Robert Caldwell, a participant from the MESGO current edition, has started a new position as VP of Legal & General Counsel of Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer) and Utah Royals FC (National Women’s Soccer League).
After law school, Robert worked for a private law firm in Las Vegas, where his practice focused on sports law, international law, and business transactions and litigation. He represented athletes and teams across multiple sports, including assisting ownership groups in purchasing existing teams or starting expansion franchises.
In 2020, he moved to Miami to help Khabib Nurmagomedov found Eagle FC, a start-up mixed martial arts (MMA) league. Their successful first event drew 500,000 viewers from more than 180 countries around the world.
Following this, he has decided to follow his heart back to football and is now the VP of Legal & General Counsel for Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the expansion Utah Royals FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
On behalf of all the MESGO community we would like to wish him the best of success in his new role!
From Monday 26 to Friday 30 June 2023, the MESGO VII participants were in Barcelona for the fifth session of the programme, which was dedicated to sports events and participation.
Organised by Francesc Solanellas, professor in sports management at Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya (National Physical Education Institute of Catalonia), this session was aimed at examining how sports events are organised by taking a look at the various stakeholders, stages and procedures involved in different sports and events of varying scales. The topic of participation was also tackled, given the impact that events have on sports and the common strategic objective of national and international federations to promote their respective sports.
Francesc Solanellas, session director and professor of sport management at INEFC.
During this week, the MESGO participants were warmly welcomed by the Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya (INEFC); the RCD Espanyol Stadium, the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit and Barcelona World Race.
The MESGO group at RCD Espanyol Stadium.
The MESGO group at the circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
We would like to sincerely thank all the speakers who contributed to this session including key representatives of MESGO sports partners (FIBA, IIHF and UEFA) who did us the honour of attending the seminar. A special thanks goes to Robert Rieblinger, 3X3 Development Manager (FIBA) and Florian Pasquet, National Federations and Sport Senior Manager (FIBA) for their contribution to the case study on the future development of 3×3 Basketball, which was debated by the participants.
Andreas Schär, Managing Director, Euro 2024
Barbara Storaci, Senior Project Manager, Football Planning & Services, UEFA
Leslie Ryan, Event Director, America’s Cup
Manel Arroyo, Strategic Advisor, DORNA
Gorka Llort, Director of Digital Business, MotoGP
Jeremy Cottino, Membership Project Leader, European Club Association
Neil Beecroft, Chief Disruption Officer, The Shift Agency
Layne Vandenberg, Executive Office Project Manager, UEFA
Miguel Crespo, Head Participation and Education, International Tennis Federation Rachel Pavlou, Women’s Development Manager – Diversity & Inclusion, The English FA Kalle Valiäho, Development Director, International Ice Hockey Federation
André Fläckel, Head of Gaming and Esports, Infront Sports Gustavo Arellano, Head of Commercial Development, FIBA
As usual, team-building events were organised during the week, in this case, participants competed against each other in a kart racing competition and experienced the Barcelona skyline in a unique way cruising aboard a catamaran.
The next MESGO session, which will focus on strategic marketing and communication, will take place in London (UK) from 30 October to 3 November 2023.
A participant from the current MESGO edition has been appointed to a new executive position.
Since January, Stefan Gunnarsson has stepped into the role of Club Licensing and Development Director at the United Arab Emirates Pro League. Stefan was previously Head of Marketing and Commercial at the Icelandic Football Association (KSI), and has over 20 years’ of marketing experience. He joined the Icelandic Football Association in 2018 after ten years as the head of VERT Marketing Agency, marketing consulting company that he co-founded in 2009.
We would like to wish him the best of success in his new role at the Pro League, where Stefan will work to enhance the work of the Pro League clubs on various issues.
From 6 to 10 March 2023, the MESGO VII participants were in Germany (Mainz and Frankfurt) for Session 4 of the programme. Directed by both Mathias Schubert and Volker Bernardi, senior researcher and sports law lecturer, respectively, at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Mathias Schubert, Senior Researcher, JGU Mainz
Volker Bernardi, Sports Law Lecturer, JGU Mainz
The session covered several topics related to ethics and integrity in sport, such as; safeguarding and abuse, ethical responsibility of leaders, sports and human rights, freedom of speech and athlete activism, diversity and discrimination including the governance of World Para Sports.
