Monday 29 May 2023, 03:00

Learning, sharing and growing sustainably: Argentinians share FIFA Diploma in Club Management objectives

  • Gerardo Moyano Cires is first Vice President and General Manager of Talleres de Cordoba

  • Guido Baroli is General Manager of Defensa y Justicia

  • Both share their experiences of participating in the second edition of the Diploma with

Gerardo Moyano Cires and Guido Baroli both have similar profiles in that they are young Argentinians who did not start out in the football ecosystem, even if they have been making important decisions for their clubs in the country’s first division for several years now. Both are at top-level clubs, domestically and internationally, but are aiming for further growth. With that objective in mind, Moyano Cires and Baroli have had something else in common since September 2022: they are among the 40 participants in the second edition of FIFA’s Diploma in Club Management. “A few months before the inaugural in-person session in New York, I negotiated a player transfer with him, but we didn’t know each other personally,” Moyano Cires, 37, first Vice President and General Manager of Talleres de Cordoba, told

“That’s why I laughed out loud when I saw his name.” Three years ago his club was in the third division, but fast forward to 2022 and they reached the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores.

Gerardo Moyano Cires looks on during the FIFA Diploma in Club Management

“On top of that, during the pandemic we shared some educational classes online,” Baroli, 36, told “Today I’d say that we’re rivals on the pitch but great friends off it.” During his time as General Manager of Defensa y Justicia, Baroli has celebrated two titles, the Copa Sudamericana 2020 and the Recopa Sudamericana 2021, as well as two runners-up finishes in the domestic league. Moyano Cires shared more details about his participation in the Diploma. “In my case there’s an element of personal development, but above all it’s an institutional issue,” said the business administration graduate, who has a background in the corporate and financial world. “Since I joined the project nine years ago, at Talleres we have understood that in order to grow the key is to follow the path of professionalisation. The Diploma is innovative and its content is not only focused on club management, but also on networking.” “At Defensa y Justicia we thought it was a good opportunity, both for the club and for my professional growth, to gain new experiences and to network,” said Baroli, who also has a degree in business administration, and whose background includes spells with Real Madrid’s basketball team and at River Plate’s football team prior to joining Defensa y Justicia almost five years ago.

“It’s very important in an industry that does not usually have management performance indicators, to compare our situation with others, to understand where we stand beyond our differences, to know what we do well and what we don’t, and to be able to adopt ideas that have given others good results.”

Guido Baroli attends the FIFA Diploma in Club Management

After almost eight months studying the Diploma, Moyano Cires highlighted something that surprised him: “FIFA’s strategic decision to have a direct link with the clubs is greatly appreciated, because it’s an important strategic decision to bring the clubs to the table with all this sharing of information and knowledge from those who run the course, all of whom are high-ranking executives. This is the way to make FIFA truly global.” For Baroli, two things in particular stood out: “First of all, it’s a wonderful cross-section of decision-makers, of people with different profiles such as sporting directors, club owners, CEOs, specialists in data, in strategic decisions, and people who are 100 per cent management oriented. At the same time, the diversity of management models and sustainable businesses models with different revenue and cost structures… it really opens your mind.” Both participants stressed that the Diploma does not dictate which paths to follow, but instead provides tools to facilitate better decision making. This is particularly useful in Argentina, where clubs are non-profit entities with strong social and community roots, and not public limited companies dedicated exclusively to football.

 Gerardo Moyano Cires speaks during the FIFA Diploma in Club Management

“The Diploma can be seen as FIFA opening up opportunities to clubs like ours, which have a long way to go in terms of professionalisation and still have a combination of interwoven dealings between the management and the professional teams, to adopt the good or best practices from more developed leagues in the world of football,” said Moyano Cires. For Baroli, “all the tools provided have the potential for adaptability in all environments. We delve into case studies where we understand the strategic decisions that were made. The common thread is that you must have a solid and sustainable business model. The Diploma wants clubs to be more competitive, and for that competitiveness to develop football as a whole everywhere.” In addition to appreciating the calibre of the speakers and the fact that some of them are not part of the football ecosystem, Baroli and Moyano Cires welcomed the structure of the course, which combines both in-person and online sessions, as well as the fact that FIFA particularly encourages the in-person sessions to further strengthen networking. For example, their experiences in Tokyo in April left a lasting impression.

“In Japan, it blew my mind to understand how they make decisions thinking 50 years into the future, which is something that is very difficult for our culture to do,” said Baroli. “It allowed us to start a conversation with Gamba Osaka to ultimately exchange know-how between their way of operating and ours,” added Moyano Cires.

Guido Baroli speaks during the FIFA Diploma in Club Management

Both are eager for their clubs to take advantage of the momentum generated by Argentina winning the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and by hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup™, recognising the importance of keeping Argentinian football in the public eye. And with that in mind, they are looking to the future. “At Defensa y Justicia we have a very clear business model, which is to increase a player’s value and sell them, to be a platform that generates value,” said Baroli. “If there is one thing I confirmed during the Diploma, it’s that we cannot lose our identity because that should shape the decision-making process of the whole organisation. “Of course we would like to win titles every year, but in this industry you can manage the club well and still not win them,” he continued. “We must continue to invest in infrastructure as a key to development and try to participate in international tournaments every year in order to continue growing.” “Talleres are aiming to generate a strategic development project for the next ten years, including the completion of our sports complex and the construction of a state-of-the-art stadium,” said Moyano Cires. “We want to establish the club as one of the best in Latin America in this regard. On top of that, we are going to strengthen our internal development processes for the professionalisation of our staff.” Asked whether they would like to be invited as guest speakers in the next edition of the Diploma, as is customary on the course, both said that they would: “If other success stories helped us, we hope that our stories will help someone else.”


Why should I apply?


• You must be currently working for a club in an executive/managerial position; and • Be available to participate in the programme’s six modules, consisting of coursework and both online and face-to-face lectures, over a period of 15 months.


• The opportunity to interact with a world-class faculty consisting of club executives, industry experts, leaders and professionals. • First-hand insights and perspectives on the latest industry data, research and trends. • Practical, interactive presentations, analysis and discussions of case studies.