The MESGO in London for the sixth session

From 30 October to 3 November, MESGO VII participants were in London for the sixth session of the programme, dedicated to Strategic Marketing and Communications and led by Roman Putsch, Head of Marketing Activities and Digital at UEFA.

Roman Putsch, session Director and Head of Marketing Activities at UEFA.

The session covered a range of topics including sponsorship and TV rights, sport-specific marketing strategies, fan engagement and digital marketing. Insights were gained from a variety of perspectives, including federations, brands and broadcasters, and refined with a unique focus on strategic and crisis communications.

During the five-day session, the MESGO group was hosted in the heart of prestigious venues such as Chelsea FC, Wimbledon, Brentford FC, Tottenham Stadium and The Shard.

At Chelsea FC: Presentation about “The importance of a strong brand – why and how a defining and delivering a differentiated brand will grow your business” by Adrian Goldthorpe (CEO, Lothar Böhm Associates).

At Wimbledon: Presentation about “Digital Marketing – how you can grow fandom and evolve the business model” by Richard Ayers (Chairman, 7L).

At Brentford FC: Panel discussion about the perspective of global brands on the future of sponsorship with Adam Warner (Head of Global Sports and Partnerships, PepsiCo), Mark Osikoya (CEO, Commonwealth Games England), Kieran Nokes (Sponsorship Manager, UEFA) and Annie Panter (Managing Director, Ventures, Two Circles).

At Tottenham Stadium: Presentation about “The media rights market: trends and trajectories” by Minal Modha (Research Director – Consumer Research Lead, Ampere Analysis).

At Tottenham Stadium: Presentation about “Strategic communication: communication as a tool to achieve the organisation objectives” by Amanda Docherty (Director, Dial Square and Programme Director, UEFA).

At the Shard: Presentation and workshop about “Communication in action” by John Bailey (Managing Consultant, Global Communications Consulting).

MESGO sessions are also an opportunity for participants to share special moments. Several team-building activities took place during the week, including a fitness class in Hyde Park and an indoor golf activity. Participants also had the opportunity to attend the Rumble in the Jungle show, a live immersive experience.

The next MESGO session will take place in Tokyo, Japan from 15-19 January 2024 and will be dedicated to the future of sport.

MESGO congratulates Khais Rahmanie and Paolo Ghiglione!

Two MESGO VII participants have been appointed to new senior positions.

Khais Rahmanie has stepped into the role of Senior Manager, Sport, Culture and Entertainment at RISE – Marketing and Commercial Consultancy in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

After graduating from law school, Khais worked as a sports lawyer for private law firms, where he dealt with cases related to contractual disputes, training compensation, solidarity mechanisms and doping.

In 2017, he moved to the United Arab Emirates and worked for the Spanish professional football league as the Business Development Delegate for Central Asia, with the aim of creating and implementing a cross-functional strategy to increase the value of the LaLiga brand in the Central Asian market.

Most recently, he held the position of Professional Sports Senior Specialist at the Department of Community Development of the Government of Abu Dhabi, where he worked on the Emirate’s Sports Vision and contributed to the development and implementation of initiatives to promote an active and healthy lifestyle in Abu Dhabi.

Paolo Ghiglione has taken up a new position as Global Business Development Advisor at Soccerment, an innovative sport data analytics company.

With a degree in Business and Economics, Paolo’s professional experience focuses on sales, marketing and business development in an entrepreneurial environment.

Paolo has been working for multinational companies and online start-ups for over 20 years and has built up a strong knowledge and experience in the football industry. He specialises in building and managing a high-performance global sales force, designing and implementing business models and identifying development trends.

He was previously Director of Partnerships at Kitman Labs, an industry-leading sport analytics company using AI to optimise athlete performance and health. His role there was to develop partnerships with sports leagues and GBs worldwide.

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

MESGO Alumni gets together in Bucharest in the context of the UEFA Academy Summit

The MESGO Alumni Association got together in Bucharest on 22 September 2023, for their Annual General Assembly meeting.

A crucial part of the General Assembly is the committee election of board members, and the MESGO team is pleased to congratulate Kevin Ashby (MESGO IV graduate) on his re-election as President of the Alumni Association.

