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MESGO graduates honoured in Nyon

Graduates from the second Executive Master in European Sport Governance course received their certificates at a ceremony in Nyon, at which ex-athlete Colin Jackson was guest speaker.

MESGO graduates at the House of European Football in Nyon
MESGO graduates at the House of European Football in Nyon ©Getty Images

The second Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO) course has been completed, with 17 graduates receiving their certificates at a ceremony in Nyon.

Star guest at the ceremony at UEFA's House of European Football was the former athlete from the United Kingdom, Colin Jackson, whose outstanding career, in particular as a 110-metre hurdler, brought him an impressive array of world, European and domestic records and an Olympic silver medal. Jackson gave a stirring keynote motivational speech to the graduates.

MESGO is a unique platform designed for elected representatives and managerial staff of sports organisations, providing them with training, social and professional contacts, knowledge-sharing opportunities and personal development. Created by initiatives from internationally renowned universities and research centres, MESGO has been developed as a partnership of the members of the Association of European Team Sports (ETS) and has UEFA's full support.

The 18-month course programme aims, amid an ever-changing environment in the sports industry, to provide its participants with a better understanding of the key current and future challenges faced by the sports sector, while also focusing on the European dimension of measures that need to be taken.

The multidisciplinary approach to MESGO enables in-depth analysis of legal, political and economic issues, as well as insights into key examples of sports organisation's areas of work – such as sport's specificity, competition balance, commercial rights exploitation, social dialogue and social responsibility. It also helps participants to build important sports discipline networks to exchange ideas, input and feedback.

MESGO's partner academic institutions include Birkbeck Sports Business Centre (University of London); Centre for Law and Economics of Sport (University of Limoges); Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz; Institut Nacional D'Educacio Fisica de Catalunya (University of Lleida) and Sciences Po Paris. Partner sports institutions are, in addition to UEFA, European Handball Federation (EHF); International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF); Association Européenne de Rugby (FIRA-AER), FIBA Europe (basketball) and the Confédération Européenne de Volleyball (CEV).

"This day means a lot for all of you," UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino told the graduates. "I hope you have found MESGO enriching. A masters programme like this is absolutely necessary in today's sporting world. We need to make sure that the decision-makers of today and tomorrow are prepared to take decisions which protect sport first and foremost.

"Good governance is not only about taking decisions, but also assuming responsibility in taking decisions," he added. "I hope you have become aware of this in the past 18 months. MESGO acts as a benchmark that will help shape the future of sport. UEFA is very proud to contribute to this programme, and we are also learning a lot from the other team sports federations who are involved."

Colin Jackson spoke of the need for personal focus, commitment, discipline and responsibility – elements that he had been taught as a young teenage athlete and which helped contribute to his later successes. He highlighted the need for understanding about team environments, as well as for strong, open communication – getting sound messages across to promote a sport, for example, or to gather colleagues' support and respect within a team set-up.

"All of you graduates are setting out on an incredible journey," Jackson added. "Use your networks very well. Be very positive, and enjoy what you do, because you are in a very blessed position."

Two course participants stressed MESGO’s importance. "To have these studies is a once-in-a-lifetime chance," said Football Union of Russia deputy CEO Ekaterina Fedyshina. "We have all had the chance to step back from our daily work and reflect on our sport's direction and long-term vision – and we have learned important knowledge from experts," added European Club Association (ECA) head of public and international affairs David Frommer.

Applications are being invited until 15 April 2014 for the third edition of MESGO.