony, Mr Pierre Cornu thanked the course Scientific Committee and also the administrative and co-ordination staff at the three partner universities for their hard work and dedication in supporting the students during their studies. He then invited the new graduates to continue the celebrations with their families and friends by enjoying a cocktail in the courtyard of the Château in the mid-summer sunshine.

CIES, De Montfort University, SDA Bocconi School of Management and the University of Neuchâtel warmly congratulate our new FIFA Master graduates and wish you all every success for the future. 

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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