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FT Future of Football 2018

The Continuing Transformation of the Beautiful Game

Doha |
Speakers include:
H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi

Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Bruce Buck

Bruce Buck

Chelsea FC

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel

Former Danish international goalkeeper


Just a few months after the World Cup in Russia, the Financial Times will bring together leaders from the business of football to the venue of the 2022 tournament to debate the state of the game and its future development.

fallback Add to my Calendar 10/16/2018 08:00:0010/16/2018 19:00:00trueFT Future of Football 2018Just a few months after the World Cup in Russia, the Financial Times will bring together leaders from the business of football to the venue of the 2022 tournament to debate the state of the game and its future development.FT-Future-of-Football-2018f36040bef77919bb4a08b39d6b1b3b0dMM/DD/YYYY

2018 Event Photos



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Full Overview

Regulators, club and league executives, owners, broadcasters, sponsors and key analysts will discuss the continuing transformation of the global football economy, the most important changes in both the advanced and emerging markets, the impact of new technology platforms, and the latest measures to improve trust and transparency in a sport where the level of governance has been seriously questioned.

Featuring a session looking back at the Russia World Cup and ahead to the preparations being made for Qatar 2022, FT Future of Football will also explore what has changed on the pitch, with panels discussing the most successful teams and tactics of the current era, backed by the increasingly complex data and analytics that are used to evaluate performance and achievement.

This significant conference will provide a high-level, detailed examination of what needs to be done to ensure a sustainable future for one of the world’s most popular sports.


Agenda - 16th Oct

  • 8:00am
    Registration and Breakfast
  • 9:00am
    Opening Remarks from the Financial Times

    Simon Kuper, Columnist, Financial Times, and co-author, Soccernomics

  • 9:10am
    Hosting the World Cup: De-Brief on Russia 2018, Gearing Up for Qatar 2022

    This special session looks back at the World Cup in Russia and forward to the next tournament in Qatar. What can be learned from Russia 2018? What went well, and what could be improved on in 2022 and beyond? What are the key logistical challenges of ensuring a seamless experience for players, audiences and sponsors? What steps is Qatar taking specifically to make sure it is ready to host such a tournament? What are Qatar’s short, medium and long-term objectives from hosting the World Cup? How important are the economic and social development aspects of hosting such an important international tournament? How can grassroots football development and other legacy objectives be achieved effectively?

    H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
    Alexey Sorokin, CEO, 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee

    Moderator: Simon Kuper, Columnist, Financial Times, and co-author, Soccernomics

  • 9:50am
    Presentation: Data in Football

    Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, Professor of Management, Economics and Strategy, London School of Economics, and Board Director, Athletic Club de Bilbao

  • 10:40am
    Networking Break
  • 11:10am
    The Football Economy – Part One: New Technology and the Impact on Media, Marketing and Access

    The growth of football as one of the world’s most popular and financially profitable sports is closely tied to the rapid development of an international audience that watches games on television and increasingly online. While most live internet streams are illegal, established digital technology platforms have begun to bid for media rights – with Amazon recently winning a three-year deal to screen 60 UK Premier League matches. How will football leagues and traditional broadcasters respond to the emergence of Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and other online platforms as sports media providers? Will access one day replace exclusivity as the main bidding criteria? Will leagues respond by creating their own live broadcast platforms? Will broadcasting rights continue to rise in value, or will there be a softening as TV bidders reflect consumer resentment at high viewing fees? Piracy remains a major problem -- how can it be tackled? To what extent is new technology leading to an increase in football gambling?

    Jerry Newman, Sports Partnerships Lead, EMEA, Facebook
    Frank Ryan, Global Co-Chair, Intellectual Property and Technology Practice, DLA Piper
    David Sugden, Director of Corporate Affairs and CommunicationsbeIN MEDIA GROUP

    Moderator: Stefania Palma, Singapore Correspondent, Financial Times

  • 12:00pm
    The Football Economy – Part Two: Is the Current Model Sustainable?

