Prestigious FIFA Master course taught at DMU named best in Europe for record 10th time


The FIFA Master course taught at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has just been named the best postgraduate sports management course in Europe for a record 10th time by the influential SportBusiness global rankings.

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The FIFA Master cohort on a tour of LCFC's King Power stadium

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.

It is highly regarded in the sporting world and previous graduates have included the former Japan 2002 World Cup captain, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, Sanaa Darawsha, who was the first female Arab Muslim referee to officiate in the Israeli football league, and Emma Twigg, who won New Zealand an Olympic Gold in the single scull rowing during last summer’s Tokyo games.

Assessment criteria such as careers after graduation, student satisfaction, student diversity, networking opportunities and wider partnerships are used by SportBusiness to produce the final course ranking results, which they publish annually.

In the 2022 rankings the FIFA Master finished above courses offered by Columbia University (New York), University College Dublin, Loughborough University and the University of Liverpool.

FIFA Master students from all over the world spend their first term at DMU to study the Humanities of Sport module, examining the birth of modern sport, its move into professionalization, gender and equality, internationalisation and ethical issues.

Field trips to sporting institutions such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London Stadium, Wimbledon, Manchester City FC, Manchester United FC, the Professional Footballers’ Association, National Football Museum and Leicester City’s King Power Stadium are also part of the course.

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The Humanities of Sport module team based in the ICSHC is made up of Director Professor Martin Polley, Co-Scientific Director, Dr Heather Dichter, and James Panter who is the Course Coordinator.

Professor Polley said: “The new 2022 rankings demonstrate once again the leading expertise we have in the area of sports history here at DMU and also the quality of our teaching. We always enjoying working with the FIFA Master students each year and take huge satisfaction as they build their careers after graduation”. 

James Panter added: “To be named the number one course in Europe for the 10th time is an incredible achievement – not only for the course team here at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, but also for our Humanities of Sport module guest speakers, field visit contributors and our course alumni.

“To receive this type of external recognition is a great reward for all the work we do in designing and then delivering the course each year to the highest possible standards.”

Course alumni rate their experience highly and many go on to hold senior positions at major sports institutions.

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Graduate Paola Michelle, of the Dominican Republic/USA, is a Team Services Account Manager at the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and will be looking after four of the 32 qualifying teams.

She said: “Along with many graduates from the course, the FIFA Master was one of the best years of my life to date.

“One of the greatest takeaways I have was definitely the exposure to different cultures and the field visits to multiple sports entities. To be able to build up your sport business network as a result of the opportunities provided by the course is very valuable in our industry.”

Graduate Louis Kingziger, of France, is now President of Spanish football club San Fernando Club Deportivo. He said: “The Leicester Humanities of Sport module, and the various field visits during our studies in England, really gave me an insight into how to implement innovation yet respect the values of tradition at the same time.”

Erica Puppo, of Brazil and Italy, is now a Policy Advisor and Strategic Project Coordinator at worldwide football player’s union FIFPRO.

She said: “From an academic standpoint, the FIFA Master course helped me to acquire a holistic understanding of the sports industry. It pushed me to go beyond my immediate area of focus and interest. As a result, it opened my mind and exposed me to aspects of the industry that I would have never encountered otherwise.”

The current cohort of FIFA Master students arrived in Leicester earlier this month and will continue studying here until late December.

Posted on Friday 30th September 2022

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