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Caracas, Venezuela

Venezuela: FIFA/CIES Executive Programme students organise sporting event

Students from the 9th edition of the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme, organised since 2010 with Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET) and the support of GDI - Gerencia Deportiva Internacional - organised the 4th Copa UNIMET/GDI a few weeks ago. For the students, the aim was to apply the knowledge acquired during more than 5 months of classes and to test their ability to react to the unexpected challenges that arise during the organisation of such sporting events. The competition brought together four U-14 girls’ football teams in the Venezuelan capital. w

Early on a Sunday morning in Caracas, the organisers meet on the sports square of CIES Academic Partner UNIMET, whose campus is located in the district of “Terrazas del Ávila” in the north-east of the city. While the 33 students work on the final details, making sure they have not forgotten anything, the first players arrive, accompanied by their coaches and their families. Despite the early hour, all the girls are eager to start playing, proudly representing four professional clubs, namely Caracas FC, Fratelsa Sport FC, Universidad Central de Venezuela FC and a mixed team made up of representatives from Metropolitanos de Caracas and Academia Euroamericana de Fútbol.

Around the football pitches, we can recognize Maria-José González, the UNIMET/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme Director, Rafael Espinoza, the Programme Coordinator, Pily Modroño, the Head of the Marketing Module, and Victor Ledezma, CIES Coordinator in Venezuela. All of them have enthusiastically contributed to the Executive Programme for almost ten years now. Today, they are here to support the students while evaluating the quality of their work. Pily describes the challenge as follows: “To organise this type of event, there is no room for improvisation. Everything must be anticipated and resolved, especially in the complicated situation we are now facing in our country”.

For several months before the event, the organisers have devoted their free time to the project, alongside their professional obligations, their studies and, for some, their family lives. On this topic, Jorge Alberto “Zurdo” Rojas, a former player on the Venezuelan national team (84 matches) who now wishes to make a transition to a career as a sports manager, comments “It is hard to imagine everything that lies behind the organisation of matches. I am happy to have attended this programme to find  out about it. It is essential to acquire these skills so that we can change the sporting landscape in Venezuela”.

Behind the scenes, the students had to deal with many logistical issues, to ensure that the tournament could take place in optimal conditions. Among other things, they had to deal with team management, appointment of referees, finding sponsors, organising transport, promoting the event, taking care of technical equipment, safety issues and food for the players, without forgetting entertainment for the public, prizes to be awarded to the participants and media relations.

Kick-off time: The four teams compete with great determination, but always in a spirit of fair play. Many goals are scored to the delight of the players and the audience. After 8 matches, the winning team is announced. The 4th UNIMET/GDI Cup is won by the mixed “Metropolitanos - Academia Euroamericana de Fútbol” team, just ahead of Caracas FC. The organisers award the trophy to the 14 “sky blue” girls, who celebrate their victory joyfully but also congratulate the players from the other teams.

The competition went smoothly, and the 33 students can be proud of their success as organisers. Venezuela Karate Federation Secretary-General Jaime Noguera sums up the day as follows: “The Executive Programme and the organisation of this Cup has been a fantastic, rewarding adventure. It has offered a unique opportunity for managers in various sports to work together to overcome all the difficulties that have plagued Venezuelan sport for so many years. Without this fantastic teamwork, we would never have been able to successfully organise an event in such a difficult national context.”

CIES sends our congratulations to the UNIMET team, to GDI and to Pedro, Eduardo Andres, José Luis, José Rafael, José Alí, Ana Karina, Manuel Alberto, Diego, Diana Carolina, Edfran Jesus, Francisco Alberto, José Ignacio, Jhonattan Armando, Manuel Eduardo, Juan Francisco, Oscar Eduardo, Yojan Alfonso, Jaime Alejandro, Marle Ninoska, Andreina Maria, Sebastián Humberto, Miguel Armando, Cesar Augusto, Bogard Jesus, Jorge Alberto, Rebeca Alejandra, Jesus Alberto, Roberto Carlos, Jorge Alfredo, Nelson Adrian, Leopoldo Julian and Adriana.