Thursday 17 August 2023, 03:00

Building relations and growing the game at the heart of FIFA Diploma in Club Management

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ proved a perfect platform to host a segment of the second edition in FIFA’s Diploma in Club Management. Representatives from a diverse range of clubs from all corners of the globe participated in a wide-ranging two-week programme across Australia and New Zealand. Part of an extensive 18-month programme, the fortnight included invited guests from A-League clubs allowing for an opportunity to network and share knowledge with club owners and executives from all around the world. Among the sessions featured were communications, marketing, partnerships, business practices, as well as presentations from various local football and sporting bodies. The Diploma is in line with FIFA’s objective of sharing knowledge and creating a more balanced football ecosystem thus enabling a larger number of clubs from every region of the world to compete at the highest level both on and off the pitch.

Former Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng was among the well-known speakers sharing valuable insights from a players’ perspective, as was Diploma participant and Australia FIFA World Cup™ legend Tim Cahill, Australian entrepreneur and owner of Catania FC Ross Pelligra, Ebru Koksal, former CEO of Galatasaray and James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia. “The FIFA Diploma in Club Management is more than just an academic programme, it is a unique networking and knowledge-sharing platform, which is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Ornella Desirée Bellia, FIFA’s Director of Professional Football Relations and Development. “Not only do the participating clubs enter the FIFA Club Management Network, but also the local clubs that we visit during each session, as well as the executives and players who participate as guest speakers. “On this occasion, we have invited club executives from the A-League to participate in our sessions and activities, and we incorporate visits to the training facilities of clubs from Sydney and Wellington, further enhancing the network in the region. The idea behind this initiative is to connect football clubs from all over the world, creating and strengthening their relationships, and fostering the exchange of best practices. In this way, FIFA is benefiting and enhancing the competitive level of the entire global football ecosystem.”

FIFA Diploma in Club Management -  FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023

Another invitee during the fortnight was David Dome, General Manager of New Zealand’s only professional club - Wellington Phoenix. The Phoenix field men’s and women’s team in Australia’s A-League. “I have to say the course material is very good,” Dome said. “It is very well run with good facilities, and you able to watch a live stream if unavailable to attend. Everyone presents papers and there are lots of good insights. Networking is right up there in terms of the learnings. “What I have learnt is that the challenges are the same or similar wherever you are in the world. Everyone has similar strategies and challenges no matter what league, and sometimes it is just the level of finances or type of market that is different.”

A-League champions Central Coast Mariners featured among a list of Australian-based attendees, which also included representatives from Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers. A club with a strong community focus, the Mariners will become the newest participant in the A-League Women competition when the new season commences in October. “It was amazing to catch up with people from all around the world so the networking stood out,” said Shaun Mielekamp, Chief Executive of Central Coast Mariners. “The networking was a fantastic opportunity and the case studies are definitely thought provoking. “Marketing, communication, and particularly AI, stood out for us in terms of where things are headed for global football trends and that was quite eye opening. “A lot of clubs that we connected with were very interested in our story, in terms of being able to perform on small budgets and being from a small region. I probably was asked a lot more questions than we we're asking.” Mielekamp added that the upcoming season will be a unique opportunity to leverage local interest following the Women’s World Cup. “Against the backdrop of the World Cup, the Matildas are bigger than the Socceroos so there is no reason why our women’s team can’t be bigger than our men’s. We don’t see it as a cost burden; we see it as a business unit. It will start with corporate and it will end up with bums on seats. “It is obvious for us launching of the back of the Women’s World Cup our A-League women’s team is really crucial. Now everyone in the whole country can see the power of women’s football - and football in general - so for us engaging with the community, bringing the crowds in and bringing the corporate dollars that has all come together. It's a much easier conversation now than it was three weeks ago.”


Why should I apply?

Who can apply?

The FIFA Diploma in Football Law is designed for sports executives who want to upgrade their knowledge of football law to further their career, while getting a comprehensive, in-depth overview of the latest football law rules and trends from experts who are active at all levels of the football industry.


A potential participant in this programme may work in the legal department of a FIFA member association, hold a legal position in a players’ union, club or league, or work as a sports lawyer in the football field.