Monday 19 September 2022, 03:00

FIFA Diploma in Club Management: first module of second edition completed

  • Module held in New York on 14-17 September

  • Forty participants from every confederation

  • Infantino: “We need them to achieve the highest level because we want to take football global”

New York was the venue for the start of the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management. The programme aims to share knowledge and create a more balanced football ecosystem so that a larger number of clubs from every region of the world can compete at the highest level both on and off the pitch.

This first module, which blended face-to-face and online sessions, was attended by 40 executives from clubs in every confederation. Over the course of four days they discussed issues such as leadership and management, sporting strategy, marketing and communication, club and stadium management, and legal aspects relating to governance and financial structures.

“It’s important that everyone involved understands global interests,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a video message. “This is part and parcel of our goal of making football a truly global sport. “We want to raise the standard of football clubs around the world and that begins with the quality of administrators they employ,” added Infantino. “We need them to be here and to work with us, and we need them to achieve the highest level because we want to take football global.”

Among the participants in this second edition were ex-players such as Carli Lloyd, Juan Mata, Fernandinho and Tim Cahill, along with men and women who express their passion for the game through the management positions they hold. Giving her views on the programme, Fatou Binetou, the assistant general manager of Senegal’s Generation Foot academy, highlighted the creation of a network of contacts as one of its key aspects. “It’s very important because it brings together people from all around the world. All five continents are represented. “We might be different but we can all learn from one another,” continued Binetou. “It’s also great for us to meet experts from all over the world, people who have a lot of experience in professional football and in other sports too.”

Fatou Binetou BA - Académie Génération Foot (Senegal) takes notes during Day 2 of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management

As part of the course, the participants listened to a talk on marketing and strategy at NBA team Brooklyn Nets and also paid a visit to Madison Square Garden, where they discussed stadium and corporate management. Football was the main focal point of the programme, however. One of the speakers was former USA international Carlos Bocanegra. A veteran of two FIFA World Cup™ competitions, he is now the vice-president and director of football at MLS club Atlanta United FC. A graduate of the first edition of the Diploma in Club Management, Bocanegra gave a presentation entitled “The Atlanta United case: Aligning technical and commercial objectives at a soccer club”.

“In a high-level course like this, with the speakers and participants we’ve got, you share and pick up knowledge that you can hopefully take away with you,” he said. “Not everything works everywhere in the world, but the little ideas that come up here and there help you to think differently on how to focus your business, and I’m sure they help.” Among the guest speakers was former Colombia striker Juan Pablo Angel, who also attended the first edition and is now a consultant with Los Angeles Football Club, who also play in the MLS.

“The first edition was fantastic but it also involved some really complex challenges because of the pandemic,” commented Angel. “The level will be better this year, no question. The participants learn different things relating to football and how to manage not just a club but the various organisations that are involved with them.”

Alberto Marrero - Atlético de San Luis (Mexico), Tim Cahill - KAS Eupen (Belgium) and Juan Pablo Angel speak at the break during Day 3 of the FIFA Diploma in Club Managemen

In the opinion of Alberto Marrero, the president of Atletico San Luis de Mexico – a franchise of Spanish club Atletico Madrid – the general overview that the programme gives its participants is vital: “There’s not one theme that’s more important than any other. The whole course interests me.” He added: “I try to take different things from every area covered. They’re all important. At the end of the day, this is a business and it pays to make the most of every area, especially when the topic is the latest practical knowledge in the industry and our everyday routines at clubs. The aim is to learn from our colleagues and put this new learning into practice in every different aspect of football.” Module two, which will once again feature face-to-face and online sessions, will be held in Doha, Qatar, in the first fortnight in December, coinciding with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.