International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Fri. 23 November 2012

Let's hear from Mario Hernández Cova

We continue our series of interviews devoted to those who – behind the scenes – play an important role in the development of the FIFA/CIES International University Network and the implementation of its activities. Today, spotlight on Mario Hernández Cova. Mario is very committed to sport as the manager of a football club and considers that it is essential to provide training for managers of sports organisations of all sizes, from national federations to local neighbourhood organisations. That is why he decided, with his sister Ingrid, to financially support the FIFA/CIES Programme organised in Venezuela in cooperation with Maria José Gonzalez and Rafael Espinoza, coordinators of the Programme at the Centre for Continuing Education (CENDECO) of Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET), as well as Victor Ledezma, a former professional football player and CIES local coordinator.

Family life

Mario is married and has a son who is now 20. Mario takes great pride in the fact that Gerardo Andres is studying at a faculty of commerce in the United States. But above all, he has inherited his passion for football and plays for his university… Perhaps we have a future player for the Venezuelan national team… Mario is also very close to his brother and sister, with whom he creates and manages many common projects.

Current professional activities

Engineer, businessman and manager of a premier league football club, Deportivo Petare.

Other feathers in his cap

Mario is too modest to answer the question… but he does recognize that he is an alumnus of the first edition of the FIFA/CIES Programme in Caracas…

Sporting activities

This may come as a surprise, but not, no football… in fact, he plays tennis every morning, at six a.m., when Caracas is still asleep. And Mario has two breakfasts… before and after his performance on the tennis court, whether he did well or not…


This time we have football… as a manager who follows his team very closely, as a fan who regularly goes to the stadium and as a viewer who watches South American and European league matches on television… but also as a father who analyses and comments on his son’s performance, even at a distance…
But Mario also likes Formula 1, although he doesn’t collect race cars in his garage…. He is happy just to have a few miniature cars displayed in his office… to allow him to dream….

Favourite colour

Blue in all its forms and in all objects of daily life, from cars to kitchen utensils, via clothes… which explains why, on the day of the interview, Mario wore a superb green shirt… well, you need to make exceptions every now and again, a change from the usual routine, not so?

Favourite animals

Only one animal: the dog. Big or small, with long or short hair, brown, beige, black or tawny…  The important thing is their noble demeanour, they unfailing devotion. Ah, if only he could adopt one of those dogs from the Disney movies… so loyal, moving and funny…

Favourite foods

Mario really enjoys a whole range of different foods… rice with chicken (arroz con pollo) at a little bistro restaurant, but also caviar in a more sophisticated environment… As for beverages, he particularly likes wine and his family imports wines… just a word of advice, if you invite Mario to dinner, avoid tripe or milk… he can’t stand them…

Favourite actors

Undoubtedly Demi Moore, for her acting talent and not only for her looks… and Al Pacino for the same reasons… (laughter)…. what a genius, in Scarface or the Godfather, opposite the great Marlon Brando…

Favourite country

Italy… I like the food, the landscapes, the history… not to mention that I love the country because my wife is Italian…

The main quality in a man or a woman

Honesty… What friendship, what love story or what professional relationship can one build on concealment and lies?

And the worst flaw

The corollary to what I have just said, namely lies… that is why I don’t want to go into politics….

What are your responsibilities in the organisation of the FIFA/CIES Programme in Venezuela?

With my sister Ingrid, we have been the Programme sponsors since 2010… and we have just renewed our partnership with UNIMET and CIES…  I have been very involved in the Programme, to the extent that I was a Programme student myself. I also attend coordination meetings… and, when I have time, I attend student interviews and examinations… but without interfering with decisions…. I have great respect for academic freedom…

What can you tell us about your experience as a student of the Programme?

It was excellent in terms of the course content. I was also able to share experience and ideas with classmates from different professional and sports backgrounds … that is worth gold …

In your opinion, what is the importance of the FIFA/CIES Programme for sport in your region or in your country?

It is essential in a country where, like in many other countries, there is often little or no training for sports managers. This is true of all categories of sports organisations and of all sports. The Programme contributes to improving sport, to strengthening it by providing modern and practical tools for basic management…

How would you assess your relationship – the relationship of your university – with CIES and the other members of the Network?

What I like most is that we have a genuine partnership. There are frequent and proactive contacts…. we meet here, in Venezuela, or during FIFA/CIES Network seminars and we very openly discuss all sorts of issues. We are dedicated and flexible. Our common objective is to constantly improve ourselves, something I can really relate to as an entrepreneur…

A life motto?

What you are and what you will be depends only on you!

A word of advice for (future) sports managers?

Perhaps a quote from Vincent «Vince» Lombardi, a famous American football coach of Italian origin (to stay in line with what I have already told you): “The only place where “success” comes before “work” is in the dictionary”… So, managers, let’s all get down to work together… for the good of sport!

This website uses cookies – limited to technical and analytical cookies – in order to allow your browsing and enhance your experience.

For more information, please see our cookie policy and our privacy notice.

I understand