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Welcome to our new partner: the Council of Europe

We are very proud to announce that the Council of Europe is joining MESGO as partner as of MESGO fifth edition. It will give government authority sports officials the chance to enhance their professional skills alongside representatives of sports bodies.

MESGO is expanding its reach to public authorities active in the field of sport through a cooperation agreement with the Council of Europe.

The agreement, under the auspices of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), breaks new ground for the MESGO programme, which has provided a vital source of learning, training and personal development, as well as contributing to the further development of sports bodies across this continent and beyond.

MESGO aims to attract participants from diverse countries and backgrounds. The objective of developing a partnership through this agreement is for participants from public authorities in charge of sport in a variety of countries to fine-tune their skills, knowledge and expertise.

For more details

The MESGO logo is getting a (slightly) new look!

With the overwhelming success of the previous 4 MESGO sessions in Europe, the direction of the program has made the decision to open the course up to the global market.

Following that decision, we have made some changes to our logo.


As you may have noticed, MESGO no longer stands for “Executive Master in European Sport Governance” but for “Executive Master in Sport Governance” reflecting the aforementioned openness to an international audience. This change will help us best position the program internationally.

We would like to thank all current and past participants for helping us make the MESGO what it is today and hope you like the revised logo of the course!

The MESGO Team

The MESGO in New York for the eighth session

From 4 to 8 December 2017, the MESGO IV participants were in New York for the penultimate session of the programme, which was dedicated to the North American sports model.

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), the National Basketball Association (NBA), St John’s University, the FC Barcelona New York Office, the Major League Baseball (MLB) and Turner Sport (Bleacher Report office).

The participants were able to discuss the distinctive features of the American sports system, such as the salary caps, the draft and revenue-sharing systems, with prestigious speakers including Sunil Gulati (President of the US Soccer Federation), Mark Tatum (Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, NBA), Jorge Perez (Senior Vice President of International Affairs and Litigations, MLB) and Matt Hong (Chief Operating Officer, Turner Sport).

Among the other topics covered during the week were college athletics and the university sports system (NCAA), the peculiar relationship between competition law and professional leagues in North America, with the specific case of baseball and the importance of collective bargaining agreements as well as the changing sports media landscape in the United States.

Participants also had the opportunity to attend a basketball game at the prestigious Madison Square Garden.

The next and final MESGO session will take place in Tokyo (Japan) from 5 to 9 March 2018 and will be dedicated to the future of sport.

Start of session 8 with the presentation of the development of soccer in the United States in the last 30 years by Sunil Gulati, President of the US Soccer Federation and Professor of Economics at Columbia University.

The MESGO IV participants at the Major League Soccer (MLS)

At the National Basketball Association (NBA): Welcome by Mark Tatum, NBA Deputy Commissioner.

Workshop related to European and American sport model with students from St John’s University.

At the Major League Baseball (MLB): Welcome by Jorge Perez, the MLB Senior Vice President of International Affairs and Litigation.

Presentation about NFL experience by Andrew Brandt, Former NFL Franchise Manager (Turner Sports – Bleacher Report office).

Ethics in Sports. Discover the 7th session of the MESGO that took place in Mainz and Frankfurt

The seventh session of the MESGO programme, dedicated to ethics took place from 25 to 29 September 2017 in Mainz and Frankfurt.

Directed by Holger Preuss and Volker Bernardi, respectively professor of sport economics and sport sociology and sports law lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the objective of this session was to introduce participants to the ethical challenges of sports governance and gave them the opportunity to reflect together in some depth on the different topics through work exercises.

The five days of this session were each hosted by a different academic or sports institution: Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (MESGO partner); German Football Association (DFB); Opel Arena (Mainz 05 Stadium); Kupferbergterrasse (event location); German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB).

The week started with a workshop directed by Mike McNamee, professor of applied ethics at the College of Engineering at Swansea University, who introduced the participants to the basics of ethics and sports.


At the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz: presentation about the basics of ethical behaviour by Mike McNamee.

On Tuesday, the participants had the opportunity to discuss about match manipulation, illegal betting, match fixing, corruption, integrity and compliance in sport with highly qualified experts: Andrew Harvey (Lecturer, Swansea University), Daniela Giuffré (international match–fixing expert and former head of the integrity in sport unit, Interpol), Dr Jim Parry (professor, Charles University Prague) and Sylvia Schenk (lawyer and senior adviser for sport, Transparency International).


