Category Archives: News

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!

Executive Committee Elections at European Handball Federation

Michael Wiederer has been elected as new President and Anrijs Brencans, MESGO III graduate, as new member of the executive committee.

Congratulations to Michael Wiederer, former EHF Secretary General, who has been appointed as the new EHF President.

Congratulations as well to Anrijs Brencans, MESGO III graduate, who has been elected as new member of the Executive Committee at EHF. This new position will complement his current role as member of advisory board at the Latvian Handball Federation at, for which he used to be the General Secretary.

This election is the opportunity for the MESGO team to thank warmly Jean Brihault, former EHF President, who has always supported MESGO programme and its values. The MESGO team is looking forward to cooperating further on with the new President.

Executive Committee 2016 European Handball Federation

Source: EHF Website,

MESGO IV Participants met at University of Lausanne in Switzerland for Session 2 !

MESGO IV: on the Agenda for Session 2: Governance of Sports Organizations with Professor Jean-Philippe Bonardi, Dean of HEC Lausanne and MESGO Session Director.

MESGO Director Jean-Philippe Bonardi

Lausanne region was the perfect place to gain insights and first-hand experience of sports organisations and their governance models. During one week, MESGO IV participants had the opportunity to go to the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the International Motorcycle Federation (FIM), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and finally to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to discuss corporate governance systems, decision-making processes and commercial revenue-generating activities through which sports governing bodies operationalise their missions and objectives. To conclude the week, the MESGO team went to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to tackle governance from another perspective.

Session 2 MESGO IV Participants UEFA

Overall, MESGO IV participants have been able to listen, discuss and share their views with senior leaders from various sports organisations, notably :

  • Steve Aeschlimann, Executive Director, Operations, International Motorcycling Federation (FIM);
  • Fabio Azevedo, General Director, International Volleyball Federation (FIVB);
  • Patrick Baumann, Secretary General, International Basketball Federation (FIBA);
  • François Carrard, Attorney at law, Partner of Kellerhals Carrard and President of the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee;
  • Martin Kallen, Chief Executive Officer, UEFA Events SA and
  • Jean-Louis Valentin, FIA Secretary of General for Motor Sport (FIA).

MESGO sessions are also an opportunity for participants to share special moments amongst them and with experienced professionals from the sport industry. Several team-building activities took place during the week, including cooking, wine testing and a football game.

Session 2 MESGO 4 Participants cooking

Session 2 MESGO IV Participants wine testing

Session 2 MESGO IV Participants football game

Next stop will take place in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, from 30 January to 3 February 2017. “Competition Design and Regulation” will be the focus for this third session of MESGO IV.

Great start for the 4th MESGO edition in Paris!

The 26 MESGO participants, of 21 different nationalities, met in the City of Light. “Context of international sport” was the main focus of this first session.

The first session of this 4th MESGO edition took place from 19th to 23rd September 2016 in various locations across Paris: French Olympic Committee (CNOSF), the French Football Federation (FFF), the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) and the French Ministry of Urban Affairs, Youth and Sports.

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:


MESGO 4th edition participants Paris

The 26 MESGO IV participants, with Anne Brasseur (Deputy, Council of Europe).

After their first day, the participants, the speakers and several graduates of the previous MESGO editions enjoyed a dinner at Le Chalet des Iles where they had the chance to taste the fine French cuisine.

Next stop will be in Lausanne and Nyon, Switzerland, from 31st October to 4th November. “Governance of Sports Organisations” will be the main focus for this second session of the 4th MESGO edition.

MESGO graduate, Mr. Popovski, has been appointed General Secretary of the Football Association of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

It is with great pleasure that the MESGO team announces that Mr. Popovski – MESGO graduate, second edition – has now been appointed as General Secretary of the Football Association of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The MESGO team wishes him all the best in his new position and every success for the future. We believe that the courses he undertook within the MESGO programme will help him address his future challenges.

Legacy, Sustainability and CSR at Mega Sport Events

The MESGO team and UEFA are proud to announce that Pierre Lienhard, participant of the first MESGO program from 2010-2012, wrote a book co-authored with Prof. Dr. Holger Preuss. The book – An insightful text about legacy, sustainability and CSR at Mega Sport Events – has been published by the end of July 2014 at Springer Gabler. An Analysis of the UEFA European Football Championship 2008 in Switzerland with a foreword by Dr. h.c. Adolf Ogi, former President (1993 and 2000) and Federal Councillor (1988-2000) of the Swiss Confederation and former Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace to the Secretary General of the United Nations (2001-2007).

The UEFA European Football Championship 2008 (EURO 2008) was the largest sports event ever organized in Switzerland. The host nations Austria and Switzerland emphasized the sustainability of the event. Through their analysis the authors argue that well-known principles of sustainability and policy were not uniformly implemented for the EURO 2008. Nonetheless, this book shows how, in Switzerland, a legacy was created through the implementation of corporate governance and social responsibility policies by UEFA, the Swiss Government and the Swiss Football Association. This book offers an unprecedented resource for sports practitioners and researchers. It provides a wealth of data based on the study of existing scholarly literature, key strategic and conceptual documents as well as exclusive interviews with high-level executives involved in the organization of EURO 2008.

The preface written by Dr. h.c. Adolf Ogi , the table of contents and some sample pages can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


Profound sadness among the MESGO family

It is with profound sadness that the MESGO family yesterday learned about the sudden and unexpected passing away of Olafur Rafnsson, President of FIBA-Europe and of the Icelandic Olympic Committee. Olafur was a MESGO graduate of the programme’s first intake.

Olafur will be deeply missed by both the MESGO family and the basketball and sport communities.

Our thoughts are with Olafur’s family, FIBA-Europe and everybody who had the pleasure of sharing precious moments with him.

The MESGO team

Yannick Souvré, MESGO participant, wins trophy for the best female athlete’s conversion in 2012

Organised by the tourist office of La Toussuire – Les Sybelles, the Centre de Droit et d’Economie du Sport of Limoges (CDES, MESGO academic partner) and MG Sport Pro (association of general managers graduated by CDES), the fourth Toussuire Sports Conversion Trophy awards ceremony was held in La Toussuire, a French ski resort, on 9 January 2012. The purpose of the awards is to highlight the most successful career changes of retired athletes.

With a jury chaired by Olympic ski champion Jean Pierre Vidal, the 2012 trophies were awarded to Marc Lievremont (rugby), for the best conversion to general manager; Laurent Jalabert (cycling), for the best male athlete’s conversion; and Yannick Souvré (pictured), for the best female athlete’s conversion.

The MESGO congratulates Yannick on her well-deserved award.