The aim of the CIES academic network
The CIES international academic network was developed because of the need to improve the educational level of sport administrators. This was all the more so essential that the corporate partners of sport enjoyed high levels of training in key fields such as marketing, sponsorship, sport law, TV rights management, and so on. Therefore, with the support of FIFA, CIES set up a sport management course aimed at offering the basic tools in sport management while insisting on its ethical aspects.
A pioneer work
In 1997, CIES organised a two-week sport management course for the General Secretaries of the Football Associations. The first course gathered football administrators from the French-speaking part of Africa. Soon after, courses were organised for football associations from Asia, Central America and South America.
This programme was delivered in Switzerland - more precisely in Neuchatel and Zurich. However, despite its success, CIES and FIFA were not fully satisfied. Why? For an extremely simple reason: the guest speakers - coming from Europe - were teaching, for instance, law and marketing with a European vision and they were only using European-based case studies. As a consequence, the course participants went back to their respective associations with nice theories that were often inapplicable to their own realities.
Adaptation to the local realities: birth of the university network
The evaluation of those initial courses led us to completely change our philosophy. Instead of inviting the course attendees to Switzerland, the course would travel to them. Since 2003, CIES has signed partnership contracts with universities in Argentina (Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires) and in Chile (Universidad Santo Tomás in Santiago). Recently, within the framework of the FIFA initiative "Win in Africa, with Africa", CIES has entered into academic agreements in Senegal (Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar), in South Africa (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and University of South Africa in Pretoria) and in Egypt (Cairo University).
In each country, CIES sets up a true collaboration with a local university in charge of teaching sport management. Each course is adapted to the local economic, academic, cultural, sportive and social realities. In all six partner Universities, the course is composed of six modules of 20 hours each, namely marketing, general management, finance, law, communication and event management. Usually the participants have a solid academic background and some experience in the field of sport. At the end of their studies, and after passing their exams, the students receive a diploma/certificate co-signed by the local university and CIES.
Thanks to this innovative partnership, the CIES academic network has trained administrators of football, and of other sports, active at all levels (national federations, clubs, governmental institutions, local associations, etc.). It is to be noted that the proportion of female participants has steadily increased.
Prospects towards the horizon 2010
CIES will soon enter into more academic agreements in Central America, Asia and Oceania. In addition, it will organise conferences and develop research projects in partnership with the network member universities.