LEADERS IN FOOTBALL 2013
For the 6th year running Leaders in football sold out, bringing an audience of over 1000 leading figures across the global game. The ground-breaking and international programme was hailed as the best yet with stories from the conference spread worldwide by the 170 strong media contingent, once again demonstrating the event’s important position in the world football business calendar.
Kicking off proceedings was The FA’s new Chairman, Greg Dyke. Anticipating a revealing speech about the development of the game in England and improving the national team, the room was full before his arrival. Focussing on these topics and announcing the FA Commission, Dyke had the conference buzzing from the start.
He was followed on stage by another 2 prominent football administrators. The FIFA Executive Committee member and President of the US Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati, and President of the Mexican League, Decio De Maria, described progress in their countries and tackled the big questions surrounding the potential move of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Alongside the debate about WC 2022, one of the key topics under discussion this year was match-fixing and integrity. Widely considered to be the major threat facing the sport worldwide, Leaders in Football hosted one of the game’s top figures taking on the challenge. Since his appointment as President of La Liga earlier this year, Javier Tebas has made tackling match-fixing one of his top priorities and in a one-on-one interview shared his plans.
Issues facing the club game were addressed by some of the biggest names in football. Billionaire chairmen Andrea Agnelli (Juventus) and Unal Aysal (Galatasaray) explored European competition, and the Presidents of Fluminense, Chelsea and Southampton outlined their challenges from fan pressure to governance.
Bringing ideas from outside of football were two Keynote sessions. Exploring the theme of brand creation and building a sports organisation was the owner and founder of the world’s fastest growing sport – the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Lorenzo Fertitta was alongside the MD for EMEA, Garry Cook, for a frank and honest interview showing what it takes to build a sport from scratch and UFC’s key initiatives for engaging new fans. Initiatives that are proving hugely successful.
The final keynote was a heavyweight of the global business community – Sir Martin Sorrell. As CEO of WPP Group, Sir Martin heads one of the biggest advertising conglomerates on the planet. In a revealing 45 minute speech, he described business changes on a global scale, how football’s role is evolving, and observations on drivers of success in the sports business. It was a state-of-the-nation address for sport and will shape opinions of those attending for the next year and beyond.
Closing both days of the conference were key people at the sharp end of the game – players and managers. At the end of Day 1, West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke lined up alongside former players Michel Salgado, Louis Saha and Edwin Van Der Sar to answer on-field questions about the way the game is played and at the close of Day 2, Joey Barton of QPR and John Arne Riise of Fulham gave frank and revealing interviews into the state of the game.
To see the Leaders in Football 2013 Event Guide, please click below: