The Executive Master in European Sport Governance: A Winning Model for Educating Sport Leaders for Tomorrow? – Michael Pedersen

December 18, 2014

As is the case for any other sector, continuously educating operational and political sport leaders is a critical foundation for ensuring that sport governing bodies are well managed and well led. Furthermore, educating sport leaders in the area of sport governance is particularly critical in ensuring that sport governing bodies become fit for purpose in the 21st century.

With a focus on the case of the Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO), this 16th contribution of mine for iSportconnect’s expert column on sport governance offers perspectives on governance education for sport leaders. Based on publicly available information and an interview with key persons in the MESGO organization, the contribution examines aspects such as how to define sport governance and how to govern an educational programme. Last but not least, the contribution also offers some critical questions for sport leaders to consider, as they start the process of modernizing their governance standards for the future.

My 17th contribution will be published early 2015. It is going to offer perspectives on national frameworks for good governance in sport with a particular focus on the Sports Governance Principles of the Australian Sports Commission.

By sport for sport

The Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO) is an 18-month, post-graduate, part-time masters programme. It aims at improving governance in sport by bringing together and educating a diverse group of sport leaders with substantial experience from across European countries, sports and functional specialties.

MESGO stands out in several noteworthy ways. First of all, the Executive Master is developed and managed in collaboration between European sport governing bodies overseeing different sports and universities based in different European countries. Second, it draws on a mix of several academic disciplines; political science, management, economy and law. Third, the programme offers engagement with and teaching by a mix of academics and practitioners. Last not least, it offers high levels of analysis and tools for participants to apply to their own contexts.


A holistic approach

The Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO) is comprised of nine four-day sessions. The sessions take place in different countries over the course of eighteen months, with a sport governing body or a university as the host. The sessions offer a mix of opportunities for acquiring factual knowledge and critical thinking; through pre-readings, lectures, case studies, role-plays, discussions and writing a professional thesis. Aspects of sport governance covered are as follows:

Session 1: Context of International Sport

Session 2: Governance of Sports Organisations

Session 3: Competition Design and Regulation

Session 4: Legal Frameworks

Session 5: Strategic Marketing

Session 6: Sports Events

Session 7: Ethics

Session 8: The North American Model

Session 9: The Future of Sport Governance

Participation from across sports and countries

The Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO) offers quite some diversity in terms of the composition of its classes. Out of 23 participants, the MESGO III Class has 20 nationalities represented who work in 19 different countries, including with European and international sport governing bodies. The average age of participants is 41 years with the youngest participant being 29 years old and the oldest participant being 50 years old. Six different sports are represented with 14 participants coming from football. Two participants are women. All participants have operational leadership roles (professional staff) as opposed to political leadership roles (board members).

To some extent, sport leaders having graduated from MESGO have now started moving into higher positions in their own organizations or in other sport governing bodies.