Thursday 16 November 2023, 17:30

Gaining inspiration from the land of the world champions

  • Latest module of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management took place in South America

  • Program provides club executives and former professional players with latest insights from the industry

  • Participants visited the Argentinian Football Association and four top-flight clubs

"We were very happy to bring the Diploma in Club Management to Argentina, the land of the world champions, to connect clubs, raise competitiveness, and help to make football truly global." Those were the words of Federico Pérez, FIFA Professional Football Relations & Development Consultant as he reflected on another successfully completed module held in South America. Over the course of a week, participants on the latest module were able to gain unique insights from not only the Argentinian Football Association (AFA), but also from visits to top-flight clubs Boca Juniors, CA Talleres, Defensa y Justicia and River Plate. At AFA’s training site, Claudio Tapia, President of AFA and of the Liga Profesional de Fútbol provided a warm welcome, before Commercial Director Leandro Petersen shared how AFA are capitalising on the success of the Albiceleste at Qatar 2022 to develop their brand. From five sponsorship agreements in 2018, AFA now have fifty spanning the globe, with fans now able to purchase merchandise as far afield as China PR.

AFA visit by FIFA Diploma in Club Management participants

Communications Director Nicolás Novello meanwhile detailed how AFA are embracing social media to develop a longer-term strategy to connect with younger generations of fans, the next generation of ticket buyers and shirt purchasers. Over the remainder of the week, Club Diploma participants heard from a broad spectrum of speakers from clubs sharing their own specific objectives, challenges, and unique histories. During a visit to the iconic La Bombonera, home to Boca Juniors, presentations were delivered on the club’s marketing and commercial strategy – including a key focus on expanding brand awareness in the US and Asia, and the building of their own in-house TV channel. Boca also focus heavily on their role within the community as part of their social responsibility remit, bringing people together from different social strata.

FIFA Diploma in Club Management participants visit River Plate's Stadium

At River Plate’s training ground, club executives outlined the challenges faced in providing an oasis of calm for their male and female players at elite facilities, against the constant demand for news access from media and fans alike. A particular challenge when your stadium hosts 80,000 and your social media channels garner forty million social engagements a year. The club, through the River Foundation, also seek to ensure their matchday experience is inclusive and accessible for fans with disabilities. Guido Baroli is the former CEO of C.S y D. Defensa y Justicia. In the south of Buenos Aires alone, sixteen clubs vie for spectator footfall. With the club located in the Florencio Varela neighbourhood, the club has focused heavily on developing players to increase revenues. By selling their old headquarters, the club have constructed a new training ground, supporting their player development goals. To support their wider community, the club also feed children twice a day through an education partnership with local schools.

It was an honour for us to share our story, network with our peers and share examples of good practice. It has been a very enriching experience for everyone.

Guido Baroli
Former CEO of Defensa y Justicia

Looking to encapsulate the essence of the FIFA program, Baroli said: "The FIFA Diploma in Club Management is focused on understanding the management of clubs trying to build sustainable business models. “The program allows us to meet industry professionals with different profiles, with different ideas and diverse backgrounds and provides us with tools and case studies to apply to our clubs. It was an honour for us to be able to tell our story, network with our peers, share example of good practice and understand mistakes we may have made. It has been a very enriching experience for everyone.” Gerardo Moyano Cires is Vice President of Club Atlético Talleres, situated in Cordoba, approximately 700km and seven hours drive from Argentina’s capital. The average price of a ticket to matches at their Estadio Mario Kempes cost just $5, therefore the club admit they must ‘think outside the box’ to generate revenues.

FIFA Diploma in Club Management participants outside Estadio Mario Kempes, home to Club Atlético Talleres

Their state-of-the art training facilities opened in 2021 and is spread across twenty-four hectares. There are twelve pitches and separate buildings for their men’s team, women’s team, and academy, as well as a hotel and accommodation for youth players. Aligned to a tailor-made scouting platform which contains over 9,000 players, the club currently have the largest representation of players in the national U-15 and U-17 squads and generated over USD 80million in players sales in the last seven years. Their club Vice President was equally effusive when asked to share his experience. "I was very happy to welcome my colleagues and FIFA to our home. It was really a luxury for Club Atlético Talleres to host such a high-level educational program, of which I am part,” said Moyano Cires. "We have been able to showcase our capacity to develop and educate the next generation of Argentine players and connect with international networks, providing a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and develop ourselves, alongside colleagues from all over the world.”

Did you Know?

The second edition of Diploma in Club Management kicked off in New York in September 2022. It aims to provide club executives and former international players with the latest practical knowledge and insights from the industry, covering key areas related to successful club management. With a mix of theoretical and practical teaching, the participants, representing all confederations are taught by world-class experts on topics as diverse as leadership and management, sporting strategy and youth academies, marketing and communication, club operations and stadium management, governance and legal matters, and finance.