A new milestone in the history of the FIFA Master was reached today when the twelfth generation of students of the award-winning postgraduate course received their diplomas during the graduation ceremony held at the seat of Neuchâtel’s cantonal government in Switzerland.

A total of 29 students representing 25 countries – Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China PR,  France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iran, Italy, Korea Republic, Morocco, Netherlands, Palestine, Peru, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, UK and USA - underwent the intensive ten-month scheme that is provided by the prestigious De Montfort University (England), SDA Bocconi (Italy) and Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

By empowering people through initiatives like the FIFA Master we’ll be able to further develop our sport.

Honey Thaljieh, former Palestine women’s national football team captain

Among the new FIFA Master graduates are young female personalities from the world of sports, including former Palestine women’s national football team captain Honey Thaljieh, former Brazilian Olympic alpine skier Mirella Arnhold, former Swiss Olympic ice hockey player Laura Ruhnke, and China PR’s member of the FIFA Committee for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's World Cup™, Tracy Lu.

In addition to the graduation ceremony, students had the opportunity to present their final projects at the annual FIFA Master Conference hosted on Thursday 19 July in Neuchâtel.

Key issues in world sport, such as financial fair play, social media marketing, labour disputes, community involvement, benchmarking of continental football club competitions, and match fixing, were showcased during the session.

Leading course around the world
The FIFA Master was ranked as the leading postgraduate sports management course in Europe in a recent survey carried out by the prestigious magazine SportBusiness International. Additionally, the programme was placed second in the world ranking, behind USA-based Ohio University.

“The FIFA Master strongly contributed to enhance my sports experience as an Olympic athlete and I now feel properly prepared to join the sports management field,” said Arnhold.

“As Brazil is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, qualified professionals will certainly be needed in order to respond to the challenges that those events will represent, as they will revolutionise the sporting landscape in my home country.”

Thaljieh added: “Now I feel better prepared to assume the paramount challenge of promoting change through sport in my country. As a former member of the Palestine women’s national team I know the extent to which sport can change lives.

“I can still recall how challenging it was to found the first Palestine women’s national team in 2004. Three players joined us for the first kick, now we have more than 200 passionate female players. By empowering people through initiatives like the FIFA Master we’ll be able to further develop our sport.”

Fully endorsed by FIFA and organised by the International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES), the FIFA Master was created in 2000 with the aim of providing qualified students from all over the world with a comprehensive understanding of the social, economic and legal dimensions of sport.