During a meeting held on 12 January 2015 at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, an international jury consisting of representatives from FIFA, CIES and academia awarded the 2015 FIFA/CIES International University Network Prize to three students from the Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET) in Caracas (Venezuela).
After examining the 12 submitted projects, the jury decided to award the 2015 FIFA/CIES Network Prize to the work presented by Rafael Acosta, Eduardo Basalo and Leonel Yépez, three students of the fourth edition of the UNIMET/FIFA/CIES Programme in sport management, on 'Comprehensive baseball academy, training citizens to serve society.' This very practical project related to baseball – around sport itself, studies and moral values – aims to train citizens who are ready to commit themselves and contribute to society.
The jury members pointed out numerous strengths in the project, in particular the reliability and quality of the research and its adaptation to national needs and realities. They also appreciated the fact that the students have taken all aspects of the UNIMET/FIFA/CIES Programme in sport management into consideration.
The other finalist projects given a special mention by the jury are:
'Issues affecting governance and sustainability in amateur football. A view on local Football Associations (LFA's) in Nelson Mandela Bay'*
*presented by Bonginhlahla Ndlovu, Cedrick Smith, Mawethu Mbanga and Zukile Mangcangaza (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa).
'The role of sport in sustainable social development through recycling'*
*presented by Matthew Blair, Girley Maifala and Lorinda Nel (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa).
'FIFA Social Seal: Promoting social responsibility in football'*
*presented by Alexandre Oliveira Mota, Daniel Frayha Kochen and Fabiano Henrique Stadler de Castro (Fundação Getulio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo, Brazil).
The jury members underlined the constant and pleasing improvement in the quality of the submitted projects. Consequently, they would like to thank all the universities and all the students of the FIFA/CIES Network for their excellent work.
"Group projects are an important educative element of the FIFA/CIES Programme in sport management," CIES General Secretary Vincent Schatzmann said. "Our partner universities grant them a lot of importance and we are pleased to see an ever-growing and sound competition among students. The group projects thus contribute to a relevant reflection on sport in their respective countries by analyzing tangible problems and by providing practical and realistic solutions."
FIFA and CIES offer their congratulations to Rafael, Eduardo and Leonel, as well as to the Universidad Metropolitana and to anyone related to the UNIMET/FIFA/CIES Programme in Venezuela.