Students from as far afield as Singapore and South Africa have arrived at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to study on the prestigious FIFA Master course.
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 students in Trinity House gardens as they start their course
The FIFA Master is regarded as one of the world’s best sports management courses and last year was named by Sports Business International as Europe’s top ranked postgraduate sports management course for a record ninth time.
Nihan Cabbaroglis, who is a basketball, tennis and athletics sports commentator for TV channel Eurosport, put life in front of the camera on hold for a year to complete her master’s.
Nihan, from Turkey, said: “I see the course as a chance to find out what opportunities there are in the international arena. I really feel I want to move into sports management. I will definitely be going to a Leicester Riders game while I am here (Leicester’s professional basketball team and current holders of the men’s British Basketball League title). We have a field trip but I think I will be going before that.”
Renae C Samuel is from Grenada in the Caribbean and was the Director of Women’s Football at the Grenada Football Association. She was also secretary of Grenada’s Queen’s Park Rangers FC.
Renae said: “I hope first of all that I am successful in completing the course and then I want to share the knowledge I gain here to help further develop sport in Grenada.”
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Mikkal Haugan, from Oslo, in Norway, runs development projects for the Norwegian Football Federation. He said: “First and foremost, I am looking forward to meeting a lot of interesting people and I look forward to learning a lot from all the global sports industry leaders we will meet. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Leicester but it is a very nice city.”
Buhlebethu Dumbu, from South Africa, has joined the course after starting an elite training academy for athletes, lecturing at the Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and coaching grassroots and junior cricket.
He said: “It’s an honour for me and a privilege to be here at DMU amongst all these guys. I hope not just to make friends and network but also take back my learning and understanding of sports history to South Africa to offer a different perspective to young people.”
Professor Martin Polley, Director of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) at DMU and Co-Scientific Director of the FIFA MA, said: “I’ve enjoyed meeting the students at induction, and hearing about their diverse backgrounds and impressive academic and professional achievements. I’m now looking forward to working with them in class as we explore sport’s historical and cultural aspects together.”
The FIFA Master class tours DMU Campus
Dr Heather Dichter, Co-Scientific Director of the FIFA Master and Associate Professor of Sport History and Management at DMU, said: “I have taught a little bit on the FIFA MA the past few years but now, in my first year as Co-Scientific Director, it was great meeting all of the students during the first two induction days. I am looking forward to working with our Swiss and Italian colleagues and teaching this year's cohort of students”.
James Panter, who is the FIFA Master Module Officer at DMU, added: “The students have travelled from all over the world to begin their studies here in Leicester. Following a very busy summer preparing for their arrival and producing a timetable which is a combination of academic sessions, industry guest speakers and field visits to some of the biggest names in world sport, we are now looking forward to starting the new academic year”.
During the Leicester based Humanities of Sport module of the course the students will cover themes including the Birth of Modern Sport, Equality and Inclusion, Women’s Sport and the Internationalisation of Sport.
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.
(from left) ICSHC's Prof Martin Polley, Dr Heather Dichter and James Panter
They include former Manchester United FC midfield ace, Park Ji-Sung, 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.
Emma Twigg, who studied the FIFA Master at DMU in 2016 claimed gold for New Zealand in last summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
Emma won gold in the woman's single scull rowing. She previously spoke to the university just before the Olympics about how she regularly trained on the River Soar, at the bottom of the DMU campus, and returned to the July 2022 course graduation ceremony as the class Patron.
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.
Posted on Wednesday 21st September 2022