International Centre for
Sports Studies

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Tue. 06 February 2018

The FIFA/CIES Executive Programme and the FIFA Master changed my career…

In 2017, Sara Panizo, who hails from Spain, started a new career at FIFA headquarters, on the heights of the Zürichberg. After months of hard work, she takes a look at her professional activities and the steps that led her to the “Home of FIFA".

Last year, Sara Panizo joined the FIFA Member Associations Division, with specific responsibilities within the Americas department. In the framework of the “Forward” Programme, she is a project coordinator and manages development projects presented by FIFA member federations on the American continent. Speaking about her new position, Sara said, “This is an incredible experience. Now I have a great opportunity to work on development of football, a field I have always been interested in. I receive many projects. They are all different. This gives me an idea of the specificities and needs of the countries concerned. This work is both complex and very motivating.”

Prior to that, following a university education in communication and corporate communication, Sara attended the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme organised in Spain with Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid and the Real Federación Española de Fútbol. The curriculum played a significant role in her “radical” new career choice: “I wanted to attend the Programme to have a better understanding of the sports industry and to decide if I wanted to pursue a career in sport. The Programme was an essential factor in my choice. It also gave me access to an extensive network of contacts and friends. They supported me throughout the experience; the curriculum also allowed me to learn from their significant knowledge of world of sport.”

For the second step of her new career, Sara applied to the 17th edition of the FIFA Master, and attended classes from September 2016 to June 2017. “At that stage, my entire life took a U-turn. The new knowledge I acquired was astounding. Several months after completing the FIFA Master, I now use all the valuable information shared by teachers, experts and guest speakers every day. One of the facets of the FIFA Master is its intensity: We live in three different countries, surrounded by colleagues representing over 20 nationalities. It was by far the most intense, the most dynamic year of my life. Now I am working in an international context. The FIFA Master helps me meet all the requirements of that environment.”

In a word, the CIES education programmes have allowed Sara to set a new course for her career, with a focus on sport. She seems to be delighted with her new choices. We wish her a fulfilling career in sport and football for many years to come.