The Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET), became the 13th partner of the International University Network during an official ceremony held in Caracas on 22 February. UNIMET is a private academic institution founded in 1970. With more than 7000 students, it is located on a modern campus near the national park El Ávila.

The UNIMET/CIES partnership is financially supported by two private entities, namely the Deportivo Italia CA, first division club, and the firm GZ Gerencia Deportiva Internacional CA, represented by Ing. Mario Henández, Dr Ingrid Hernández and Dr Gonzalo Szeinkop.

“The signature of this agreement with CIES fulfils all our wishes” declared Dr José Ignacio Moreno León, rector of UNIMET “Our university must be open to the world, respecting the principles of solidarity and community. These are also the values of FIFA and CIES”.

For his part, Mario Hernández emphasised that the sponsors had the mission to develop sports in Venezuela. “We can only manage it through education and the improvement of our managerial skills. That is why we wished to go into partnership with the FIFA/CIES Programme. It meets our objective.”

Furthermore, Vincent Monnier, CIES representative, greeted the 13th partner of the FIFA/CIES International University Network: “In numerous cultures, we would have started to moan by superstition. But it is not the case here, in Venezuela. Take as an example baseball where the “number 13” is the most important player, the pillar of the team. The Universidad Metropolitana will be “our number 13”, one of the strong links in our Network”.

Dr José Roberto Bello, vice-rector of UNIMET, several other members of the UNIMET management, Laureano Gonzalez, vice-president of the Venezuelan Football Federation and media representatives also participated in the ceremony.

The first edition of the FIFA/CIES Sports Management Programme will start in September 2010.