Category Archives: MESGO IV

Congratulations Alexandros !

Alexandros Gerontikos, MESGO IV graduate, is starting a new position as Head of sales Europe & CIS at SPORTRADAR, the leading global sports technology company.

Member of SPORTRADAR for over 10 years, having held the positions of Sales Director Southern Europe and, for the past three years, Regional Sales Director Western Europe, Alexandros has made and continues to make a significant contribution to the development of an industry that puts the protection of sport integrity first.

His new position as Head of Sales responsible for Europe and CIS since 1 January 2023 comes as no surprise to those who know Alexandros, someone with a very strong work ethics, an extensive managerial experience and knowledge in the sports industry, mainly through betting operators around the world, and a passion for his work.

On behalf of all the MESGO community we would like to wish him the best of success in his new role !

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.

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.

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!