Round-table discussion about ethical governance of football – German Football Association (DFB). The speakers (from left to right): Dr Holger Preuss – moderator, Sylvia Schenk, Daniela Giuffré and Jim Parry.

During the two following days, the debates focused on ethical questions concerning the inclusion of disabled people and athletes, the social responsibility of sport and the fight against doping.


The day began with a guided tour of the OPEL ARENA (MAINZ 05 STADIUM).


Presentation about ethical challenges of the – factor system – in alpine skiing by Matthias Berg, Paralympic athlete and lawyer.


Frédéric Donzé, chief officer at the World Anti-Doping Agency, shared insider views regarding the global fight against doping.


At the Kupferbergterrasse, Claudia Bokel, Olympic medalist and former chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, shared with the participants her perspective on fight against doping.

On Friday, Marie Sallois-Dembreville (director of the IOC’s Corporate Development, Brand and Sustainability department) and David Stubbs (former head of sustainability, London Olympic Games 2012) have organized two workshops allowing participants to discuss about the need for greater sustainability in sport.


Workshop about learning from the IOC sustainability strategy journey moderated by Marie Sallois-Dembreville at the German Olympic Sports Confederation.

Social and sporting activities were held to mark this week in Mainz.


Guided tour of the Kupferberg wine cellars followed by a dinner at the Kupferberg restaurant.


Football match between participants at the Johannes Gutenberg University.

The next session will take place in New York City in December, when the North American model of sport will be studied in depth.

Barcelona, the ideal location to discuss about the successful organisation of sports events!

From Monday 19 to Friday 23 June 2017, the MESGO IV participants were in Barcelona for the sixth session of the programme, which was dedicated to the organisation of sports events.

Organised by Francesc Solanellas and Andreu Camps i Povill, both professors at INEFC (Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya) which has been an academic partner of the MESGO programme since its first edition in 2010, this sixth session was aimed at examining the critical elements in the successful organisation of sports event.

1. Introduction to Session 6 by Francesc Solanellas

Introduction to Session 6 by Francesc Solanellas, professor in sports management at INEFC, at the Euroleague Basketball headquarters.

Various topics and issues were tackled during the week, in particular:

  • Previous experiences (Olympic Games, events, cities and best practices);
  • Bidding process (Why? What? When? Where? How?);
  • Governance models and main stakeholders;
  • Implementation of the event, with a focus on risk and crisis management;
  • Post-event issues (legacy, knowledge transfer and economic impact).

The MESGO session was held in various locations including the Euroleague Basketball headquarters, Barcelona World Race, Barcelona-Catalunya circuit and the RCD Espanyol Stadium.

2. Visit of FC Barcelona facilities at Camp Nou

Visit of FC Barcelona’s facilities at Camp Nou.

3. Chris Pollard's presentation at the Barcelona World Race

At the Barcelona World Race headquarters: presentation about knowledge transfer for the Olympic Games by Chris Pollard, IOC consultant.

We would like to thank all the speakers that contribute to this session: Jordi Bertomeu Orteu and Roser Queraltó (Euroleague Basketball), Chris Pollard (IOC consultant), Javier Sobrino (FC Barcelona), Vicenç Aguilera (Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya), Pau Serracanta i Marcet (Dorna Sports), Petr Stastny (IAAF Diamond League) and Mark Fenwick (architect of RCD Espanyol Stadium), to name only a few.

4. Guided visit of RCD Espanyol Stadium by its architect Mark Fenwick

Guided visit of RCD Espanyol Stadium by its architect Mark Fenwick.

It was also an opportunity for the participants to listen and discuss with key representatives of MESGO sports partners: Lisa Wiederer (EHF Marketing), Jacques Hussy and Grégory Lepesqueux (UEFA) and also two former participants: David Rouger and Elkhan Mammadov. The MESGO team is very grateful to all of them for their availability and willingness to share their experiences.

