New-style UEFA CFM proves a hit

The UEFA Certificate in Football Management (CFM) academic programme is providing people working in football throughout the world with invaluable expertise to help them further their careers and develop their skills.

The UEFA CFM Open Edition class of 2020
The UEFA CFM Open Edition class of 2020 UEFA via Getty Images

The latest edition of the CFM programme – revamped to include a wider range of participants – has seen 27 graduates from 22 countries earn qualifications that will strengthen their football management know-how and help improve standards within their professional environments. A graduation ceremony was held online following the last seminar in late September.

Previously, the programme, developed by the UEFA Academy, was open exclusively to selected professionals working in UEFA’s 55 member associations, as well as for their direct stakeholders. By popular demand, UEFA has now reshaped the CFM to include anyone working in the game who wishes to enhance their expertise and knowledge.

Worldwide intake

The first edition of the new-style CFM brought together participants from a variety of diverse areas of the football industry, including clubs, leagues, broadcasting, supporter groups, NGOs and federations outside Europe. Their working backgrounds included communications, media, law, research and business.

The programme has been designed in partnership with the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) at the University of Lausanne and experienced UEFA experts. It comprises three face-to-face seminars and six online modules, and features various assignments to analyse a specific sports organisation.

Participants undertake some 300 hours of work, studies and analysis, as part of a blended learning process – online and face-to-face – which ensures a flexible approach to the workload, enabling participants to undertake the programme while continuing with their day job.

With two seminars held at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland) and one in London, the programme was tailored to an international context to broaden learners’ perspective of football management. In the light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the last seminar and all exams for participants were held online.

Exciting experience

Participants experienced an exciting and rewarding human adventure throughout the latest CFM edition, during which they developed strong bonds and a broad network of industry professionals.

“The UEFA CFM is perhaps the most insightful, engaging, and informative academic programme that I've had the privilege of taking part in,” said TV sports producer and presenter Sid Kohli. “The execution of the programme is as impressive as it is professional. Learning about topical football subjects from experts has been eye-opening and rewarding, especially alongside a cohort of professionals actively working in the football industry.”

“Proactive move”

For the first time ever, students took part in a virtual simulation of a UEFA Champions League matchday, in which they fulfilled various venue roles.

“I think it was a really proactive move from the UEFA Academy to ensure that the ongoing pandemic would not prevent participants from experiencing the simulation exercise,” Kohli added.

“It definitely was a very reassuring thing for me as a participant, to know that the UEFA Academy was going above and beyond, to make sure the course delivered as much value as possible.”

In August, candidates met one-on-one with UEFA human resources specialists and received important career advice and guidance.

Positive future

All participants successfully graduated and received a certificate of advanced studies.

UEFA Academy head Thomas Junod is confident that the CFM programme – which has proved a crucial source of learning and knowledge gathering within European football – will go from strength to strength in its revised format.

“At the UEFA Academy, we are very proud and grateful that our most renowned and oldest programme, the UEFA CFM, is now accessible to participants outside UEFA’s national associations,” he said.

“Having such a diverse and high-level group of participants for the inaugural CFM open edition represents a real bonus for the UEFA Academy, as it raises the bar for the next editions, which we will be working hard to improve constantly.”

UEFA congratulates the participants on their graduation from the CFM programme, and wishes them every success in the future.

The class of 2020

Ahmed Shaaek (Bangladesh)
Alexander Carroll (UK)
Annisa Zhafarina Qashri (Indonesia)
Cristian Cerimele (Italy)
Domenico Santoro (Italy)
Gilberto Fimbres (Mexico)
Henry Majale Siata (Kenya)
Joanne Salazar (Trinidad and Tobago)
João Menezes Lopes (Portugal)
Juan Mariano Solá (Argentina)
Kevin Yalale-Matufueni (Belgium)
Lena Gustafson Wiberg (Sweden)
Mahesh Reddy (India)
Mariano Carcatella (Italy)
Michael Mathys (Switzerland)
Michele Tiozzo Netti (Switzerland)
Naser Nasrollahzadeh (Iran)
Natalie Barlow (South Africa)
Nicholas Thurston (New Zealand)
Nicole Winkelhake (Germany)
Nikita Filippov (Ukraine)
Paul-Henri Courmont (France)
Peter Schmidli (Switzerland)
Sameh Masri (Palestine)
Sid Kohli (UK)
Valeria Belozertsova (Russia)
Viktoriia Azhoichik (Estonia)