International Centre for
Sports Studies

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


Tue. 06 April 2021

Time to say goodbye

Shortly, we will all pack our bags and head across the Alps for the final leg of our FIFA Master journey. But before the 21st edition starts dabbling in French and dusting off their law knowledge (surely binge-watching Suits counts as “pre-reading”?) ahead of Neuchâtel, let’s take a moment and rewind on our last few weeks in Milan. Spoiler: they haven’t disappointed!

March kicked-off in style with a fully packed day of speakers from AC Milan, represented by James Murray; Chief of Staff, Lamberto Siega; Digital and Marketing Director, Ruggero Raymo; alumnus of the FIFA Master 17th edition and part of the Global Sponsorship Sales team, and last but not least, Alessandro Zissis, Commercial Venue Director. We are truly grateful to the AC Milan team for dedicating so much time to us and for providing us with an incredibly broad and comprehensive set of internal perspectives on how one of the world’s most historic clubs is managed.

Not to be outdone by their domestic rivals, Juventus FC also hosted a brilliant virtual field visit, with Francesco Gianello, Head of Facilities Management, and Tomas Aricò, Head of Revenue Performance talking us through the details of how the club that has dominated Serie A for the last decade operates its recently developed stadium, the Allianz Arena.

During this last month we also undertook our last two submodules: Sport Event Management and Sport Management in Action. During Events Management we learned (and, as usual, then put into practice) how to plan and deliver a successful sports event, spanning from daily routine orders to risk management. Professors Deborah Raccagni and Giuseppe Rizzello gave us invaluable insights, with the latter’s long career as, amongst other roles, General Coordinator for 6 (!) FIFA World Cups being a true source of inspiration.

Sport Management in Action was taught by Professors Dino Ruta and Antonio Palmieri. It was a perfect ending to our Milan module, giving us an ensemble view of how all the previous courses are integrated into the broader ecosystem of the sports industry.

Throughout the last four weeks we also had the pleasure of virtually meeting a rich array of guest speakers from all parts of the industry. Kathrin Weidlich and Patricia Puyo from Global Talent Acquisition, Meiret Arnold, Recruiter Brand and Masuru Ebayashi, Senior Product Manager Football, spent an afternoon with us representing adidas and giving us an overview of what working with them in different departments looks like (and providing valuable advice on applications).

Dennis de Munck, Head of Employer Branding and University Partnerships and Tiziana Mecozzi, ESports Manager, both from Ferrari, gave us the true Ferrari experience, taking us on a virtual factory tour of Maranello. Questions ranged from how the iconic Prancing Horse furthers its founder Enzo Ferrari’s legacy in combining luxury and sport, all the way to the Scuderia's brand new eSports team.

Ebru Koksal, former General Manager of Galatasaray FC and the first (and only!) woman to be elected to the executive board of the European Club Association took us on a really inspiring journey through her career, which included managing the construction of Galatasaray’s new stadium, and giving us a crucial understanding of the inner workings of the industry and some valuable tips on how to face and overcome adversity.

Former alumnus Court Jeske held an amazing lecture about the US sport system in general, and football (or soccer as they prefer to call it ...) specifically. Court, former CEO and owner of Nashville Soccer Club, and now Executive Vice president of USL, managed to condense just about everything regarding how a professional football league operates on the other side of the pond in an engaging morning session with the class.

Sara Marchionni, Sponsorship and Sales Senior Manager at ATP, unveiled the behind the scenes aspects of how the organisation implemented new events such as the Next Gen ATP Finals or the ATP Cup into the men’s professional tennis tour, while also sharing how she combines licensing and sponsorship to strategically manage sponsorship relationships in tennis (all whilst travelling the world following the tournament schedule!).

Andrea Ceraico, Managing Director at Red Bull Italia, told us all about his 20+ year experience with the innovative and pioneering drinks company, both from a product perspective and a sports event one, including Felix Baumgartner’s breath-taking jump from the stratosphere. Marina Pochinik shared her experience working in people management and HR across 5 different Olympic Games, whilst Andrea Bassani, EuroCup Media Manager at Euroleague Ventures, helped us understand the media undertakings of European Basketball, as well as shining a light on what the future of the sport may hold.

We also had the opportunity to meet the president of Vero Volley, Alessandra Marzani and her colleague Gianpaolo Marture, Marketing and Sales Director. They shared their insights on how one of Italy’s most successful volleyball clubs is run, both on and off-court, and the incredible resource and importance of being deeply rooted in the local community.

From one president to the next, our last guest speaker session was with Venezia FC and their President Duncan Niederauer. A former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, Duncan fell in love with Venezia FC and Venice, his wife’s favourite city (and to be honest, everyone’s favourite city) and now runs the club. He, and his two colleagues Gianluca Santaniello, Chief of Staff and Alexander Menta, Head of Analytics showed us how they are implementing Moneyball-style scouting and player acquisition tactics to fulfill the club’s ambitions of returning to Serie A. We wish them well and regardless of what may happen, the “Arancio-Nero-Verdi” now have 25 new supporters backing them on their journey!

Just as swiftly as Milan had welcomed us back in January, so too has now come the time to say goodbye to the city that we have called home for the past three months. It has been an intense journey from start to finish, at times challenging, at others exhilarating. What we can confidently say has characterized the class throughout, however, has been an incredibly resolute support and care for each other, and an ability to really make the most of every opportunity that was granted to us. We have learned so much not just about the world of sports business, but also about ourselves and each other. We’ve created unforgettable memories and met some truly inspirational people, some of which we hope will be lifelong friends.

On personal note, it is also a bittersweet moment as our time as class representatives has come to an end. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to represent the 21st edition during their time in Milan, and our thanks goes to them, our professors, the Scientific Committee and our coordinator Luca Antonelli for sailing such a tight ship through the “storm” of the pandemic.  We now pass the relay to our colleagues in Neuchâtel for the third and final leg of our journey. We can’t wait to find out what it has in store for us - but whatever it is, we’ll make sure to go out with a bang!


Malin Vestin and Lorenzo Cavallari - Milan 2020-21 Class Reps

FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, ranked No.1 Course in Europe 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 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).



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