5. Podium of the karting race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

The winners of the karting race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

On Thursday evening, a round-table discussion about the future of sports events was organised at the Museum and Study Centre of Sport Doctor Melcior Colet with various experts: Dr Holger Preuss (Professor at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz), Jean-Loup Chappelet (Professor at IDHEAP, University of Lausanne), Iain Edmondson (Head of Major Events at London & Partners) and Enric Truñó i Lagares (sports consultant and former commissioner responsible for the management of the Barcelona-Pyrenees bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics). After an introduction speech given by Gerard M. Figueras i Albà, (General Secretary for Sports at the Generalitat de Catalunya), the panel was moderated by Francesc Solanellas, professor of sports management at INEFC and organiser of this discussion.

6. Speakers_Sports events in the future

The speakers of the round-table discussion (from left to right): Enric Truñó i Lagares, Francesc Solanellas, Gerard M. Figueras i Albà, Dr Holger Preuss, Iain Edmondson and Jean-Loup Chappelet.

On Friday, the participants gave oral presentations on their thesis subjects to their mentors and members of the Scientific Committee; a first compulsory step towards the completion of their Executive Master’s degree in European Sport Governance.

7. The MESGO team at INEFC

The MESGO team at INEFC.

The next MESGO session, which will focus on ethics, will take place in Mainz and Frankfurt am Main (Germany) from 25 to 29 September 2017.

Congratulations to two of our MESGO representatives recently elected at the UEFA Foundation for Children!

On 24 May, the Board of Trustees of the UEFA Foundation for Children met at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm under the stewardship of its chairman, José Manuel Durão Barroso.

At the meeting in Stockholm, four new members were elected by the necessary two-thirds majority of the members of the Board of Trustees, as required by the Organisational Regulations of the UEFA Foundation for Children, joining the five existing members.

The four new members are:

  • Ms Fiona May, former long jumper and a member of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee and MESGO IV Participant;
  • Mr Elkhan Mammadov, the general secretary of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan and a member of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee and MESGO III Graduate;
  • Ms Esther Gascón Carbajosa, the new general secretary of the Royal Spanish Football Federation;
  • Ms Nathalie Iannetta, UEFA’s chief adviser on governmental and social matters.

May-MammadovElkhan Mammadov and Fiona May, respectively MESGO III graduate and MESGO IV participant, both newly elected members of the UEFA Foundation for Children.

The UEFA Foundation for Children was established on the initiative of the former UEFA President, Michel Platini, reflecting UEFA’s desire to play a more active role in society. The foundation, which is a public body governed by Swiss law, was formally established and began operating on 24 April 2015.


The MESGO in London for the 5th Session

The fifth session of MESGO IV edition took place in London from 24 to 28 April 2017. Dedicated to Strategic Marketing and directed by Peter Willems, Head of Marketing Activities and Sponsorship for UEFA Events SA, the week started with a presentation by Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP.

Sir Martin Sorrell marketing presentation

Sir Martin Sorrell giving a presentation about marketing at WPP Brand Union.

On Tuesday, the participants were hosted at Lord’s Cricket Ground where a round-table discussion was organised about digital marketing and fan engagement, with speakers from the NBA, Facebook, the SPORTBible (LADbible Group) and Seven League.

Lords Cricket Ground

The MESGO IV participants at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The following day took place at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC. After Nuno Moura’s participation as an expert to answer the case study about the marketing plan of a football match, providing the Portuguese FA’s insight, the rest of the Wednesday’s session was dedicated to sponsorship with speakers from Octagon, Hibernian FC, Nissan Motor Corporation and Publicis Media Sports & Entertainments (PMSE).

MESGO Groupe at Chelsea Football Club

The group at Chelsea Football Club.

Day 4 was organised at ITV within the London Television Centre. In addition to Fiona Green’s contribution about customer relationship management (CRM) applied to the world of taekwondo, as the director and co-founder of WINNERS, the participants had also the opportunity to listen to speakers representing IMG, the National Football League (NFL), Eurosport and DAZN.

future of sports MESGO 5th session

Round-table discussion about the future of sports rights with, from left to right: Robin Jellis (Editor for TV Sports Markets at SportBusiness Group) as a moderator, John Gleasure (Chief Commercial Officer at DAZN, part of the Perform Group), Peter Hutton (Chief Executive Officer at Eurosport) and Maurice Tollenaar (Head of Media Rights and Services at UEFA).

On Thursday evening, the social event of the week co-organised by Global Sports Jobs and Birkbeck Sport Business Centre was about networking with potential MESGO applicants and HR managers for the upcoming edition starting in September 2018 as well as some MESGO graduates.

