After seven sessions in Europe, the MESGO team was in New York from 2 to 6 December 2019 to learn more about the North American model of sport.
Organised by Francesc
Solanellas, professor in sports management at the National Institute of
Physical Education (INEFC) and Didier Primault, general manager at the Center
for Law and Economics of Sport (CDES), this eighth session was aimed at
presenting the organisation of sport in North America from a legal, economic,
sociologic and media perspective.
Over the five-day
session, the MESGO group was hosted at key locations such as the Major League
Soccer (MLS), St John’s University, the National Football League (NFL), the
Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the National Basketball
Association (NBA) and R/GA (International innovation consultancy).
The next and final
MESGO session will take place in Beijing (China) from 9 to 13 March 2019 and
will be dedicated to the future of sport.
It is with great
sadness that we learned of the passing of Dr Dirk-Reiner Martens on November
Dr Martens was one
of the most influential and renowned lawyers in the sports movement: and one of
the pioneers in sports law in Germany and Worldwide.
Due to his
extraordinary expertise in commercial and sports arbitration, at national and
international level, he has acted in more than 250 arbitration proceedings
relating to commercial law and to sports law either as an arbitrator, President
of the tribunal or party representative. In addition to the CAS, Dr Martens was
also listed as an arbitrator at the AAA, JAMS, CRCIA (Cairo, Egypt), FIA
(Formula 1) and ICDR.
A strong advocate
of alternative sports dispute resolution mechanisms, Dr Martens was one of the
original creators of the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (BAT), which today is the
second largest sports arbitral tribunal in the world.
Dr Martens also
worked with numerous Olympic and non-Olympic Sports Federations, advising on
and implementing new systems of governance.
For MESGO, it has
been an honour and a privilege to have Dr Martens among our high-profile
speakers for each of our legal seminars. His presentations and sharing his
experience as CAS arbitrator in particular, were always highly appreciated by
the MESGO participants.
Both as a leading
sports lawyer and CAS arbitrator, but also as a constantly enthusiastic,
passionate and caring person, Dr Martens will be deeply missed. All the MESGO
team convey their sincere condolences to Mrs Martens, to Mr and Mrs Martens’
families and friends, and to Mr Martens’ colleagues at Martens Rechtsanwälte. Our
thoughts are with them during this very difficult time.
From 23 to 27 September 2019 the MESGO V
participants were in Germany for Session 7 of the programme. Jointly directed
by Dr Holger Preuss, Dr Mathias Schubert and Volker Bernardi from the Johannes
Gutenberg University (JGU) in Mainz, the session covered several topics related
to ethics in sport, such as corruption, sport for disabled athletes,
anti-doping and environmental sustainability.
The session took place in various locations across
Mainz and Frankfurt: the Johannes Gutenberg University, the Mainzer Golfclub,
the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), the Opel Arena (Mainz 05
Stadium) and the Rowing Clubhaus Germania.
The session started at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz with an introduction to ethics and sport by Mike McNamee, professor at Swansea University.
In a second presentation,
Professor Jim Parry (Charles University, Prague) focused on the integrity
debate in sport.
The second day opened up with Brendan Schwab, executive director at World Players Association and former FIFPro vice-president who presented us the Human Rights of Players in World Sport.
Among other speakers, Anne Tiivas, chair and director at Safe Sport
International, focussed on the protection of children, young people and adult
athletes from all forms of non-accidental violence in sport.
At the German Olympic Sports
Organisation: Welcome speech by Veronika Rücker, secretary general at the German
Olympic Sports confederation.
Jens Sejer Andersen, international
director of Play the Game, talked about initiatives to fight corruption in
At the Opel Arena (Mainz 05 Stadium): Presentation about the Paralympic
movement and the current challenges in disability sport by Natalia
Dannenberg-Spreier, head of brand and engagement at the International
In his presentation, Thomas Weikert,
president of the International Tennis Table Federation, discussed the social
responsibility of sports organisations.
