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)

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.

Congratulations Elkhan!

Congratulations to Elkhan Mammadov – MESGO III graduate – who has been nominated as Sport Leader under 40 by during the Sport Business Summit held in London (October 5-6).

He competed  with individuals who “have unrivaled leadership skills. They have led from the top and driven major change in their organisation” (Twitter, LEADERS Business)


Elkhan Mammadov
General Secretary, Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan
MESGO III Graduate

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.

3 questions to Kenny Jean-Marie – MESGO III graduate

What’s new in your life since the end of MESGO III?
Just after my graduation I decided to leave the civil service and to create my own strategy consultancy in the sector of sports.
Leaving French administration was not so easy, after 18 years of service. However, once I had finished my last mission as coordinator of the security staff of the ministry of Interior during “Le Tour de France”, I was given the autorization to build KJM CONSEIL: my new sport lifestyle.

What did MESGO bring you?
MESGO has been a defining moment of my professional life.
Session after session I became more accurate, more precise and efficient in my work as political advisor.  But the main thing I will remember is the high level of the course’s speakers and participants. A tremendous “adventure of a lifetime”.

Any advice to give to MESGO IV participants?
Live this unique experience with a full involvement.
Not as students but really as a collective journey…you will see, the trip is really amazing with this spirit.

JM_KennyKenny Jean-Marie
Founder and President of KJM Conseil
Former Advisor to the French Prime Minister on youth, sport and associations
MESGO III Graduate

Successful MESGO III participants graduated at UEFA headquarters

On 31 March and 1 April, 20 participants in the third edition of the MESGO programme defended their professional theses at UEFA headquarters.

Here are a few examples of the theses presented:

  • Improving relations with stakeholders for a better governance of the football Association of Moldova
  • A game changer? The economic and cultural transformation of Israeli football in the beginning of the third millennium
  • Addressing the digital risk assessment: Proposals for small & medium sized International Federations
  • Playing and spending in European Football: Examining the correlation between participation and consumption in European Football
  • Broadcasting & sports media rights: the web as a no man’s land: World Cub Brazil 2014 experience
  • Football clubs’ ownership and financial instability in CIS countries: The case of Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan
  • Transfer of Knowledge from a Large Federation to a Small Federation: Referee and Disciplinary Functions in the Cyprus Football Association
  • The role and value of independent non-executive directors on the board of a National Governing Body
  • The Role of State Funding in Sports Development
  • Selecting the host for UEFA EURO 2024 and beyond: To what extent must UEFA adapt its criteria and processes for selecting the host of the EURO in order to keep its integrity?
  • Row ToGo, The construction of an Integrated Sports Complex
  • What are the appropriate roles and responsibilities of a national football association on the one hand and of a professional league on the other?
  • Challenges and benefits of integrating Para-sports into able-bodied sport federations

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-1Sean Hamil, director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre at the University of London.

The graduation ceremony was chaired by Sean Hamil, director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre at the University of London. It began with speeches by representatives of a number of the programme’s academic and sporting partners: Giorgio Marchetti (UEFA’s competitions director), Nicolas Péjout (director of executive education at Sciences Po), Jean Brihault (president of the EHF), Didier Primault (general director of the CDES) and Elkhan Mammadov, general secretary of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (and a MESGO III graduate).

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-2Speech by Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA’s competitions director.

 Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-3Nicolas Péjout, director of executive education at Sciences Po).

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-4Jean Brihault, president of the European Handball Federation (EHF).

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-5Didier Primault, general director of the Centre for the Law and Economics of Sport (CDES, Limoges – France).

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-6Elkhan Mammadov, general secretary of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (and a MESGO III graduate), with his thesis mentor, Wladimir Andreff.

Those speeches were followed by a slide show and a video montage (produced by Future Learning) looking back at the programme. Then, young explorer Teodor Johansen gave a keynote speech about achievements in life. Aged just 24, he has successfully crossed Antarctica and climbed a series of 5,000m and 6,000m peaks around the world. He has also been on three 8,000m expeditions, becoming the youngest person from Scandinavia to climb Mt Manaslu (8,163m). He almost lost his life on Mt Everest when an earthquake struck in 2015.

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-7Testimony from young explorer Teodor Johansen.

There were also musical interludes by the band Less Than Four (Francis Stoessel, Timothy Verdesca and David Tixier).

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-8The band Less Than Four (Francis Stoessel, Timothy Verdesca and David Tixier).

The MESGO programme’s academic and sporting partners are proud of their 20 new graduates and look forward to watching them contribute to the improvement of sports governance, both in Europe and beyond.

Congratulations to Anrijs Brencāns (Latvia), Jan Peter Dogge (Netherlands), Jonathan Hall (UK), Timo Huttunen (Finland), Adrian Ixari (Moldova), Kenny Jean-Marie (France), Rotem Kamer (Israel), André Kruse (Germany), Elkhan Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Noel Mooney (Ireland), Julien Mordacq (France), Barbara Moschini (Italy), Patrick Nelson (Northern Ireland), Balázs Nemcsik (Hungary), Camila Rodrigues Barbosa (Brazil), Andreas Savvides (Cyprus), Maciej Sawicki (Poland), Florian Simmen (Switzerland), Mario Woldt (Germany) and Mhamed Zeghari (Morocco).

Graduation-Ceremony-MESGO-3-9The 20 MESGO III graduates at UEFA.

The fourth edition will start in September 2016 and will involve sessions in two new locations: Amsterdam and Tokyo.

For more information on applying, take a look at the MESGO website: