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October 2020

WFSIA Best Male Player award nominees

WFSIA Best Player nominations: Lewandowski, Messi, Bronze and Harder make final 30

WFSIA Best Player nominations: Lewandowski, Messi, Bronze and Harder make final 30 2560 1440 WFS Live

Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Lucy Bronze and Pernille Harder head the 30-strong list of World Football Summit Industry Awards (WFSIA) Best Player nominations released today.

The first ever WFSIA Best Male Player and Best Female Player awards – in partnership with leading Spanish news website AS – saw two 15 long-lists drawn up by some of Spain’s top journalists.

And now, fans will be able to vote for who of those final 30 names they think should take home the award on 16 November – a week ahead of WFS Liveby voting HERE on the AS website.

Final votes will be weighted by 25% of fan nominations and 75% of our jury – made up of football journalists from AS, El País and Cadena Ser.

Three finalists for each Best Player category will be unveiled on 11 November, and the winners revealed five days later.

The Best Player awards were added to this year’s WFSIA – which is already considering 80 vetted candidates from 31 countries all over the world across the other nine categories – in order to celebrate and reward the efforts of players who have helped bring entertainment back into our lives following the global coronavirus pandemic.

As World Football Summit director Jan Alessie put it when the Best Player awards were announced: “We believe that this is a good moment to add to our WFS Industry Awards a category that rewards the work of the players, who are together with the fans the great protagonists of this game and this business.”

Here are the 30 finalists in full:


WFSIA Best Female Player award nominees

Sarah Bouhaddi (Olympique Lyon), Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon/Manchester City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash/West Ham), Debinha (North Carolina Courage), Christiane Endler (Paris Saint-Germain), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg/Chelsea), Jenni Hermoso (FC Barcelona), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars/Chelsea), Dzsenifer Marozsán (Olympique Lyon), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Lena Oberdorf (Essen/Wolfsburg), Sandra Paños (FC Barcelona), Alexia Putellas (FC Barcelona), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)


WFSIA Best Player Award nominations

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

Best Player awards.

Male and female Best Player categories added to WFS Industry Awards

Male and female Best Player categories added to WFS Industry Awards 2333 1313 WFS Live

To recognise the efforts of professional footballers across one of the most difficult years in the history of the game, World Football Summit and AS have teamed up to bring male and female Best Player awards to the 2020 WFS Industry Awards.

Following the initial halt to the global game by coronavirus, footballers the world over have been integral to the sport’s safe return that has brought entertainment back into people’s lives during an unprecedented past few months.

As a result, WFS and AS wish to reward and acknowledge some of those players that have brought smiles back on our faces with their incredible performances both on and off the pitch.

“The year 2020 has been a very hard one. We are experiencing an unprecedented global crisis and in this context it is clear that football is taking a back seat. But at the same time, the absence of football has allowed us to see to what extent this sport makes us happy and provides us with an escape route,” said World Football Summit director, Jan Alessie.

“That is why we believe that this is a good moment to add to our WFS Industry Awards a category that rewards the work of the players, who are together with the fans the great protagonists of this game and this business.”

Supporters from across the globe will have their say once our initial list of 30 candidates15 for the men’s award, and 15 for the women’s equivalent – is announced on Tuesday, 27 October.

Best Player awards.

Best Male and Female Player awards have now been added to the 2020 #WFSIA.

From there, fans will be able to vote for their favourite via the AS website, with votes weighted by 25% of fan nominations and 75% of our jury – made up of football journalists from leading Spanish media outlets AS, El País and Cadena Ser.

As announced by AS, the jury members are:

– Vicente Jiménez (AS director)
– Alfredo Relaño (AS honorary president)
– Santiago Segurola (AS columnist)
– María Jesús Luengo (AS editor-in-chief)
– José Sámano (El País sports editor-in-chief)
– Aritz Gabilondo (AS journalist)
– Alejandro Gómez (AS Mexico director)
– Axel Torres (AS columnist)
– Carmen Colino (AS verticles editor-in-chief)
– Dani Garrido (Cadena SER director)
– Mayca Jiménez (AS journalis)
– Manu Carreño (Cadena SER director)
– Sarah Castro (AS Colombia director )
– Aimara Garteizgoxeascoa Gil (AS journalist)
– Mario Brisso (AS Chile director)

Three finalists for each Best Player category will then be unveiled on 11 November, and the winners revealed five days later on 16 November.

“The return of football has been a stimulus for many people and this has been possible thanks, among other things, to the efforts of the players who have adapted to very difficult conditions to continue to feed the passion of the fans,” added Alessie.

“And to reward the best players we could not have a better partner than a reference for information and content such as Prisa News, which has the most prestigious experts and sports analysts in the country.”

This year’s #WFSIA will already consider 80 candidates from 31 different countries all over the world and will once again celebrate a football industry that is facing one of the trickiest periods in its history, including the newly-added Best Player gong.

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With just a week left to nominate yourself or someone else for the 2020 #WFSIA at the link in our bio, we think it's time to meet the jurors… ⁣ 👨‍💼 Best Executive presented by Nolan Partners⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Lisa Baird (NWSL), Stefano Bertola (Juventus), Chad Biagini (Nolan Partners), Mike Tomon (Legends), Dionna Widder (Houston Dynamo)⁣ ⁣ 🚚 Best Supplier presented by @sportstechx⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Matthew Cairns (Eleven Sports Media), Rohn Malhotra (SportsTechX), Philipp Rossner (Signa Sports United), Nathalie Sonne (leAD Sports), Petr Zhukov (Indigo Capital Partners)⁣ ⁣ 🙏 Football for good presented by @commongoalorg⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Ana Arizabaleta (Fundación Selección Colombia), Tomasz Frankowski (European Parliament), Jürgen Griesbeck (Common Goal), Yianny Ioannou (Tackle Africa), Urs Kluser (UEFA Foundation for Children)⁣ ⁣ 🏟️ Best Venue presented by @mondostadia⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Maddalena Cannarsa (Grimshaw) Sam Hughes (Mondo Stadia), Andy Simons (KSS), Marina Tranchitella (Sport Club Internacional), Jeroen van Iersel (Johan Cruyff ArenA)⁣ ⁣ 📈 Best Club Commercial Initiative presented by @mccann_mw⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Alfredo Bustillo (CaixaBank), Carlos Cantó (SPSG Consulting), Pascual Martínez (McCANN), Pablo N. Ruiz (Racing Club), Benedikt Scholz (Borussia Dortmund)⁣ ⁣ 🏃‍♀️ Best Women’s Football Initiative presented by @womeninfootballofficial⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Tom Corbett (Barclays), Mayi Cruz Blanco (Adecco), Ebru Köksal (Women in Football), Kerstin Lutz (TEAM), Hala Ousta (FIFA)⁣ ⁣ 🌍 Best Internationalisation Strategy presented by @deloitte⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Jokin Aperribay (Real Sociedad), Rocio Fernandez-Rubies Aguirre (Amazon), Concha Iglesias (Deloitte), Carlos Ocaña (Real Madrid), Sergio Oslé Varona (Movistar +)⁣ ⁣ 📱 Best Digital Platform presented by @7league⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Rob Harris (Associated Press), Jamie King (NFL), Fiona Staines (ECB), Russell Stopford (PSG), Amanda Vandervort (FIFPRO), François Westcombe (Seven League)⁣ ⁣ 🤖 Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3xt Sports⁣ 👨‍⚖️👩‍⚖️ Aitor Jimenez Villar (Athletic Club Bilbao), Mathieu Lacome (PSG), Benjamin Stoll (FIFA), Susanne Timosci (DFL), Shane Whelan (British & Irish Lions), Mounir Zok (N3xt Sports)

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WFS Industry Awards

WFS Industry Awards to consider 80 candidates from 31 countries

WFS Industry Awards to consider 80 candidates from 31 countries 2560 1440 WFS Live

The deadline for 2020 WFS Industry Awards applications shut on 18 October, with candidates put forward from all over the world.

In total, we have vetted and approved 80 candidatures from 31 countries that have met the criteria of our nine #WFSIA categories.

Out of those 80 now under consideration, 31 per cent were put forward from corporate backgrounds, 26% from clubs23% were NGOs and foundations13% from leagues, and 7% were federations and institutions.

We will announce three finalists for each category on 12 November, with the winners joining our Hall of Fame revealed four days later on 16 November.

Our 2020 victors will then have the chance to be interviewed on our digital stage in a 20-minute session that will be part of the WFS Live Conference Programme.

Those interviews will take place virtually at WFS Live on Friday, 27 November.

This year saw four new categories added: Best Digital Platform and Outstanding Innovation Initiative, as well as our most recent additions that celebrate the performances of players since football’s return; Best Male Player and Best Female Player.

Our full WFS Industry Awards categories read as follows:

–      Best Executive presented by Nolan Partners
–      Best Supplier presented by SportstechX
–      Football for Good presented by Common Goal
–      Best Venue presented by Mondo Stadia
–      Best Club Commercial Initiative presented by McCann
–      Best Women’s Football Initiative presented by Women in Football Football
–      Best Internationalisation Strategy presented by Deloitte
–      Best Digital Platform presented by Seven League
–      Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3XT Sports
–      Best Male Player presented by AS
–      Best Female Player presented by AS

Common Goal’s Jürgen Griesbeck: “Now is the moment to shape the future we want for football”

Common Goal’s Jürgen Griesbeck: “Now is the moment to shape the future we want for football” 1200 675 WFS Live

The football we want, the game we need! These eight words will form the spine of WFS LIVE‘s opening day, as WFS and Common Goal team up to invite football’s stakeholders and decision makers to reimagine the industry over the next decade.

Driven by the ambition of maximising football’s positive impact on society, all day one panels will set out to provide an answer to a question crucial to the sport’s future: How can we embed purpose at the heart of the game?

A month ahead of the event, we talked to Common Goal co-founder Jürgen Griesbeck to know more about how the WFS Live programme is being shaped, the key topics that will be addressed, and the specific goals that we’re aiming to achieve as we look to turn discussion into action and instigate a turning point for the industry.

Jürgen Griebeck (l.) and Common Goal have been central figures at WFS events since our inception.

Q. Common Goal reacted very quickly to coronavirus, launching the Common Goal Covid-19 Response Fund which aims to deliver essential support services to vulnerable youth not only during the pandemic but also afterwards. Can you give us an update on how the fund is going and the work that your partner organisations are carrying out?

A. The COVID-19 crisis has put the world in an unprecedented situation. More than ever, we realised how vulnerable we are and the need for a collective response. With Common Goal, we had a mechanism that enabled us to provide a rapid response, given our existing network of community organisations and our community of members and partners from the football industry, including players, managers and other stakeholders such as World Football Summit

Since the start of the pandemic, we have supported around 40 football for good organisations working across the globe with two different projects: the Common Goal COVID-19 Fund, with a global reach; and the Common Ground project, with a focus in Germany. The principle behind it all being: support young people who are in a situation of vulnerability and for whom the crisis has amplified existing challenges such as poverty, lack of access to education, essential services, safe spaces, and being exposed to gender violence and forced migration.

Such efforts were done through our network of community organisations, who, in addition to implementing football for good programmes for young people as their “day to day activities”, represent an important form of support for young people, families, and their local communities – and are at the center of the community development. This has been of crucial importance during the crisis, especially for young people who have seen a halt in services and measures that had previously provided a sense of home and reliable relationship structures.

Q. Since 2017, Common Goal and World Football Summit have jointly promoted football as a force for good, but for the coming WFS Live you’re going to take a step forward and devote a full day to the ambitious objective of embedding social purpose in the industry’s agenda for the future. Why have you decided to take this step now, when the industry is experiencing one of its biggest ever crisis?

A. Since the launch of Common Goal, the support from World Football Summit has been remarkable, both with WFS becoming a member of Common Goal in 2017 but also always providing a space for Common Goal and believing in the vision we have for football. 

Now is the moment to discuss and shape the future we want for the football industry and take action. Not only because of the crisis of the football industry but rather because with the current global crisis we have realised how vulnerable we are a society, and how interconnected we are. We have a responsibility to act together as a global community, as a collective, and football, as the biggest cultural phenomenon on earth, has the responsibility and opportunity to be a big part of it. World Football Summit is creating a space to enable these discussions to happen and we are thrilled to help shape these discussions and the way forward in cooperation with institutions, athletes, the corporate world and the football community as a whole. 

Q. Football is a global industry that cuts across so many different sectors and involves a wide range of stakeholders. Which stakeholders do you think have a more important role to play in the objective of shifting from a CSR approach to really embedding purpose in the industry’s DNA? 

A. Instead of pointing fingers towards a specific stakeholder group, I think rather we all need to take responsibility. 

The football industry has developed into an economic powerhouse, with double digit percentage growth – even during the global financial crisis and despite a massive reputational crisis. But such a model is not sustainable in a world where, more and more people are concerned about the sustainability of our planet, the social and economic gap… especially new generations of young people who are, for the first time, looking at how purpose-driven and socially responsible the brands they consume or their employers are. COVID-19 has reinforced the need for a shift towards a purpose-driven economy, and football won’t be an exception. Now, who is responsible to enable this shift? In essence everyone. 

This moment of tangible crisis has inspired activism among athletes and has also challenged the corporate world to take an authentic stand in regards to their contribution to people and planet. The global fan community is also voicing this need in a number of ways. 

Actions that athletes, the corporate world and fans are taking can have a ripple effect and accelerate things. But we need the commitment of institutions, which are moving at a slower pace and still remain in an ad-hoc or CRS style system when it comes to driving and implementing socially conscious initiatives.

Q. At the coming WFS Live you will be inviting the industry stakeholders to reimagine the football industry with the vision on 2030. Do you think the industry can agree on an Agenda featuring a number of objectives similar to the UN Sustainability Agenda?

A. I think the industry doesn’t need to define a new agenda or a new set of objectives but rather use the UN Sustainability Agenda as the framework to define its purpose and vision for the future. When it comes to the future well-being of our society and the sustainability of our planet, the football industry cannot act in isolation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the blueprint to achieving a better future for all – and the key question is how we can embed it into the fabric and culture of football in a meaningful way. This means rethinking football over the next 10 years with the ambition of driving progress towards the Global Goals, instead of taking profit as its guiding principle and as the main indicator of success. 

Q. The theme chosen for this first day of conferences is “the football we want, the game we need”. Football has been used as a very efficient tool to drive development and social change across the world for a long time. What does this fast-changing society need and how can football support?

A. We are facing a global crisis, even before COVID-19, where issues related to social justice and the sustainability of our planet are increasing at an alarming rate. Everyone at this stage is aware of how interconnected we are, but we haven’t yet fully acknowledged how interdependent we are as a society.

The current crisis has shown that to face global challenges we need to promote and live up to values of community, inclusivity, togetherness and individual responsibility; actually values at the core of football as a team sport. It is by bringing those values forward in the way we imagine football, that football can also play a leading role in this critical decade of action. 

Q. One of the main objectives for this event is turning discussions into actions. What are the actions that football ought to take with utmost urgency in your opinion?

A. With Common Goal we believe that the best way to start was the 1% pledge. The 1% is a symbol of what can be achieved through team play. Everyone can contribute and, while it is a small individual effort, it can generate a great impact. And it provides the opportunity for the football industry to embed purpose in a very simple systemic way that can be adopted by everyone. It can become part of football’s re-wired DNA.

The 1% also represents an opportunity not only because it enables the industry to embed purpose at its core, but because it can lead an example for other sectors and for society as a whole to follow and make contribution “the new normal”. And here we are not only talking about 1% as a pledge or as a donation, we are talking about 1% of time, for example, that fans could donate in contribution to our people and our planet. Setting a new path, changing the mindset, redefining what success is for us as a team, as a society, as humanity.

Tickets are now on sale for November’s WFS Live event, with 10% of all sales going towards Common Goal’s fight against coronavirus, and are available via THIS LINK.

Jordan Gardner: “American soccer needs major improvement to catch Europe”

Jordan Gardner: “American soccer needs major improvement to catch Europe” 960 580 WFS Live

Jordan Gardner is an American entrepreneur who has undertaken a variety of investments in European football, and is co-owner of Danish side F.C. Helsingor.

With Gardner one of the first confirmed speakers for WFS Livetaking place from November 23-27 – we caught up with him to discuss his investments and vision for the football industry.

Q. Why did you choose to invest in Denmark and F.C. Helsingor in particular?
A. Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time on the ground in Europe, understanding the landscape and trying to learn from the mistakes made by prior American ownership groups over there. I’ve made several strategic minority investments into football clubs (Swansea City AFC and Dundalk FC), and eventually decided the time was right to buy a controlling interest of a club. Denmark was an attractive market, as almost everyone speaks English, there’s very few foreign player restrictions and there is a culture of playing (and selling) young players. FC Helsingør in particular was an attractive club, as it had very recently been in the Danish SuperLiga, had a new stadium under construction and was in good geographic proximity to Copenhagen.

Q. What are the main challenges that you’ve faced until now?
A. Once we took over, it was very challenging to change the culture at a club that had been losing for so long, and had gone through two relegations in a row. We felt it was very important change the entire leadership of the club both on and off the field, including many of the players. Once we made those changes, we saw a huge positive shift in the environment at the club, which ultimately culminated in our league championship and promotion last season.

Q. How would you evaluate the results you have reached up to now and what is your long-term objective there?
A. The project has been an unqualified success so far. We won the Danish 2nd Division last season and got promoted. This season, we are 4-2 so far having beaten three clubs already with significantly higher budgets and players wage bills than us. Our goals are to finish top 6 this season, and challenge for a top 2 spot and promotion to the Danish SuperLiga.

Q. How has COVID-19 affected your plans at FC Helsingor? How are you facing the challenges the pandemic has presented to your business?
A. There have been significant limitations on stadium capacity at our home matches, which has adversely affected our match day revenues. Beyond that, the COVID related travel restrictions has affected our ability to bring in foreign players.

Q. Do you think that European soccer is getting closer to the American model conceiving sport mostly as an entertainment business?
A. No, I think European soccer is still very, very far away from an American style model. The sport in Europe is more culturally ingrained, cultivated over generations. People in Europe (in general), do not support clubs or attend events for entertainment value in a way they do in North America.

Q. Do you believe that a European Super League that resembles the NBA (a closed championship with only the best teams/franchises involved) will ever be a reality? Would it be desirable for the market? 
In a sense, the Champions League is a form of a European Super League. It’s certainly possible the top clubs may split off at some to form their own ‘league’ but I don’t think it’s necessary with competitions like the Champions League in place. Ultimately, the biggest clubs will do whatever they can to capture the most television/media revenue and if that means forming a Super League they will do that.

Q. The industry of American soccer is experiencing a constant growth and keeps attracting new investors. Do you see it reaching the influence of European soccer in a near future?
A. No, soccer still lags significantly behind other major sports in the United States, and even European soccer far outpaces American soccer in interest and viewership. American soccer will need major improvement in on-field quality, and off-field relevance to even approach the influence of European soccer for the foreseeable future.

Jordan Gardner: Supporters Helsingor Stadion

A bit Danish and a bit American: this is Jordan Gardner’s Helsingor.

Q. Is this the reason why many Americans like you still prefer to invest in Europe rather than in the US?
A. European soccer offers a very different investment profile for Americans than North America. With the promotion / relegation system, there is an opportunity to buy a smaller club and add expertise and value to get that club promoted. There is also a robust player transfer market in Europe that does not exist in North America. American soccer is a more secure investment, with a franchise model. However, currently the television viewership and general interest is quite low compared to European soccer while the price points in Europe continue to be more attractive.

Q. You have been announced as one of the guest speakers at the upcoming WFS Live, which aims to bring the industry stakeholders together to draw football’s roadmap for the future. What changes do you think are most needed to ensure that the game’s future is at least as bright as its past?
A. I think there needs to be significant changes in the way money flows to players and agents in the sport. Many clubs spend well beyond their means, and beyond any justifiable revenue that they have coming in. I’m not sure if a more ‘salary cap’ type structure like those proposed in the U.K. are the solution, but the spending is just not sustainable especially in light of massive reductions in revenues due to the pandemic.

Tickets are now available HERE for WFS Live, with 10% of all sales going to Common Goal.

Johan Cruyff Institute x WFS renew long-term Academic Partnership

Johan Cruyff Institute x WFS renew long-term Academic Partnership 1269 713 WFS Live

World Football Summit is delighted to announce that Johan Cruyff Institute have renewed as Academic Partners for the second edition of WFS Live from November 23-27.

Johan Cruyff Institute has been with WFS from the very beginning and have been pivotal partners in our success since our first event in Madrid back in 2016. They have consistently underlined the need for professional athletes to continue with their academic education in order to face the challenges of life after playing, through their work and on the WFS stage.

This has been the main principle of the institution founded by iconic football legend Johan Cruyff, an inspiring leader and one of the most influential figures in sporting history. Cruyff firmly believed that no one was better suited to serve sport’s best interests than someone with the heart of an athlete, but he was also convinced that in order to fulfil that role athletes needed to improve their education.

Back at the WFS debut in 2016, Johan Cruyff Institute exhibited a stand in our Expo Area and also delivered a fascinating Industry Talk with former Olympian Dutch hockey player Carole Thale, who is also manager of The World of Johan Cruyff.

A year later, the partnership between the two companies was strengthened further as Johan Cruyff Institute signed on as Academic Partners of the 2017 World Football Summit. They have been a perfectly fitting partner ever since, raising awareness of the importance of education in sport.

The Institute’s message was again brought to the World Football Summit in 2018, with former footballers Victor Baía, Roberto Martinez and Jorge Valdano heading a panel, titled: ‘The day after’, that explored the reality of retirement for professional footballers and the options available to them after they stop playing.

In 2019, Johan Cruyff Institute jumped on board as WFS went on its first international expansion, performing a key role as exhibitors in the WFS Asia Expo Area in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Later that year, another stellar Johan Cruyff Institute headline panel brought Ivan Alonso, Christian Karembeu, Shabnam Mobarez, Louis Saha and Rebecca Smith to the WFS stage in Madrid as they again looked at the importance of education for players to establish careers after they hang up their boots.

Johan Cruyff Institute renewed as Academic Partners for WFS Africa, WFS Asia and WFS20 at the end of 2019 and despite all three falling victim to coronavirus, the bond hasn’t been broken. 

As highlighted by WFS director, Marian Otamendi: “We’ve been on this journey together since the very beginning of WFS, and to continue growing alongside JCI fills us with excitement and gratitude.”

With events forced online, WFS Live was created to bring the football industry together for the biggest event of the year and Johan Cruyff Institute were again Academic Partners for our digital debut. They also brought to the table an already iconic WFS panel, featuring Juan Pablo Caffa, Natalia Gaitan and Juan Sebastián Verón.

Going into the second edition of WFS Live, Johan Cruyff Institute have renewed as Academic Partners once more, with JCI’s Cristina Palés previously saying: “As a brand committed to the sports industry through education, for Johan Cruyff Institute it is key to be a part of this congress and contribute to strategic discussions.”

Tickets are now on sale for November’s WFS Live event and are available via THIS LINK.

WFS Live completes first five stellar new signings for second edition

WFS Live completes first five stellar new signings for second edition 1800 1013 WFS Live

The transfer window may have closed across Europe this week, but that hasn’t stopped World Football Summit from dipping into the market to make five big name signings for the return of WFS Live from November 23-27.

Chip Bowers (Elevate Sport Ventures), Paul Bragiel (Bragiel Brothers), Professor Simon Chadwick (EM Lyon Business School), Jordan Gardner (FC Helsingør) and Mary Harvey (Sports Human Rights) become the first confirmed speakers for the second edition of our digital event that kicked-off in July.

The quintet will lead a series of announcements over the coming weeks, which will unveil both our full lineup of speakers and event programme.

They each bring with them a wealth of experience from across the football industry that we are excited to see shared with the WFS community across the WFS Live platform next month.

Chip Bowers (Elevate Sport Ventures):

  • Bowers is president of Elevate Sport Ventures, a best-in-class sports and entertainment consulting firm, providing proven, innovative solutions to organisations across the global sports and entertainment landscape. He has also worked in senior roles at the likes of Golden State Warriors, Miami Marlins and Orlando Magic.

Paul Bragiel (Bragiel Brothers):

  • Bragiel is a managing partner at Bragiel Brothers, an early stage venture fund founded by him and brother Dan in San Francisco. The venture capital and private equity company lists the likes of Shipbob, Varjo, Drip Capital, Rare Bits, Siren Care and Ride Report as notable companies they have worked with.

Professor Simon Chadwick (Emlyon Business School):

  • Professor Chadwick is director of Eurasian sport and professor of the Eurasian sport industry at Emlyon Business School in France. He is an eminent figure in sports industry academics, featuring in some of the biggest publications in the world, and working with organisations such as FC Barcelona, UEFA, and Adidas.