    Backed by lucrative media rights agreements, large corporate sponsorship deals, and capital injections by cash-rich tycoons and global investment groups, the major football leagues and their top clubs have become among the world’s richest sporting institutions. As with many other asset classes, there are both cyclical and structural forces at play, and regulators trying to ensure that the industry remains a level playing field.  In Europe, with transfer fees, player salaries and agent fees jumping significantly, to historically high levels, is UEFA’s financial fair play system working? What impact will the potential softening of broadcasting rights levels have on revenues for leagues and clubs, and ever-rising ticket prices at stadiums? What can corporate sponsors do to promote greater inclusion and engagement? Should clubs follow the model of some owner-investors, which have a network of franchise clubs around the world that exchange players and expertise, or instead continue to focus on a single brand built around youth development and international tours? Does the growing popularity of women’s football present a new source of future growth? Does the current business model for football generally need to be re-thought to ensure long-term financial sustainability, fairer competition and a greater attention to the sport’s fan base?

    Bruce Buck, Chairman, Chelsea FC
    Toon Gerbrands, CEO, PSV Eindhoven
    Javier Sobrino, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, FC Barcelona
    Sonia Souid, Football Agent, Essentially

    Moderator: Simon Kuper, Columnist, Financial Times, and co-author, Soccernomics

  • 1:00pm
  • 2:00pm
    Investor Dialogue: Insights on China

    The world’s major football clubs, leagues and tournaments are closely followed in China. However, China’s own football industry requires further development. After a transfer boom that linked many star players with big-money moves to the Chinese Super League, spending has slowed due to government restrictions aimed at making local clubs more financially sustainable. Will clubs now focus more on youth and grassroots development? What other steps are required for China to become an internationally competitive football nation?

    Clark Xu, Managing Director, China Sports Capital

    Moderator: Stefania Palma, Singapore Correspondent, Financial Times

  • 2:30pm
    The Beautiful Game – Part One: Governance

    The image of football’s governing bodies has been tarnished by numerous allegations of malpractice in recent years. What steps are being taken to improve governance in football, and restore trust, transparency and accountability?

    Lina Souloukou, General Manager, Olympiacos FC
    Robert Sullivan, International and Corporate Affairs Director, English Football Association

    Moderator: Stefania Palma, Singapore Correspondent, Financial Times

  • 3:10pm
    Networking Break
  • 3:40pm
    The Beautiful Game – Part Two: Tactics

    Looking at the most successful football teams of recent times, including the winners of the 2018 World Cup, this special panel -- backed by the increasingly sophisticated data that is now being used to evaluate performance -- analyses the tactics of leading managers, how team formations and strategic priorities have evolved over the years, and the models we can expect to have most currency in the future.

    Michael Cox, author, The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics
    Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, Professor of Management, Economics and Strategy, London School of Economics, and Board Director, Athletic Club de Bilbao
    Pieter Zwart, Editor-in-Chief, Voetbal International

    Moderator: Simon Kuper, Columnist, Financial Times, and co-author, Soccernomics

  • 4:40pm
    The Beautiful Game -- Closing Debate

    Building on the day's discussions, leading figures debate one of the most long-running issues in the sport -- whether it is more important to play attractive football or to win trophies at all costs.

    Ramón Calderón, former President, Real Madrid
    Peter Schmeichel, former Danish international goalkeeper

    Moderator: Simon Kuper, Columnist, Financial Times, and co-author, Soccernomics

  • 5:20pm
    Closing Remarks
  • 5:30pm

Speakers (17)

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi

Secretary General
Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi is the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the organisation responsible for coordinating among public and private Qatari entities to ensure that infrastructure and development projects are delivered in readiness for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. His appointment in March 2011 followed on from his role as Chief Executive Officer in Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee, in which he worked closely with Bid Chairman, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, promoting Qatar’s ultimately successful attempt to bring the FIFA World Cup to the Middle East for the first time.

A lawyer by profession, Mr Al Thawadi previously served as General Counsel for the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Holding, entities founded by the State of Qatar in 2005 to strengthen the national economy by diversifying into new asset classes and growing Qatar’s long-term strategic investments. He holds board positions at key national stakeholders of the Supreme Committee concerned with delivering the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including Katara Hospitality (previously known as Qatar National Hotels – a hospitality owner, manager and developer), Qatar Rail (the owner and manager of Qatar’s rail network) and Qatari Diar (established in 2005 and entrusted to support Qatar’s growing economy through coordination of the country’s real estate development priorities).

