A former international footballer, a professional skier and a global football agent are among the 28 students from around the globe who have started studying the prestigious FIFA Master course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
The one year course, which is co-ordinated by the Centre International d’Etude du Sport (CIES) and supported by football’s world governing body FIFA, involves students dedicating a term of study at DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) before also spending a term at both the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy, and Switzerland’s University of Neuchâtel.
The FIFA Master is regarded as one of the world’s best sports management courses and earlier this year it was named by SportBusiness International as Europe’s top ranked postgraduate sports management course for a record sixth time.
More than 90 per cent of FIFA Master graduates are now working in the global sports industry for organisations including the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) and the City Football Group.
Other alumni are leading the way in sport-based NGOs and social enterprises, such as SEED Project and the Football Club Social Alliance.
Alumni include South Korea’s former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, Women’s Champions League winner Ami Otaki, Japan’s 2006 World Cup Captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto and New Zealand rower Emma Twigg, who was ranked world number one while studying at DMU.
During their time at DMU, FIFA Master students will examine the birth of modern sport, the humanities of sport, its professionalization and the ethics of sport.
Students from countries including India, Namibia, Brazil and South Korea have already been impressed by DMU’s campus and are looking forward to getting started with their studies.
Former cricketer Rajdeep Deo Bhanj, from India, said: “I’m hoping to put the skills I learn on this course into use back in India creating more opportunities for children to play sports. The FIFA Master has built up a great network of alumni who can help develop grassroots sports.”
Arthur Loye, who competed at European level during his skiing career, said: “The great thing about the FIFA Master is that you meet people from all over the world and learn together. Sport is a great school of life, when you do it as a young person it helps you learn values and hard work, teamwork, and meeting other people from other backgrounds and other countries.”
Erica Puppo, who said that she had to be a football fan due to her Italian and Brazilian background, is hoping to use this course to make a difference at all levels of sport.
She said: “I wanted to find a way to provide help to sports from grassroots up, rather than just showcasing those at the very top of the game. This course is known all over the world and we cannot wait to get started.”
During their first week of study, the new students have had the chance to explore Leicester and were even able to watch England beat Switzerland at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.
Salome Iiyambo, who played over 30 matches for the Namibia national women’s football team, said: “It was a good experience. After watching these guys on TV all our lives it was great to come here and see them live.
“It gives a true reflection of what is happening here and that diversity brings a lot of enrichment in terms of knowledge, because in Africa it is totally different from what happens in the rest of the world. In sport we all have the same language and we are here to learn from one another.”
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South Korean Marie Shin has worked in the sports industry as a football agent, the first female FIFA match agent and on the Olympic and Paralympic organising committees.
She said: “Everyone is really nice and it is interesting because everyone is from different backgrounds. We all get along really well.
“I want to work for the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) at their headquarters in Germany and I thought a step towards that would be taking this course.”
Outside of their time spent studying, the FIFA Master students are hoping to work with DMU Square Mile to provide football sessions for the local community.
Michael Roniek, a Cambridge graduate from Poland, explained: “We’ll get a group of people together and try to help some of the refugees or underprivileged kids in Leicester.”
ICSHC director Martin Polley said: “This is now my fifth year of leading the FIFA MA, with my colleague Professor Pierre Lanfranchi and our module coordinator James Panter, and it remains an honour and a privilege to work with such talented, diverse and driven students with such a range of international backgrounds.
“In their time with us working on the Humanities of Sport, they will develop their sense of how and why the world of sport is structured as it is, and how they can lead the way in improving it. I am looking forward to working with these talented students.”
Posted on Thursday 20th September 2018