They hail from Argentina, Brazil and Guatemala. What they have in common is that they were awarded their FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management diplomas before deciding to continue their education by attending the FIFA Master in Leicester (United Kingdom), Milan (Italy) and Neuchâtel (Switzerland). María Sofía Malizia Oursi, Ricardo Leão De Andrade, José Candido Bulhoes and Diego Enrique Rios Solares answer a few questions about their experience of the Executive Programme, their first impressions of the FIFA Master and “their dreams” once they complete their studies.
Concerning the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme, María Sofía Malizia Oursi, who trained as a lawyer, said, “Last year I had the opportunity of completing the Programme on the Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) campus in Buenos Aires. It was a fruitful experience. I became more familiar with the different facets of the sport market and with professionalization of sport thanks to a dynamic and interactive curriculum. One of my best memories? The visit to the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) with Luis Castro, the Head of the event management module, and who was Director of the Argentinian National Teams at the time.”
Ricardo Leão De Andrade, who worked as an administrator with the junior national teams at the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) added, “I attended the first edition of the Executive Programme in Brazil organised by Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV). I agree with María Sofía. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in class, which was conducive to the exchange of views. I often miss the discussions on the FGV forums and the debates during our classroom sessions in Rio de Janeiro. But luckily I have found that same constructive debating spirit in Leicester”.
Diego Enrique Rios Solares, a lawyer specialised in arbitration, comes from Guatemala. He attended the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme at Universidad de Costa Rica and shares his first impressions of the FIFA Master: “My experiences with the students and alumni of the Executive Programme were essential factors when I decided to attend the FIFA Master. After three months at De Montfort University, I realised to what extent sport is deeply rooted in society, to what extent it played a major role in forming several countries, cultures or political opinions. Although sport is often a unifying force, it can also create divisions and give rise to confrontation. We need to be aware of that to avoid such pitfalls in the future.”
For his part, tax-law expert and FGV alumnus José Candido Bulhoes emphasises the multicultural dimension of the FIFA Master: “I am really impressed by the curriculum. I am also learning a lot from my classmates. There are 25 different nationalities in my class. Each of us presented the way sport is organised in our countries. You can imagine the density, the richness of our discussions.”
The four students will be awarded their degrees in July after completing their examinations. They will then embark on new professional careers. María Sofía intends to focus her efforts on the development of women’s sport. “I want to push back boundaries, change the status quo concerning women and sport. We need to focus on equality, to make sure the voices of women are also heard at the very top of sports organisations.”
José Candido would like to work at FIFA headquarters, more particularly in the field of competitions or development. “I believe that knowledge and experience, combined with passion, make it possible to achieve great things.” Diego has the same ambition as he would like to work in the disciplinary or ethics departments of a major sports organisation such as the IOC or FIFA.
Like his colleagues, Ricardo hopes to find the ideal job in a major federation such as FIFA. With a smile he adds, “But I am open to other opportunities throughout the world. We’ll see where football will take me.”
Good luck to all four students for the rest of the curriculum in Milan and Neuchâtel!