In 2013, he was appointed to FIFA’s World Cup Organising Committee (the committee responsible for all matters pertaining to the FIFA World Cup for 2014, 2018 and 2022) as a Special Advisor.

Mr Al Thawadi is a graduate in Law from the University of Sheffield, UK.

Bruce Buck

Bruce Buck

Chelsea FC

Bruce Buck has been the Chairman of Chelsea Football Club since Roman Abramovich purchased the club in the summer of 2003. During his chairmanship of Chelsea, the club has enjoyed the most successful period in its history with the winning of five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, the Europa League and, for the first and only time by a club based in London, the Champions League.

As well as working with the owner and other members of the Chelsea Board of Directors on the development of the club into a major player on the world football stage, Mr Buck has also devoted energy to the club's social responsibility activities with the creation of the Chelsea FC Foundation, a UK-registered charity,  and the founding of the Past Players' Trust, which raises money for former players and staff in need of medical or financial assistance.

Mr Buck currently serves as the Chairman of the Audit and Remuneration Committee of the English Premier League, is a member of its Legal Advisory Group and is currently leading the League’s search for a new chief executive.

Mr Buck is the former Managing Partner for Europe for the international law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, where his work included a broad range of mergers, acquisitions and capital markets transactions.

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel

Former Danish international goalkeeper

Peter Schmeichel is one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers. From 1987 to 2001, he earned 129 caps for Denmark, and was a key member of the team that won the 1992 European Championships. During almost a decade with Manchester United (1991-1999), he won the UEFA Champions League and Super Cup, five English Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and four Charity Shields. He began his career with Hvidovre IF, before joining Brøndby, where he won four Danish league titles between 1987 and 1991. He won another championship in Portugal after joining Sporting Lisbon in 1999 and also played for Aston Villa and Manchester City before retiring in 2003 to become a TV football analyst and a consultant to a number of players and coaches. During his playing career, he was twice voted the best goalkeeper in the world (in 1992 and 1993), won the FA Carling Premiership player of the year award and was also voted four times the player of the year in Denmark. He is now a UEFA certified coach (Licenses A and B). He has worked as a football pundit for several TV networks, including BBC (Match of the Day), Sky and TV3+ Denmark, and he is also a football expert for Sina Sport in China. He is an Ambassador for Manchester United.

Alexey Sorokin

Alexey Sorokin

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee

Alexey Sorokin has been responsible for delivering what was hailed by FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino as the best ever FIFA World Cup in the history of the game. Leading a team of more than 1,500 specialists in the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC), he and his staff ensured that the biggest single-sports event in the world went without a hitch, providing for a glorious one-month celebration of football, with more than 1 million fans from abroad enjoying the tournament while experiencing modern Russia.

Representing a new generation of sports leaders in Russia, Alexey successfully implemented a comprehensive, multi-year organisational concept that also featured the innovative “FAN ID”, which doubled up as a visa to the country. With the LOC he took foreign and domestic fans – and the Russian population – on a journey of discovery, changing perceptions and breaking prejudices along the way.

Having led the successful bid campaign to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, in September 2017 Alexey was also elected as a European member of the FIFA Council.

Back in 2008, Alexey was a Project Leader for the successful Moscow UEFA Champions League final. This made him a well-known figure in the international football community, and led to his appointment as CEO of the Football Union of Russia the same year. He has also led a number of other key sports projects in Russia, including the 2013 IAAF Athletics World Championships bid and many others.

A graduate of the Moscow State Linguistic University and Diplomatic Academy, Alexey, who is also fluent in English and French, first embarked on a diplomatic career. He acquired a wide range of experience in international relations before turning to sports.

Lina Souloukou

Lina Souloukou

General Manager
Olympiacos FC

Evangelia (Lina) Souloukou has been General Manager of Olympiacos FC since May 2018. She was previously Director of the Legal Department and International Affairs. She joined Olympiacos in December 2016.