The marketing session ended at the Tower Room (London & Partners), with a round-table discussion about the business of growing grassroots, moderated by Liam Mc Groarty, Marketing Manager at UEFA. The panellists included Simon Cooper, Head of Sport at the Mayor of London’s Office, among others.

London & Partners

Round-up of the week at the Tower Room (London & Partners).

The afternoon was then dedicated to the third MESGO Alumni event organised by the MESGO Alumni Association. After their General Assembly, a keynote address about how large international sports federations would be (re)structured, in an ideal world was given by Alex Phillips, Head of Asia-Europe Affairs at UEFA (seconded to the Asian Football Confederation) and MESGO I graduate.

keynote speaker and MESGO I graduate

Alex Phillips, keynote speaker and MESGO I graduate during the MESGO Alumni event.

An alumni dinner and party followed in a London restaurant.

The next MESGO session which will take place in Barcelona from 19 to 23 June 2017 will focus on sports events.

An overview of the MESGO legal session in Brussels

As usual during the MESGO programme, the fourth session was organised in Brussels and dedicated to Legal Frameworks. Codirected by Nathalie Alaphilippe and Jean-Christophe Breillat, both lawyers at CDES, this session took place from 13 to 17 March 2017 in different venues such as the Constant Vanden Stock stadium, the Royal Belgian Football Association, the DG Education and Culture of the European Commission (including the Sport Unit) and EU Athletes within UNI Europa headquarters.

MESGO session 4 introduction

Introduction of Session 4 by Nathalie Alaphilippe and Jean-Christophe Breillat at Constant Vanden Stock stadium.

The legal session started on Monday afternoon with a presentation about the basics of Swiss law by Michele Bernasconi (partner at Bär & Karrer AG), before moving to a round-table discussion with Antonio Rigozzi (lawyer acting before CAS) and Reiner Martens (CAS arbitrator). On Tuesday, after a welcome speech given by Koen De Brabander (Secretary General of the Royal Belgian FA), the MESGO participants had an overview of the legal department of the FC Bayern München by Michael Gerlinger (legal director). In the afternoon, after a presentation by Michael Beloff QC on the importance of sound proceedings as regards the disciplinary powers of sports organisations, Professor Richard McLaren provided a presentation about investigations by an independent party, following his two reports on WADA investigation on Sochi allegations.

MESGO session 4 Richard McLaren’s presentation

At the Royal Belgian FA: Richard McLaren’s presentation about investigations by an independent party.

The following day took place within the Sport Unit at the DG Education of Culture of the European Commission and was dedicated to EU law and its application to sport. After a presentation on the fundamentals of EU Law and sport by Michele Colucci (lecturer in sports law and member of the legal sector at the European Personnel Selection Office), the participants were explained the aim of European social dialogue by Emilie Coconnier (administrative and financial director of COSMOS). Then, the afternoon started with a presentation on EU Law and its application to sport from the sport’s movement perspective with Julien Zylberstein (UEFA legal counsel), the latter also moderating the roundtable discussion that followed on the relation between the EU Commission and sport with Gianluca Monte (Case Handler within the DG Competition of the European Commission) and Szabolcs Horváth (responsible for European sports policy as a cabinet member of EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics). The day ended with role playing cases led by Prune Rocipon (legal counsel at the French ice hockey federation), and a range of indoor sporting activities (squash, spinning and climbing).

Welcome speech by Yves Le Lostecque

Welcome speech by Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the Sport Unit, DG Education and Culture of the European Commission.

Day 4 was organised at the UEFA representative office to the European Union where Doris Pack, President of EPP Women and former member of the European Parliament provided her perspective about the current challenges and future trends of EU law related to sport. The MESGO participants then presented two case studies: one about the FIA’s judicial mechanisms and the other about EU law and sports governance. The day ended with a methodology workshop about the MESGO professional thesis, followed by the social event of the week: beer tasting before having dinner in a restaurant.

Methodology workshop directed by Jean-Jacques Gouguet

Methodology workshop directed by Jean-Jacques Gouguet, Emeritus professor of the University of Limoges and Head of Economic Studies at the Centre for the Law and Economics of Sport (CDES).