Kevin Ashby, President of the MESGO Alumni Association

The board is made up of the following members (from left to right):

  • Heidi Beha, Team Lead Development Programmes Europe, FIFA – MESGO IV
  • Kevin Ashby (President), Senior Digital Content Manager, UEFA – MESGO IV
  • Elisa Turrioni (Treasurer), Administrative and Organisational Manager, Bonzini – MESGO IV 
  • Robert Pongracz, Senior Director, Global account management, Football Events, IMG – MESGO II
  • Alex Gerontikos, VP Sales Europe, Sportradar – MESGO IV
  • Ciska du Plessis-Austin, Strategic Advisor and Acting VP Finances, Cycling South Africa – MESGO V (not in photo)

After the election of the committee board members, the objectives of the association were discussed. The key-note speaker, Răzvan Burleanu, President of the Romanian Football Federation and a MESGO IV graduate, then presented the plans of the Romanian Football Federation and spoke about the progress and the transformational path that has been taken to achieve success.

Răzvan Burleanu, President of the Romanian Football Federation

The Alumni association was created in 2015 to produce a formal network of top professionals in sports governance and ensure that knowledge sharing will continue between former MESGO participants.

A huge thank you to all the MESGO alumni who attended the meeting and looking forward to meeting you all again soon.

Congratulations Robert!

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!

The MESGO team in Barcelona for session 5

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.

MESGO mourns the passing of Gurvan KERVADEC, Director General of the French Volleyball League.

It was with great sadness and emotion that we learned of the tragic death of Gurvan, MESGO V participant, at the age of 51.

His passion and dedication to sport in general, and basketball in particular, was reflected in his commitment both on and off the court.

A basketball player since the age of 9, Gurvan was also a youth basketball referee and U15 team coach for many years.

Off the court, he put his experience in sports management at the service of leading sports organisations.

He worked for the French Rugby Federation for 13 years, where his multiple, diverse skills (finance, human resources, management) enabled him to reach executive level as head of the sports department. Always ready for new challenges, he then took up the position of Administrative and Financial Director at Stade Français Paris, one of the major rugby clubs in the Top 14.

His desire to learn and share his knowledge and experience with others naturally led him to apply to MESGO, which he joined in September 2018, where, among his many contributions, he wrote a thesis on the social impact of sport, with a particular focus on the inclusion of people with physical disabilities.

After MESGO, Gurvan joined the French Volleyball League, where he held the position of General Manager since June 2020.

For the MESGO family, Gurvan will be remembered as a caring and passionate person with a strong sense of ethics.

The entire MESGO team extends its sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.  Our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.

The online application for the 8th MESGO edition is now open!

The application process is now open for the eight edition of the Executive Master in Global Sport Governance (MESGO), which will start in September 2024.

MESGO is a unique programme designed for professionals in the sport sector wishing to improve their skills by mastering the complex dimensions and diversity of international practices related to professional sport with the aim of positively impacting the development of sport governance.

How does it work?
The programme is tailored to the schedule of working professionals. It is made up of nine week-long sessions which are completed over a period of 24 months in various locations worldwide*. The participants must also write a professional thesis to be presented as part of an oral examination before proceeding to the graduation ceremony.

What are the minimum requirements to apply?
To be eligible for enrolment to the programme, applicants must meet the following criteria:
• Have a minimum of five years’ experience at managerial level
• Be educated to degree level
• Be fluent in English

If you wish to enrol on the MESGO, the application process is described at: and will run until 31 March 2024, midnight (Paris, GMT+1).

*The final dates and locations for MESGO VIII will be communicated this summer.

MESGO congratulates Stefan Gunnarsson

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.

A MESGO week dedicated to Ethics and Integrity

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!

Each session over the five days was hosted by a different academic or sporting institution: Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (MESGO partner); German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB); German Football Association (DFB); Mewa Arena (Mainz 05 Stadium); Euro 2024 Headquarters.

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.

Congratulations Jan Peter!

The international governing body of football (FIFA) has appointed Jan Peter Dogge — MESGO III graduate — as FIFA’s Team Lead Integrity.

Jan Peter Dogge begins his FIFA career as the New Lead of the Integrity Team after spending 13 years at the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), where he successively held the role of Licencing Manager and Integrity Manager.

He has an exceptional knowledge in the field of Integrity and significant professional experience within the football sector.

A great promotion for Jan Peter, who will continue to apply his outstanding knowledge of match-fixing and other sporting corruption abuses to uphold the integrity of football competitions.

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