Jordan Gardner (FC Helsingør):

  • Gardner is chairman, managing director, and co-owner of Danish club FC Helsingør. His investment portfolio also includes a minority stake in Swansea City, co-ownership of Dundalk FC, and investment into a group bidding on an A-League side in Australia. He was also previously vice president at digital media company JUGOtv.

Mary Harvey (Centre for Sport and Human Rights):

  • Harvey is CEO of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, which aims to unify governments, the entire sports industry and national human rights institutions. She is also vice-chair on the board of directors for the Green Sports Alliance and was a special advisor for human rights and sustainability on the United 2026 bid that saw Canada, Mexico and the United States clinch FIFA World Cup hosting rights.

In our speaker releases, we will also celebrate some of our most iconic past speakers, with this first round reveal also paying homage to the likes of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba and Juventus board member Assia Grazioli-Venier.

Also among our WFS Icons are Andrea Agnelli (Juventus), Emilio Butragueño (Real Madrid), Rahul Kadavakolu (Rakuten), Ricardo Fort (Coca-Cola), Miguel Ángel Gil (Atletico Madrid) and Al Guido (San Francisco 49ers).

Tickets are now available HERE for WFS Live, with 10% of all sales going to Common Goal.

LaLiga x WFS partnership extends into fifth year

LaLiga x WFS partnership extends into fifth year 1266 710 WFS Live

World Football Summit and LaLiga are celebrating a fifth-year of partnership, with the Spanish top-flight renewing as Global Partners of the second edition of WFS Live from November 23-27.

Since the very first World Football Summit in October of 2016, to July’s inaugural digital WFS event, LaLiga has been central to making each and every one of our summits so successful. 

The relationship between the two companies began five years ago with LaLiga president Javier Tebas giving a keynote speech titled “The future of the professional football industry”

Tebas – who has gone on to become a regular top-tier speaker at WFS events – was joined by more LaLiga directors at our debut that featured Javier Gómez (then Corporate Managing Director) debating football investment and Pedro Malabia (then Women’s Football Director) discussing the league’s investment in the women’s game.

By May, 2017 LaLiga became WFS Global Partners for the first time – a moment of great pride for both institutions to be able to make the partnership official.

“We’re delighted to collaborate with WFS,” said Tebas at the time. “The work they’re doing to improve each year is excellent and it’s important for LaLiga to present our work at this knowledge sharing forum, where the top representatives in the world of football meet. We want to actively participate in this and help grow the sports industry.”

That’s exactly what has happened ever since. LaLiga has been a highly engaged and influential participant at all subsequent WFS events; from Madrid to Bilbao, to Kuala Lumpur and beyond, producing some incredibly memorable moments along the way.

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What a great opening day at #WFSLive, we really couldn't have hoped for any better. Here are some of the top-lines from our superb day one panels.⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ “Together we’ve tried to ensure rights don’t lose value. We’ve realised Together we can do things better. That UEFA and the big clubs should not go on their own. I think that has weakened the Super League project quite a lot.” – @javier.tebas ⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ "We tend to have this feeling as women of not being good enough, but I actually think it's an asset because it always pushed me to be the best version of myself, always striving for excellence." – @desiree.bellia ⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ "There are too many football clubs, the players are over-remunerated and leagues will have to be run more efficiently and professionally.” – Sir Martin Sorrell⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ "We need to be very creative through these times. with sponsors, we are speaking about how they want to go, what are their resources and maybe if we can offer them something different with new propositions.” – @luigidelaurentiis

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LaLiga were due to also feature prominently at our WFS Africa and FIF20 events before their coronavirus-enforced postponements, and were there once again when we got back up and running online in July.

Tebas opened WFS Live in a wide-ranging interview with  journalist Alfredo Matilla, and the Spanish league’s president was a fitting curtain-raiser due to both his and LaLiga‘s long-standing commitment to WFS.

Elsewhere, Alfredo Bermejo, Ivan Codina and Albert Castelló all represented LaLiga at WFS Live, where we also had the pleasure of sharing a workshop from the league.

Tickets are now on sale for November’s WFS Live event and are available via THIS LINK.