The session ended at the Rowing
Clubhaus Germania: Michelle Lemaître, head of sustainability and Olympic legacy
at the International Olympic Committee, presented the IOC’s sustainability
strategy and share her expertise in this field.
MESGO sessions are also an opportunity for participants to share special
moments. Several team-building activities took place during the week, including
wine tasting, golfing and climbing.
The next MESGO session, which will focus on the North American model,
will take place in New York from 2 to 6 December 2019.
MESGO V participants
recently visited Barcelona for the sixth session of the programme. Francesc
Solanellas, professor in sports management at Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de
Catalunya (National Physical Education Institute of Catalonia) organised the
session, which took place from 17 to 21 June and was dedicated to sports
The session began at
INEFC on Monday 17 June, where Professor Francesc Solanellas introduced the
Barcelona session and gave a presentation looking back on 25 years of sports events
in Barcelona. Then, Iain Edmondson provided the city perspective with the case
study of London and the 2012 Olympics. The day ended with a tour of the Olympic
Ring by bike.
of the Olympic Ring.
Tuesday 18 June, the group visited the headquarters of Euroleague Basketball. The
participants got to meet among other Xavier Gonzalez (former CEO of IPC), Jordi
Bertomeu Orteu (chief executive and president of Euroleague Basketball), Roser
Queraltó (chief business development officer) and Patrice Coste (commercial
events manager at UEFA SA and former MESGO participant). Prior to the visit of FC
Barcelona stadium and museum through the “Camp Nou Experience”, Javier Sobrino
(strategic planning and innovation director at FC Barcelona) introduced the
governance system and the strategy of FC Barcelona.
Participants at Euroleague Basketball.
At Euroleague Basketball: Presentation of the Euroleague
model by Bertomeu Orteu, chief executive and president of Euroleague Basketball.
Presentation of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four by
Roser Queraltó, chief business development officer, Euroleague Basketball.
Presentation of the UEFA Nations League by Patrice Coste, commercial events manager at UEFA SA and former MESGO
Wednesday’s session was
held at the Barcelona World Race, where Jeremy Cottino from UEFA and former
IOC, presented risk management in a global view to make participants more aware
about the global threats that could happen in a sports event and the way to
prevent them. John Bailey, international expert on crisis communication gave
participants the methodology to collect, process and disseminate information
required to address a crisis communication. The day ended with a catamaran
cruise as part of the week’s social event.
Jeremy Cottino, programme manager, CEO Office, UEFA
John Bailey, managing consultant, Global
The following day, the
MESGO group went to the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.
Joan Fontseré (CEO of the Circuit), provided an
introduction to the circuit. Then, moving on to MotoGP, Pau Serracanta i Marcet, managing director for the commercial area
at Dorna Sports, gave a presentation on Dorna Sports.
Joan Fontseré, CEO, Circuit de
Pau Serracanta i Marcet, managing director for the
commercial area, Dorna Sports.
Holger Preuss (Professor at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz) and Gilbert Felli (former head of the Sport Department at the IOC) concluded the session by presenting the post-event issues (legacy, knowledge transfer and economic impact).
Back at INEFC on the Friday, the
participants defended their MESGO thesis subjects in front of a jury.
The next MESGO
session, which will focus on ethics, will take place in Mainz and Frankfurt am
Main (Germany) from 23 to 27 September 2019.
A participant from the MESGO V edition has been appointed to a new executive position.
Leonid Oleinicenco has has been elected as president of the Football Association of Moldova (FMF). Leonid Oleinicenco was previously the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organisation. Unanimously elected at the association’s extraordinary congress in Chisinau, he succeeded Pavel Cebanu, who spent 22 years at the helm of Moldovan football. He pledged to give greater impetus to the development of football in the country.
The fifth session of MESGO V edition took place in London from 29 April to 3 May 2019. The session was dedicated to Strategic Marketing and directed by Tim Dignard, Manager of UEFA Champions League Sponsorship.
