The four winners of the FIFA/CIES University Network Prize for 2019 travelled to Switzerland last week. During their visit, they were welcomed to the headquarters of CIES and discovered the city of Neuchâtel. After presenting the conclusions of their group project to the current FIFA Master class, they travelled to Zurich to visit the FIFA museum and to attend talks given by several officers of the International Federation.
On 20th February, Lucia González, Mariana Detoni, Gonzalo Huerta and Fernando Romano, who completed the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme at Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA), received the good news that they had been chosen as the winners of the 2019 edition of the FIFA/CIES University Network Prize, for their group project entitled, “Plan de desarrollo del fútbol y de la Liga femenina en Argentina” (A Plan to Develop Women’s Football and the Women’s Football League in Argentina).
After a long trip from one continent to another, the four friends arrived in Zurich last Tuesday. They travelled to Neuchâtel by train, which gave them an excellent opportunity to admire some of the stunning landscape Switzerland has to offer. The next day, with Rafael Trevisán, who is the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme Director in Argentina, they visited the CIES headquarters where they were warmly welcomed by staff members of the International Centre for Sports Studies. They then enjoyed a beautiful sunny morning walk in the old town to visit the historic district of Neuchâtel and view some of its typical architecture, and also have the chance to enjoy some of the delicious treats crafted by local chocolate-makers on the way too! In the afternoon, Lucia, Mariana, Gonzalo and Fernando moved to the Law Faculty to present their group project to the current 28 FIFA Master students for a “discussion and welcome drink” session. However, by the evening winter had returned with a vengeance. For Mariana, though, this was a first encounter with snow and a great opportunity to take plenty photos which were then shared with friends on social media in no time at all.
The group got off to an early start on Thursday morning. Once back in Zurich, the participants discovered the collections and attractions of the FIFA museum before venturing out into the city streets in the wind and cold. The next day, they visited FIFA headquarters as part of the FIFA Master 19th edition class field visit. With great emotion, the four alumni received their diplomas from FIFA Deputy Secretary General, Zvonimir Boban, who emphasised the importance of education to ensure efficient management in sport. At the end of the awards ceremony, several FIFA managers gave talks on themes related to communication, governance programmes, player status and competitions.
The four friends then spent the last night of their trip in Zurich together before flying back home, with many happy memories. Again, we extend all our congratulations to Lucia, Mariana, Gonzalo and Fernando. We hope that the four days spent in Switzerland will give them even greater motivation for their careers in sport, and in particular, for the development of women’s football in Argentina.