Participants had the opportunity to reflect collectively in some depth on the different topics through work exercises but also by interacting with a large panel of experts in their field. A warm thank you to all the speakers for their high-level contributions to the session!
At the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz: Presentation about “Ethics and Integrity in Sport: Introduction & Workshop” by Mike Mcnamee, Professor, KU Leuven & Swansea University
At the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz: Presentation about “Monitoring Good Governance and Ethical Principles in Practice: The Example of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF)” by Alexander McLin, Director, Gymnastics Ethics Foundation
At the German Olympic Sports Confederation: Presentation about “The Sports Good Governance Game – Inspire Sport Managers to Become Ethical Leaders” by Abigail Levrau, Professor, Executive Committee Member of GUBERNA & Mathieu Marlier, Professor, Lunex University, Luxemburg
The MESGO group at the German Olympic Sports Confederation
At the German Football Association: Presentation about “Sports and Human Rights” by David Grevemberg, Chief Innovation and Partnerships Officer, The Centre for Sport and Human Rights
The MESGO group at the German Football Association
At the MEWA Arena (MAINZ 05 STADIUM): Presentation about “Diversity in Sports: A Sport Governing Body Perspective” by Ivo Ferriani, IOC member; Member of IOC Gender Equality Diversity and Inclusion Commission; President, International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation
The MESGO group at the MEWA Arena
At the EURO 2024 Headquarters: Welcome speech by Markus Stenger, Managing Director, Euro 2024 GmbH & Mex Schär, Managing Director, Euro 2024 GmbH
At the EURO 2024 Headquarters: Open Debate about “the Athlete as Gladiator in Modern Sport: Towards Occupationalisation?” with Matthias Hofbauer, Former Professional Floorball Player, Member of the International World Games Association (IWGA) athletes’ commission; Dr Jürgen Mittag, Professor, German Sport University, Cologne & Rachel Smith, OLY, Athlete Service Manager of Team GB, British Olympic Association (BOA)
In terms of entertainment, the participants had the opportunity to play football at the new DFB-Campus and indoor climbing as well as enjoying excellent traditional German cuisine.
The next MESGO session will take place in Barcelona (Spain) from 26 to 30 June 2023 and will be dedicated to Events and Participation.
The third session of MESGO VII edition took place in Brussels from 16 to 20 January 2023. The session was dedicated to the legal framework in sport and co-directed by Nathalie Alaphilippe and Jean-Christophe Breillat, both lawyers at CDES.
Nathalie Alaphilippe, Lawyer and MESGO director, CDES
Jean-Christophe Breillat, Head of Legal Affairs, CDES
Throughout the week, MESGO participants had the opportunity to attend the presentations in the following locations across Brussels
The session started on Monday afternoon with two introductory presentations on the concept of lex sportiva by Franck Latty (Professor of International Law, University of Paris 13) and the basics of Swiss by Antonio Rigozzi (Attorney-at-law, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler). Then, we moved to a round-table discussion with Antonio Rigozzi (Attorney-at-law, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler), Catherine Pitre (Head of Case Management, Sport Resolutions) and Rui Botica Santos (Founding Partner of CRA Law Firm, CAS arbitrator).
Loto Park: Round-table discussion about “Arbitration in Sport: pros and cons. Is CAS the only remedy?” with Rui Botica Santos (Founding Partner of CRA Law Firm, CAS arbitrator), Catherine Pitre (Head of Case Management, Sport Resolutions) and Antonio Rigozzi (Attorney-at-law, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler).
On Tuesday, following a welcome speech given by Sylvie Marissal (Human Resources Director, Royal Belgian Football Association), we discussed in-house legal management within sporting organisations, by introducing the question of disciplinary proceedings and legal strategy. The issue of the fight against doping was also discussed.
