The first graduates of the FIFA/CIES sports management programme were awarded their diploma during a ceremony held last week at the Law Faculty of Birzeit University in Ramallah, Palestine.

The ceremony, chaired by Dr Munir Qazzaz, Vice-President of the University, brought together some 80 participants, including Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Football Federation (PFF), several Palestinian sports officials, the 27 students taking part in the second edition of the FIFA/CIES Programme, as well as many representatives of the media.

"We are pleased to be able to organize the FIFA/CIES Programme. Not only does the Programme make it possible to train a new generation of managers, at a time when sport is undergoing far-reaching changes in Palestine, but it also strengthens the links of our university with the whole world", commented Dr Qazzaz. In his address, the President of PFF encouraged students to lose no time in applying their new knowledge in all the fields of Palestinian sport, and to fill the existing gaps at many levels. He also undertook to use the skills of certain students to improve the organisation of football in Palestine.

On behalf of the students, Amani Awartani, a swimming-team coach who co-created a database for Arab athletes with two colleagues, thanked FIFA, CIES and Birzeit University for their initiative, which is essential for athletes in Palestine. Other students also spoke to emphasize the value of the FIFA/CIES Programme in terms of "group dynamics, diversity of profiles, shared experiences, quality of the curriculum and a feeling of belonging".

FIFA and CIES wish to congratulate: Al Qa’qa’, Mohammad, Ibrahim, Amjad, Mohammad, Ghassan, Loay, Raed, Muntaser, Monther, Tamara, Mohammad, Mahmoud, Ali, Mohammad, Amani and Tareq. They wish the alumni all the best in their professional careers and their work in favour of sport in Palestine.