During this week, MESGO participants had the opportunity to attend the presentations in the following locations across London:
Lord’s Cricket Ground
The first day of the marketing week was focused on marketing in general and how marketing activities are or should be applied to the world of sport.
Lord’s Cricket Ground: Presentation about the importance of a strong brand by Adrian Goldthorpe, Chief Executive Officer, Lothar Böhm Associates
Day 2 was dedicated to the sports fan. We dived deeper into the field of digital and social marketing, an area that is becoming more and more important for any sports organisation.
At Twickenham Stadium: Presentation about CRM and the importance of data by Pénélope Tomasi CRM Manager at UEFA.
The following day we took a deep dive into sponsorship from three unique yet equally important angles: the agency, brand and rights holder perspective.
At Chelsea FC: Presentation by Adrian Farina, Head of Marketing at Europe Marketing Visa about Visa and Women’s Football – Purpose, commitment, authenticity
The group visited the facilities of Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge
During the fourth day the focus was entirely on the broadcast environment and broadcast rights – for many rights holders a very important source of income but also the window through which to bring the sport to a wider audience.
Round-table discussion about the future broadcast landscape – BT Tower. The speakers from left to right: Andrew Haworth, Managing Director Strategy and Content, BT; Rhys Beer, Sports Programming Lead, Facebook; Frank Dunne, Chief Footbal Writer, SportBusiness Group; Guy-Laurent Epstein, Marketing Director, UEFA; Ioris Francini, Co-President, WME IMG.
The final day of this MESGO session was focus on the new trends that are re-shaping the way we look at marketing. Influencer marketing has quickly become one of the biggest tactics to reach targeted audiences, leveraged by brands and sporting bodies alike.
At the Shard: Presentation by Arron Shepherd, Co-Founder and Chief Storyteller, The Goat Agency about the rise of influencer marketing.
The next MESGO session which will take place in Barcelona from 17 to 21 June 2019 will focus on sports events.
Three participants of the MESGO V edition were appointed to new senior positions.
Rea Walshe has stepped into the role of interim chief executive at the Football Association of Ireland. Rea Walshe was previously corporate affairs and licensing director at the organisation. Last month she became chief operating officer and took on overall responsibility for FAI governance. Rea Walshe previously worked at Dublin’s Greene Solicitors and at Liberty Insurance. She joined the Football Association of Ireland in May 2014 as head of legal and licensing.
The British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association (BBSA) has announced the appointment of Joanna Poulton as its new Chair. Joanna has joined the Board of the national governing body for the British winter sports of skeleton and bobsleigh with immediate effect, with confirmation of her position as Chair expected at the upcoming Board meeting in April. Her most recent positions were as non-Executive Director with GB Snowsport (the governing body of British Skiing and Snowboarding) and the Royal Yachting Association (the governing body for British Sailing).
Ciska Austin Du Plessis was recently appointed as Vice President of Cycling South Africa. In her role as Vice President and executive board member, Ciska had been tasked to update and maintain the federation’s sporting and governance policies and to play a supportive role to the President, Executive Committee and the various Commissions. She will work closely with staff and all the board members to ensure enhanced performance in all areas by providing training and guidance.
The MESGO V participants were in Strasbourg from 11 to 15 March 2019 for their fourth session, which focused on the legal frameworks in European sport. Codirected by Nathalie Alaphilippe and Jean-Christophe Breillat, both lawyers at CDES.
The participants visited the Ligue de Football du Grand Est on the Monday for an introduction to this legal week. Then, they received a warm welcome from the Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace on the Tuesday, when the CAS arbitrator Efraim Barak presented the management of a legal department and Loïc Alves, lawyer at the European Handball Federation and MESGO IV graduate, explained the importance of sound proceedings in disciplinary matters.
The Wednesday was dedicated to EU law. Hosted by the Council of Europe, one of the MESGO partner, the participants got to meet among other Helen Keller (Judge at the European Court of Uman Rights), Jeroen Schokkenbroek (Director of Anti-Discrimination at the Council of Europ), Agata Dziarnowska (Policy Officer at the European Commission) and Julien Zylberstein (Senior Legal Counsel at UEFA and former MESGO graduate).
