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Global sports industry leaders attend Sport and the Future conference

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at the Sport and the Future conference
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  • Sport and the Future international conference held during Russia 2018
  • Hundreds of thought leaders and executives from the sports industry in attendance
  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino delivered opening remarks to kick-off the conference

Sport and the Future, an international conference took place during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in Moscow on 29 June. The event gathered over 300 representatives from international sporting organisations, leading experts on worldwide sports and the heads of international and national football associations, leagues and clubs.

The main purpose of the conference was to discuss current trends in developing the global sports industry. The plenary session of the conference began with speeches by leading figures from FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CIES President Pierre Cornu, FIFA Master Alumni Association President Giancarlo Dapoto, Rector of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) Yaroslav Kuzminov, Deputy Minister of Sports in Russia Pavel Novikov and Deputy Secretary General of the Football Union of Russia Alexander Zorkov.

“It’s a great pleasure that the CIES has joined forces with the Football Union of Russia, the Higher School of Economics, who are our academic partner in Russia, and the FIFA Master Alumni Association to organise this important conference,” said CIES President Pierre Cornu. “The latter gathered more than 300 participants to discuss the future of sport and sports management. At a time when the global sports environment continues to change at great pace, these debates are a necessity. This conference also provides an opportunity to reinforce the links between all the partners involved in the event, which is a great satisfaction to me.”

“It is an honour and privilege for the FIFA Master Alumni Association to team up with our prestigious co-organisers of the Sport and the Future conference,” FIFA Master Alumni President Giancarlo Dapoto emphasized. “At a time when the world comes together to celebrate sport’s finest spectacle, it is fitting that our association – which now boasts 500 professionals in the field of sports management and which every year welcomes graduates focused on becoming future leaders in sport – is involved in debating new and fast-changing trends and demands of the sport industry.”

Following the conference’s opening remarks, there were multiple sessions planned on the digital world in sport presented by Fabio Coelho (VP at Google Inc., President at Google Brazil), Claude Ruibal (Executive Director, Digital at Infront Sports & Media), Luis Vicente (Leader, Digital Transformation & innovation Project at FIFA) and Mikhail Demin (CEO at NTV Plus). The topic of the second panel was about new generation of sport managers with participation by FIFA Legends Leonardo Araujo and Javier Zanetti, the latter of whom serves as a vice-president for Inter Milan and two FIFA Master alumni Liliya Borisova (General Manager at the Bulgarian Basketball League) and Thabo Stiles Ntshinogang (CEO at Botswana Premier League). Pierre Cornu (CIES President and judge at the Court of Appeals in Neuchâtel, Switzerland), Nodar Akhalkatsi (Director of Executive Office General Secretary at FIFA), Angelo Rigopoulos (Head of National Associations Governance at UEFA and Andrey Vlasov (Deputy Technical Director at the Football Union of Russia) discussed the fundamental aspects of changing sport administration.

At the last panel, the primary point of discussion was about real impact of e-sports between Ralf Reichert (CEO at ESL), Christian Volk (Head of Digital Marketing at FIFA) and Dmitry Smit (President at Russian E-Sports Federation). Representatives from national sporting associations, international telecommunications companies, the International Computer Games Association and other speakers also contributed to these meetings. In the end, there was a presentation about the next World Cup in Qatar titled The Road to 2022 by representatives from Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.

Organising international academic conferences on sports has recently become a tradition during major sporting events. Over the past few years, the CIES and the FIFA Master Association have jointly organised a series of events in countries staging big competitions including the World Cups, UEFA EURO and the Olympic Games. The conferences typically involve representatives from international sporting organisations, leading international experts, the heads of international and national associations, leagues and clubs, as well as graduates from FIFA Master and the FIFA/CIES Network, which is made up of 15 educational establishments around the world.

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