International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Thu. 08 November 2018

The FIFA Master: A dream that has become a reality

Picture: the 19th edition class of the FIFA Master 

The FIFA Master. A one-year, truly global, breathtaking and sports intense adventure that has far exceeded our expectations. We have spoken to our classmates, and we all agree, this has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Three universities in three different countries, twenty-eight people representing twenty-one different nationalities, all engaging in interesting and stimulating debates with fantastic Professors. It’s difficult to get a better mix than that.

To kick-off our journey, we arrived in Leicester, United Kingdom, in the middle of September. The first days were full nervousness, apprehensiveness, and curiosity, but mostly excitement. We were eager to learn not only from the lectures, but also from our classmates. Throughout our journey, we will never stop seeking to grow into leaders who can create a positive impact on the world through sport. 

Where did it all start? At the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University. The topics we were set to learn about? The Birth of Modern Sport, the Professionalization of Sport and the Internationalization of Sport. Guided by the fantastic and captivating Professor Martin Polley, as well as omniscient and walking sports encyclopedia, Professor Pierre Lanfranchi, we have delved into the history of tennis, rugby, cricket and association football. We were not disappointed at all, and, in fact, it was completely the opposite. We realized that the role of history in sport is utterly monumental. As an example, sports were not only for fun and recreation, but a way of building a nation and its culture, particularly for the British, the French and the Germans.

A typical way to learn history is through books: that is how the majority of us have all learned dates and facts. However, the FIFA Master creates a sweet spot by integrating authentic and comprehensive field visits to the most iconic venues in the world of sport. What would tennis be without Wimbledon? The pureness of white, the evoking nature of the lawn courts, and the exquisiteness of champagne and strawberries. Or even football – yes, soccer – without Manchester United’s Old Trafford, and the grandeur and magnificence it conveys?

Furthermore, we were able to grow our network with sports professionals and interact with them by asking critical questions within the sports industry. City Football Group, through FIFA Master 13th Edition Graduate Alexander Staehelin, were amazing hosts, and delivered key presentations that aided us to better comprehend the ongoing true global nature of football. We, most certainly, have been lucky enough to relish at first-hand, behind-the-scenes experiences.

Moreover, no learning experience would be complete without the knowledge of other people. The working experience of our classmates has played an important part of how and what we have learned. South-Korean Marie Shin, who worked as an Olympic Committee manager during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, shared her understanding by talking about the importance of a well-managed team and how to deliver results under pressure at a megasporting event. Bahamian Adam Miller, who acted as Assistant General Secretary for the Bahamas Football Association, explained the complex challenges he faced and immense effort he put into organizing the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017. Russian Ekaterina Bragina, FIFA World Cup 2018 International Broadcasting Center Deputy Site Manager, described the multifaceted tasks she carried out regarding logistics and crisis management during the picturesque and fantastic football event held last summer in Russia.

However, an event that has shocked the FIFA Master class and faculty, as well as the world of sport, was the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Leicester City Football Club, on 27th October 2018 following a helicopter accident. On behalf of the FIFA Master 19th Edition, we would like to express our condolences to the Srivaddhanaprabha family, the families of all those onboard, Leicester City Football Club, and all those affected by these tragic events. We are with you and you will always have our support. We are immensely grateful to you for all the collaboration and generosity towards the FIFA Master’s Alumni.

Looking back on our journey so far, there is no exaggeration in saying that we are living the dream. Some might say this is a sentimental statement, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Studying, learning, and especially, living with twenty-eight colleagues from a myriad of countries is an unforgettable and groundbreaking experience. We are already halfway through with our module in Leicester, but it has been extremely fulfilling. Also, we are certain, that we will continue to engage in fascinating debates and the critical analysis of contemporary issues facing world sport. All of which will only aid us in enriching our academic knowledge.

Alberto Arteaga and Jisoo (Giny) Oh, De Montfort University module representatives.

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