A sports management course which attracts students from all over the world to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been named the best of its kind in Europe for an incredible eighth time.
The FIFA Master International MA in Management, Law and Humanities, co-ordinated by the Centre International d’Etude du Sport (CIES) in Switzerland, sees students spend three months each at DMU, the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan and the Université de Neuchâtel in Switzerland.
Last year's cohort at the King Power, home of Leicester City
At DMU, the course is taught by the team at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC), where students learn the history of sports and discuss topical issues and challenges facing the sports industry.
They also take in field trips to world famous sporting institutions such as Wimbledon and Lord’s cricket ground, as well as the homes of Leicester City, Manchester City and Manchester United football clubs.
Previous alumni who studied at DMU have been inspirational figures in their chosen line of sport and attended the FIFA Masters to go on and lead institutions around the globe.
They include former Manchester United midfield ace Park Ji-Sung, Emma Twigg, New Zealand double Olympian and World Champion sculler, Sanaa Darawsha, who was the first female Arab Muslim referee to officiate in the Israeli football league, and Eduardo Tavares, who was previously responsible for Chelsea’s loan players - such as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount – who went on to help the West London club qualify for this year’s Champions League.
Increasing numbers of FIFA Masters alumni are also entering into non-profit organisations, charities and sports development work to help minorities and people in areas normally deprived of sport.
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Professor Martin Polley, Director of the ICSHC, and co-Scientific Director, said: “It’s fantastic for the FIFA MA to receive this accolade for a record eighth time.
“The programme is unlike any other, due to its mix of Humanities, Management, and Law, and all of us in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture are proud to be involved in such a flagship course.
“Working with such talented students from a wide range of national and professional backgrounds is a highlight of our work.”
Professor Pierre Lanfranchi, also a co-Scientific Director added: “Over the past 20 years, I have had the chance to meet outstanding students – all of whom have seen how different cultures and different expectations can work together by listening to each other.
A visit to Manchester's National Football Museum is among the field trips taken while at DMU
“Above everything, though, this course has showed to me that strong collaboration exists between academics, disciplines and visions of sport. Indeed, I have learnt a lot just from being involved in the FIFA Master from the first day of its existence.”
James Panter, Module Co-ordinator based at DMU, said: “The new 2020 rankings provide not only an independent endorsement of the quality of the academic programme, but also of our outstanding graduates.
“We are committed to ensuring our students have the best possible experience during their studies and we take great satisfaction in seeing the impact of this effort as they build their careers after graduation.”
Alumni from the course have also sung the praises of the academics and staff at DMU and acknowledged how their time in Leicester has helped them go on to achieve great things.
Australian Adam Crothers, who is Head of Digital Media Rights at Formula 1, said: “I entered the programme thinking I had a fairly strong knowledge of the sports industry but it only took a few days in Leicester for me to be proven wrong!
“The insights I gathered from the first three months of the programme were incredible; understanding the very origins of sport - and the passage from the Corinthian values to professionalism and how that ultimately underpins the entire industry as it is today - was fascinating.”
American Ashley Ehlert, Legal Director at the International Ice Hockey Federation, added:
"I have no doubt that what I learned throughout the FIFA Masters is what has allowed me to succeed in my current role.
“From a personal perspective, my fondest memories were the first couple of months in Leicester. During this time, lifetime friendships were formed.
“From an academic perspective, my fondest memories were the field visits as this was the time that theory learned in the classroom was connected to practice as seen on the actual job".
Female leaders in sport marked 20 years of the FIFA Master at DMU
Last year, DMU marked the 20th anniversary of the FIFA Master by inviting three alumni to take part in a Q&A focussing on Female Leadership in International Sport, and draw on their own experiences of entering a heavily male dominated sector in different parts of the globe.
Graduates Kirsty Burrows, Managing Director of Sports Rights Solutions which advises the International Olympic Committee on the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport, Sara Panizo, who works for FIFA in Zurich overseeing development projects in the Americas, and Marianne Cornejo, International Motorsports Junior Manager for Red Bull, were invited back to DMU to lead the discussion.
The DMU module of the FIFA Master course covers themes including: Sport and Ethics, The Birth of Modern Sport, Professional Sport in Context, Internationalisation of Sport, Sport and Human Rights, Equality and Diversity, Women’s Sport and Sport and Development.
Posted on Tuesday 1st September 2020