The four winners of the Network Award 2013 paid an official visit to CIES and FIFA Headquarters last week. On this occasion they personally presented their project to the students of the FIFA Masters. They also discovered several tourist attractions in Switzerland.

The four winners of the Network Award: Sandra Avila Tinoco, Fernando Corral Collantes, Erika Montemor Ferreira and Regina Schmidt Rio-Valle - who took part in the FIFA/CIES Programme in sport management at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) in Madrid - recently visited Neuchatel, where for nearly 90 minutes they addressed 30 FIFA Master students about certain facets of their academic work concerning the impact of debt on football clubs, its causes, and possible solutions ('La deuda de los clubes. Causas y soluciones'). Many questions were asked in a subsequent Q&A session, notably with respect to mechanisms that might help to slow the rate of debt growth experienced by Spanish and European clubs.

On the next day, accompanied by a delegation from URJC and the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, they took full advantage of one of the first sunny days of 2013 to visit Titlis, located in the Uri Alps and culminating with a peak at over 3000 metres altitude. It was the perfect opportunity to breathe fresh air and to take photos in traditional costumes, which are sure to be 'all the rage' on social networking sites (click here for a look).

At FIFA Headquarters, the award winners were handed their diplomas personally from Markus Kattner, FIFA Deputy Secretary General, who expressed his delight at the dynamism of the academic activities carried out by CIES. For his part, Bertrand Reeb, CIES President, underscored the significance of eight women being among the nine recipients of the Network Award so far, indeed a very clear indication of the important roles women can and must play in the world of sports.

After listening to a series of presentations about FIFA, the winners attended a football match pitting students in the FIFA Master Programme against the 'Team FIFA'. This time, FIFA were able to avenge their loss of 2012 and emerged victorious, winning by 3-1 goals after penalty kicks (2-2-after the second half-time).

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the four winners received congratulations from various Brazilian organisations, such as the Brazilian Institute of Sport Law, the Brazilian Lawyer Association (Sao Paulo) and the Club Athletico Paulistano.

It is our sincere hope that Erica, Sandra, Regina and Fernando thoroughly enjoyed discovering beautiful Switzerland, learning more about CIES and FIFA, and, above all, the conclusions drawn from their project will soon be able to benefit the game of football.