Royal Belgian Football Association: Presentation about “the management of a legal department: from legal strategy to risk management” by Efraim Barak (Founder of Efraim Barak, Sport Law and Consultancy)
Royal Belgian Football Association: Presentation about “The disciplinary powers of sports organisations: the importance of sound proceedings” by Loïc Alves (Legal Counsel, FIFPRO and MESGO IV graduate)
Royal Belgian Football Association: Presentation of WADA by Benjamin Cohen (General Director, International Testing Agency (ITA))
Royal Belgian Football Association: Round-table discussion about “The anti-doping example – the importance of global harmonisation and perspective for other areas (match fixing/ abuse in sport…)” with Jean-Christophe Breillat (Lawyer, CDES), Benjamin Cohen (General Director, Independent testing authority (ITA)), Sophie Kwasny (Head of the Sport division, EPAS executive secretary, Council of Europe) and Christian Kalb (Director, CK Consulting)
The following day was dedicated to EU law and its application to sport. After a presentation on the fundamentals of EU Law and sport by Michele Colucci (Member of the Ethics Unit, European Commission), the MESGO participants had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament and to discuss the sustainability of the European model of sport.
Business & Science Poland: Presentation about “EU law and sport: in the name of autonomy and specificity of sport” by Michele Colucci (Member of the Ethics Unit, European Commission)
European Parliament: Round-table discussion about “the sustainability of the European model of sport” with Jean-François Brocard (Associate Professor and Economist, CDES), Alexandre Husting (Youth, Culture and Sport Attaché of the Permanent Representation of Luxemburg to the EU), Laura Vilches (Head of European Public Affairs, La Liga), Katarzyna Biniaszczyk (Coordinator of the Sports Group, European Parliament – MESGO V graduate), Matteo Zacchetti (Policy Officer, Sport Unit, DG EAC, European Commission) and Benoît Keane (Solicitor, Keane Legal, Brussels)
Day 4 was organised at Autoworld Brussels where the MESGO participants presented a case study about the FIM’s judicial system and had the opportunity to discuss their reflections with our two experts, Françoise Emery (CEO, Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, FIM) and Alejandra Salmerón García (Senior Legal Counsel, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, FIA). Following this, Yves Le Lostecque (Head of Erasmus Mundus and Sport Unit, EACEA) provided an overview of the European funding sources available for the sports sector, before the workshop on “Creative Thinking” organised by Trevor Holmes (Lead Trainer, Bevel). In the evening, a team-building event was organised – a dinner and beer tasting in a traditional Belgian Bar “Moeder Lambic”.
Françoise Emery (CEO, Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, FIM)
Alejandra Salmerón García (Senior Legal Counsel, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, FIA)
On the final day, the issue of EU lobbying was tackled during a round-table discussion with Glenn Cezanne (Founding and Managing Director, Time and Place Consulting Brussels), James Ogilvie (EU and Governmental Affairs Manager, UEFA), Teodora Pletosu (EU Public Projects Specialist, UEFA) and Lukas Declercq (EU Affairs Director, Europe Active).
Glenn Cezanne (Founding and Managing Director, Time and Place Consulting Brussels)and Lukas Declercq (EU Affairs Director, Europe Active)
James Ogilvie (EU and Governmental Affairs Manager, UEFA)
The next MESGO session will take place in Mainz (Germany) from 6 to 10 March 2023 and will be dedicated to Ethics and Integrity.
From 10 to 14 October 2022, the MESGO VII participants were in Paris for the second 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 second session was aimed at examining the external regulatory functions of sports governing bodies, particularly how they apply to the design and regulation of competitions.
Thank you to the Stade Français, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), Roland Garros and FIFA’s Paris branch for their warm welcome.
We would like also to thank all the speakers that came to Paris. Having representatives from FIFA, UEFA, ASOIF, FIA, LNR, French Tennis Federation, clubs (Lokomotiva Zagreb, KNVB, PSG) as well as Qanalytics, KPMG and Stats Perform was a key component of the week and allowed a powerful interaction with the MESGO participants.
During the week, participants had the opportunity to attend the UCI Track Cycling World Championships and to have an introduction to 5-a-side rugby.
The third MESGO session will be held in Brussels from 16 to 20 January 2023 and will be dedicated to the legal frameworks governing European sport.