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MESGO congratulates Leonid Oleinicenco

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 MESGO in London for the fifth session

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
  • Twickenham Stadium
  • Chelsea FC
  • BT Tower
  • The Shard

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.

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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.

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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.

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At Chelsea FC: Presentation by Adrian Farina, Head of Marketing at Europe Marketing Visa about Visa and Women’s Football – Purpose, commitment, authenticity

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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.

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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.

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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.

MESGO congratulates Rea Walshe, Joanna Poulton and Ciska Du Plessis Austin

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 fourth MESGO V session took place in Strasbourg

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.

MESGO V participants in Rome for third session

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.

Photo 1At 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

Photo 2At the Italian National Olympic Committee: Welcome by Giovanni Malago, the CONI President and Diego Nepi Molineris, the CONI Director of Marketing

Photo 3Presentation about Competition design innovation in motorsports by Frédéric Bertrand, Director of Circuit Championships Department – Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (Olympic Center Giulio Onesti)

Photo 4Presentation about the organisation and structure of Serie A by Marco Brunelli, CIO, Serie A

Photo 5Visit of the Stadio di Dominiziano, Piazza Navona

Second MESGO session takes place in Switzerland

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.

MESGO V – Let’s start in Paris!

The new MESGO cohort met in the City of Light. “Context of international sport” was the main focus of this first session.

The first session of this fifth MESGO edition took place from 24th to 28th September 2018 in various locations across Paris: Molitor, the French Football Federation (FFF), the French Basketball Federation (FFBB), Paris-Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG) and the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

The main topic, « Context of International Sport », was covered at institutional, legal and economic levels and integrated into the social, technological and media contexts. Current challenges faced by the sports movement were addressed and potential solutions discussed.

During the week, the participants had the opportunity to interact with a large panel of experts in their field, such as:

  • Gabe Shawn Varges, Senior Partner, HCM International
  • Tim Crabbe, CEO, Substance
  • Mogens Kirkeby, President, International Sport and Culture Association
  • Samy Ouerfelli, General Manager, ESL France
  • Lambis Konstantinidis, Director of Planning & Coordination, IOC/IPC Relations and IKM


The new MESGO cohort at the French Football Federation

On Thursday night, the participants, the speakers and several graduates of the previous MESGO editions enjoyed a dinner at La Maison de l’Amérique Latine where they had the chance to taste the fine French cuisine. We took benefit of this occasion to give their diploma to the four MESGO IV participants who successfully defend their thesis prior to this event. Congratulations to Andrew, Patrice, Fiona and Doug!

Next stop will be in Lausanne and Nyon, Switzerland, from 26th to 30th November. “Governance of Sports Organisations” will be the main focus for this second session of the 5th MESGO edition.

Alumnus Focus: Dennis Gudasic

Discover the incredible story of one of our MESGO IV Alumni: Dennis Gudasic.


“Gudasic is now the Executive Director of one of Europe’s fastest growing football clubs, NK Lokomotiva Zagreb. Nevertheless, living in Croatia has not always been easy. Indeed, in 1996, Dennis Gudasic lived in a nation that had seen almost $40 billion worth of infrastructure destroyed and up to 25% of the economy ruined. It was a shocked country that, in some ways, still has not fully recovered.

The decision to remain would be a pivotal moment in Gudasic’s live, one that would eventually help birth not only an independent Croatia, but a prototype football club that now stands as a beacon to all fledgling sporting teams across Europe”.

Read the full article here:


MESGO IV participants graduated at UEFA HQ

Over two days, on 5 and 6 April 2018, 16 participants of the fourth edition of the Executive Master in Sport Governance (MESGO) defended their thesis and received their certificates at the graduation ceremony in Nyon, at the UEFA headquarters.

The graduation ceremony was chaired by Sean Hamil, director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre at the University of London. Also speaking at the ceremony were Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA’s Deputy General Secretary and Jean-Christophe Breillat, president of the CDES. They wished to thank, amongst others, all partners for their contribution to the MESGO programme and congratulate the participants for having successfully completed the 18-month course.

Sean Hamil, Director Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, University of London

Giorgio Marchetti, Deputy General Secretary, UEFA

Jean-Christophe Breillat, president of the Centre of Law and Economics of Sport, University of Limoges

Keynote speaker at the ceremony was the world’s youngest athlete to compete in the Olympic Games in luge, Shiva Keshavan, who is the first Indian to have won an international medal in a winter sport. Shiva Keshavan gave a motivational speech to the graduates, speaking of the need for perseverance, commitment and passion – elements which helped contribute to his successes.

Congratulations to the new graduates of MESGO IV: Loïc Alves, Kevin Ashby, Heidi Beha, Alexander Bielefeld, Razvan Burleanu, Alexandros Gerontikos, Dennis Gudasić, Jakob Høyer, Virgar Hvidbro, Igor Janković, Pavel Kolev, Kepa Larumbe, Jean Michel Ramaroson, Eduardo Tega, Elisa Turrioni and Magdalena Urbańska.

The fifth edition will start in September 2018 and will involve sessions in three new locations: Strasbourg, Rome and Beijing.

Ninth and last MESGO IV session in Tokyo

The final session of the fourth edition of MESGO dedicated to the future of sport took place from 5 to 9 March 2018 in Tokyo.

This session was directed by Holger Preuss and Jean-Jacques Gouguet, respectively professor of sport economics at Johannes Gutenberg University and professor in economics at the University of Limoges.

The Tokyo session was an ideal opportunity for MESGO participants to look at the future challenges they might face as sports industry leaders in the coming period and to analyse their specific organisations in the light of another culture.

The week was rather special, with a conference organised and coordinated by the Tsukuba International Academy for Sport (TIAS), the MESGO local academic partner. The discussion focused on the future of sport governance and challenges faced by sports organisations.

The TIAS conference concluded with joint presentations by TIAS students and MESGO participants, who reflected on the future of sports organisations, the future of competition design/regulation, the future of sports marketing, the future of sports events and future ethical challenges faced by sport.

Earlier, participants were given an outsider’s and insider’s view of Japanese culture and sport, in particular through the presentation of sumo, iconic Japanese sport, by Takanobu Nakajima, the former deputy chairman of the Independent Commission of Governance Overhaul at the Japan Sumo Association.

During the week, the issue of legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games was the hot topic presented by Haruyo Fukuda, director of action and legacy for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

At the Tokyo 2020 venue: Round-table discussion about “Tokyo 2020 and Agenda 2020 – The future of host cities” with Holger Preuss, professor, Johannes Gutenberg University; Haruyo Fukuda, director of action and legacy for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo and Hiromi Kawamura, PR secretary and senior project director for executive office, Tokyo 2020.

Finally, we talked about the future of football in Asia. Our day at the Japan Football Association started with a presentation of the history of Japanese football by Kohzo Tashima, president of the Japan Football Association and ended with a discussion about “markets for sport in Asia” included speakers such as Tom Byer, former AFC technical consultant; Kunihito Morimura, president and CEO at Dentsu Sports Asia and Alex Phillips, head of governance and compliance at UEFA.

At the Japan Football Association: Presentation by Kohzo Tashima, president of the Japan Football Association about football in Japan.

The MESGO participants will meet again at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon on 5 and 6 April as part of the viva voce exam session, during which they will each defend their professional thesis. The graduation ceremony on Friday 6 April will conclude the fourth edition of the programme.

The application process for the next MESGO edition is open until 12:00 CET on Saturday 31 March.