Over 300 people - students, alumni, sport enthusiasts and media representatives - took part in the 10th Anniversary Conference celebrating the cooperation between Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) and CIES. The event, which took place on 18 October in Buenos Aires, allowed renowned experts to address various issues related to the World Cup in South America, with regard to its history, organisation and legacy.
José Clariá, the FIFA/CIES Programme Director in Argentina, inaugurated the conference by presenting the major landmarks of the cooperation between UCA and CIES. Julio Grondona, President of the Argentina Football Association (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino) and Senior Vice-President of FIFA, as well as Eugenio Figueredo, President of CONMEBOL and Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 2014 FIFA World Brazil, then emphasised the importance of knowledge in the world of sport today. CIES President Bertrand Reeb ended the official part by mentioning the essential role played by alumni in the dynamics and reputation of the Programme, as well as FIFA support to CIES academic projects.
Richard Holt (De Montfort University, Leicester), Pierre Lanfranchi (CIES scientific coordinator and historian) and Julio Frydenberg (CIES coordinator in Argentina and historian) opened the scientific part of the conference by describing some fascinating aspects of the sometimes complex relationships between South American and European football, as well as their development during the 20th century.
Discussions then focused on the challenges of organising the World Cup. Ricardo Trade, CEO of the Local Organising Committee Brazil 2014 and CIES coordinator in Brazil, made an assessment of the FIFA Confederations Cup and described the strong points of the work done and the improvements to be made by June 2014. Christian Volk, Strategic & Special Projects Manager, talked about the FIFA marketing structure and the essential share of sponsorship and television income in the budget of the International Federation. He mentioned that this income is to a large extent invested in other competitions and in several development programmes. Finally, Michael Boys, CIES coordinator in Chile and general coordinator for FIFA competitions, gave participants a “behind-the-scenes” description of sports events and encouraged them to draw inspiration from “best practices” identified at international level.
Horacio Elizondo then shared his experience as a former FIFA international referee. The audience was very interested to hear many anecdotes “straight from the pitch”, in particular during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and to hear his answers to questions linked to new technologies in refereeing.
During the third round table, Ricardo Trade, Richard Holt and Dino Ruta (SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan) focused on the controversial topic of legacy of sports events. The CEO of the Local Organising Committee Brazil 2014 discussed the aspects of the competition that could have a lasting impact on the country organising the next World Cup. The other two speakers analysed sports events organised in the past and emphasised the complexity of the notion of legacy, which is sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and often ambivalent.
Two UCA/FIFA/CIES Programme alumni, Maxi Palma and Martín Goldbart, then interviewed David Trezeguet, Football World Champion and European Champion, and Agustín Orión, Boca Juniors goalkeeper and member of the Argentina national team. This offered participants an exceptional opportunity to discover how the key players - namely the athletes - experience the stakes and challenges of a competition. Finally, Manuel Contepomi, a former member of the Argentina rugby team and alumnus of the UCA/FIFA/CIES Programme, shared views with the audience on the essential values that sport can convey to society.
CIES thanks its partners in Argentina for their excellent work in the framework of joint organisation of the 10th anniversary Conference. CIES also thanks the Programme students and alumni, from Argentina and elsewhere. It is thanks to them, thanks to their trust and motivation, that the FIFA/CIES International University Network has been able to develop and will continue to work successfully over the decade to come.