German football icon Steffi Jones praised the role of “sound management” at past FIFA events hosted in Germany, while addressing graduates of the FIFA Master course who are set to embark on their own sports management careers ahead of today’s graduation ceremony in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

The former president of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany™ Local Organising Committee and current Director of Women’s Football at the German Football Association (DFB) also said the presence of top sportspeople among the alumni of the FIFA Master – one of FIFA's flagship educational programmes now into its 13th edition – as a “great sign”.

During the ceremony, Jones will present certificates to 30 students from 24 countries including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, China PR, Cyprus, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and USA.

“I know from my personal experience that the world of sports is becoming increasingly more complex. Nowadays you can hardly organise a big sport event such as the World Cup without a multidisciplinary team of experts.

Programmes like the FIFA Master are fundamental in order to provide future top managers with a clear insight into crucial sports matters such as finances, corporate social responsibility, governance and talent promotion,” said the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup winner.

“The fact that former top sportsmen like Japan captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto have signed up to the programme is a great sign. As a player, you have to take key decisions on the pitch. Off the pitch you need some additional analytical skills to cope with the changing world of sports.”

Asked about the role management played in the success of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011, Jones commented: “There are a variety of factors that explain the success of the past World Cups in Germany.

Sound management played a key role as well as the outstanding teamwork shown by all parties involved in both the 2006 World Cup and the 2011 Women’s World Cup."

Founded in 2000 by FIFA and the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) in Neuchatel, the FIFA Master is a postgraduate course dedicated to all sports, which now serves as a benchmark for the training of sports administrators.

Sound management played a key role as well as the outstanding teamwork shown by all parties involved in both the 2006 World Cup and the 2011 Women’s World Cup.

German football icon Steffi Jones on the importance of the FIFA Master course

Miyamoto, who earned 71 caps with Samurai Blue, commented on the programme saying: “The most remarkable aspect of the FIFA Master experience to me was learning how to see things from various perspectives: historical, managerial and legal.

My 17 years of professional football career gave me a lot, however I see the same amount of value in these ten months of the FIFA Master experience. I hope that I will be able to reach my long-term goals while putting this new-found knowledge into action.”

Students praise programme
Henry Rummenigge, a graduate student from Germany, stated: “The FIFA Master was a great experience. It is, in my eyes, not comparable to any other postgraduate course and not by accident the best sports master in Europe. Many field visits to top venues within the sports world gave us good insight into how various organisations and clubs are run.”

A total of 355 students have attended the one-year university course which is jointly delivered by De Montfort University in Leicester (England), SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan (Italy) and the University of Neuchatel (Switzerland). The programme was recently ranked as the leading postgraduate sports management course in Europe by SportBusiness International for the second consecutive year.

Rummenigge added: “The internationality of the program is amazing. Living and studying in three different countries with different languages was a challenge and a great experience since we got to know various cultures. Besides all these positive side effects I want to point out that the quality of content and professors is of a very high standard.

"Managers, lawyers and former athletes are among the teaching staff as well as academic experts and alumni of the FIFA Master. The Alumni network is probably the most significant benefit of the course and helps a lot to get more insight into jobs within the sport business.”

Adi Oberoi, a graduate from India said, “The programme has enabled me to build an international network across sports disciplines and given me the confidence to pursue my career dreams and ambitions in the sports arena.” 

The use of temporary venues for the legacies of mega sporting events, fan involvement in the governance structure of European club football, “extreme” sports in the Olympic Games, mixed gender events, a strategic framework to leverage the FIFA Club World Cup, and the feasibility of a youth sports academy for ethnical integration in Bosnia-Herzegovina were among the topics presented by students during the graduation conference.