The legal session ended at EU Athletes, with a round-table discussion about EU lobbying, as a way of bringing perspectives from other sectors. The speakers were David Frommer, Senior Strategic Advisor at the European Club Association (ECA), Jean-François Reymond, General Secretary of EU Athletes and Director of the French Basketball Player Association (SNB) and Glenn Cezanne, Managing Director of Time & Place Consulting and former Executive Director of the European Casino Association.

workshop directed by Jean-Jacques Gouguet

Round-table discussion about EU lobbying with, from left to right: David Frommer, Jean-François Reymond and the moderator, Glenn Cezanne.

The next MESGO session which will take place in London from 24 to 28 April June 2017 will focus on strategic marketing. It will end with the MESGO Alumni event gathering graduates of the three previous MESGO editions and the current participants.

MESGO congratulates Joyce Cook, Bjorn Vassallo and Emily Shaw

Three participants of the MESGO IV edition (Joyce Cook, Bjorn Vassallo and Emily Shaw) were appointed in the FIFA administration.

FIFA appointed Joyce Cook as Chief Member Associations Officer
Joyce Cook - Centre for Access to Football in EuropeCongratulations to Joyce Cook who was appointed to a senior management role at FIFA. The Chief Member Associations Officer position was created as part of the restructuring of FIFA’s administration and entails the delivery of a key goal in the recently established FIFA vision: investment in football development through FIFA’s 211 member associations under the FIFA Forward Programme. Joyce reports directly to FIFA Deputy Secretary General (Football) Zvonimir Boban, and she is part of the FIFA Management Board. Joyce resigned from her position as Founding and Managing Director of CAFE, the Centre for Access to Football in Europe.

FIFA appointed Bjorn Vassallo as Director of the member associations of Europe.
Bjorn Vassallo - Malta Football AssociationCongratulations to Bjorn Vassallo, who resigned from his position as General Secretary of the Malta Football Association to become the Director of the member associations of Europe. This appointment is part of the new FIFA vision, developed by Gianni Infantino: the member associations are to benefit from increased funds, totalling almost $ 4bn to aid the development of football and enhance governance. Bjorn Vassallo started his new FIFA job in December 2016. As Joyce Cook, he works under the guidance of Zvonimir Boban, the former Croatia stalwart who in May joined Infantino’s crew as special advisor on football matters.

FIFA appointed Emily Shaw as Head of Governance and Leadership
Emily Shaw - UEFACongratulations to Emily Shaw, who resigned from her position as Women Football Development Manager at UEFA to become the Head of Governance and Leadership in the newly created Women’s Football division at FIFA. Her new role involves various matters on women’s football and women in football. It mostly focuses on ensuring that women’s football is properly integrated into the governance of member associations. Emily also plays a role in supporting and empowering women in football to acquire more decision making roles within the world of football.

The MESGO Team wishes them all the best in their new roles!

3rd session of MESGO IV: Amsterdam, here we go!

From Monday 30 January to 3 February 2017, the MESGO IV participants were in Amsterdam 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, which has been an academic partner of the MESGO programme since its first edition in 2010, 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.

Several different aspects were assessed, in particular:

  • the role of sports governing bodies/competition organisers
  • the specific role of licensing/financial fair play systems
  • the importance of the effective regulation of sports labour markets

The MESGO sessions were held in various locations including the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, the FIFPRO house and the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) HQ where our MESGO III graduate – Jan Peter Dogge, Licensing Manager – took part to the session as speaker.

It had also been an opportunity for the participants to listen and discuss with two key representatives of two MESGO sport partners namely Michael Wiederer, EHF President & CEO and Horst Lichtner, IIHF General Secretary.

We would like also to thank all the speakers that came to Amsterdam. Having representatives from FIFA, UEFA, Premier League, FIBA, national federations as well as EPRC, IIHF, EHF, FIFPro, ECA and CIES was a key component of the week and allowed a powerful interaction with the MESGO participants.

The fourth MESGO session will be held in Brussels next month from 13 to 17 March and will be dedicated to the legal frameworks governing European sport.


The MESGO IV participants at the Amsterdam ArenA


Jonas Baer-Hoffmann
Director Policy at FIFPro, presenting the player union perspective within the international player transfer market


Horst Lichtner
Secretary General of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and MESGO I graduate


Michael Wiederer
President of the European Handball Federation (EHF)