Then the MESGO participants had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament and to discuss with Members of the European Parliament: Santiago Fisas from Spain-Co-chair of the Sports Intergroup, Tiziana Beghin from Italy-vice Chair of the Sports Intergroup and Marc Tarabella, co-chair of the Sports Intergroup.
European social dialogue was the main topic discussed on the Thursday, before moving on to EU lobbying on the final day.
As usual, a team-building event was organised during the week – in this case a dinner in a traditional Alsatian brasserie “le Tigre” when we shared some delicious flambé tarts.
The next session, dedicated to strategic marketing, will be held in London from 29 April to 3 May 2015.
From Monday 28 January to 1 February 2019, the MESGO V participants were in Rome for the third session of the programme, which was dedicated to the design and regulation of competitions.
Organised by Sean Hamil, director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, this third session was aimed at examining the external regulatory functions of sports governing bodies, particularly how they apply to the design and regulation of competitions.
The MESGO sessions were held in various locations including the Italian Football Federation, the Olympic Stadium Roma and the Olympic Centre Giulio Onesti where our MESGO graduate – Fiona May, Ex olympian medallist in Track and Field – took part to the session as speaker.
It had also been an opportunity for the participants to listen and discuss with two representatives of two MESGO sport partners namely Michael Heselschwerdt, UEFA Head of Club Competitions and Markus Glaser, EHF Chief Sports Officer. The participants were also delighted to meet Frédéric Bertrand, FIA Director, Circuit Racing Championship Department, as well as David Conn, a journalist for The Guardian.
We would like also to thank all the speakers that came to Rome. Having representatives from FIFA, UEFA, FIGC, CONI, national federations as well as EHF, FIFPro, ECA and CIES was a key component of the week and allowed a powerful interaction with the MESGO participants.
The Thursday evening was dedicated to the visit of the Stadio di Dominiziano, followed by a dinner in a traditional Romanian restaurant as part of the social event.
The fourth MESGO session will be held in Strasbourg next month from 11 to 15 March and will be dedicated to the legal frameworks governing European sport.
At the Italian Football Federation (FIGC): Presentation about the future issues in financial integrity in sport by Jan Peter Dogge, Integrity manager, Royal Netherlands Football Association and MESGO III graduate
At the Italian National Olympic Committee: Welcome by Giovanni Malago, the CONI President and Diego Nepi Molineris, the CONI Director of Marketing
Presentation about Competition design innovation in motorsports by Frédéric Bertrand, Director of Circuit Championships Department – Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (Olympic Center Giulio Onesti)
Presentation about the organisation and structure of Serie A by Marco Brunelli, CIO, Serie A
From 26 to 30 November 2018, the MESGO V participants were in Lausanne, Nyon and Geneva for the second session of the programme, which was dedicated to the governance of sports organisations. This session was led by Professor Jean-Philippe Bonardi, Dean of HEC Lausanne.
During this week, MESGO V participants had the opportunity to go to HEC Lausanne (University of Lausanne), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and finally to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to present and discuss the main challenges, missions and objectives of sports organisations.
The debates focused on the governance of national and international sports organisations, with case studies dedicated to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Other presentations focused on corporate governance issues, innovation in the context of sport and the decision-making processes.
Overall, MESGO V participants have been able to listen, discuss and share their views with senior leaders from various sports organisations, such as:
Marie Sallois, Executive Director for Corporate Development, IOC;
Berti Denervaud, Sports Director, FWT;
Andreas Zagklis, General Counsel/Legal Director, FIBA;
Miles Templeman, Independent Non-Executive Director, Rugby Football Union;
Martin Kallen, Chief Executive Officer, UEFA Events SA
MESGO sessions are also an opportunity for participants to share special moments. Several team-building activities took place during the week, including cooking, wine tasting and a football game.
Next stop will take place in Roma, Italy, from 28 January to 1st February 2019 and will be dedicated to competition design and regulation.