Ms Souloukou brings to her current role more than 10 years’ experience as a leading sports lawyer. She founded the Souloukou and Partners Law Firm in 2007 and remained a Partner there until April 2018. She has served as Legal Counsel to the Hellenic Federation of Football Coaches (2007-2018) and the Hellenic Boxing Federation (2011-2018), and was a member of the Hellenic Federation of Football’s Court of Arbitrations (2008-2013). She was also Director of Panionios FC’s Legal Department (2010-2011).

Ms Souloukou is a member of the legal panel of the European Club Association, and a member of AIAF (Association Internationale des Avocats de Football). She obtained a Global Executive Master in International Sports Law degree and a Master’s in Sports Law and Management from University Politécnica de Madrid, after receiving a Law degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She is a member of the Athens Bar Association. 

Ramón Calderón

Ramón Calderón

former President
Real Madrid

Ramón Calderón was a Director of Real Madrid from 2001 to 2006, and the club’s President from 2006 to 2009. During his period at Real Madrid, the club signed a number of galácticos, including Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Ronaldo, Robinho, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen. Real Madrid were La Liga champions four times and won two Copa del Rey trophies. They also won the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. As President, Mr Calderón substantially increased revenue, including doubling income from TV rights -- at the time, the most lucrative contract signed in Real Madrid’s history. He also strengthened the club’s social responsibility programmes and the activities of its foundation (where he remains a board member), opening several academies around the world to help children improve their lives.

Mr Calderón has also been a Director of the Spanish Football Federation, the President of the Spanish Football Centenary Committee, Vice-President of UEFA's Club Competition Committee, and a Director of the FIFA Club World Cup Competition Committee. Mr Calderón currently works at Calderón Abogados, the law firm he founded in 1977. He has a Law degree from Navarra University.

Toon Gerbrands

Toon Gerbrands

PSV Eindhoven

Toon Gerbrands is a sports professional with achievements across a range of fields, both nationally and internationally. He joined PSV Eindhoven as CEO in 2014 after 12 years at AZ Alkmaar. His arrival heralded a revival for the club, which immediately won the Eredivisie league after seven years without the title. Since then, two more championships have followed, as well as two super cups. PSV also made it to the second round of the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16, fulfilling a pledge that Mr Gerbrands had made on his appointment. He also brought financial stability back to the club, erasing a large debt burden built up since the early 2000s and establishing youth and innovation as key policy drivers.

Previously, at AZ Alkmaar, Mr Gerbrands won the title in 2009 but then had to cope with the bankruptcy of the club owner. He built AZ back up, won the Dutch Cup in 2013, and maintained AZ as a regular participant in the Europa League.

Before becoming a leader in Dutch football, Mr Gerbrands was a major figure in national and international volleyball. As coach of the men’s national volleyball team, he led the Dutch to their first ever European Championships win, and qualified for the Olympic Games in Sydney. During his tenure, the Netherlands became the world’s top-ranked men’s volleyball team.

Mr Gerbrands has also had success in management at a wide variety of companies and public bodies. Under his stewardship, the municipality of Harderwijk won the Dutch Environmental Prize. He has written five books on his vision of management in a top sports environment.

Michael Cox

Michael Cox

The Mixer

Michael Cox is a football journalist renowned for focusing upon tactical analysis. He launched the award-winning Zonal Marking website in 2010 and published his first book, The Mixer, a history of the Premier League, last year. He writes regularly for ESPN.

Jerry Newman

Jerry Newman

Sports Partnerships Lead, EMEA

Leading Sport for Facebook across EMEA, Jerry Daniel Newman has over 15 years of sports media and marketing experience. Prior to joining Facebook, he led the Digital Strategy for Chelsea FC, where he focused on driving the relationship the club has with its millions of fans globally and leveraging this asset to drive greater commercial value for the club. The experience Mr Newman has gained working for both governing body (The Football Association) and club in Media, Marketing, CRM, Digital and Sponsorship gives him a unique understanding of each of these verticals and how digital can blur and disrupt traditional models to drive innovative experiences for fans and greater value for rights holders and sponsors.

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

Professor of Management, Economics and Strategy, London School of Economics, and Board Director
Athletic Club de Bilbao

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta is a Professor of Management, Economics and Strategy at the London School of Economics. Prior to joining LSE in 2007, he was Assistant Professor and Full Professor of Economics at Brown University, Assistant Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago, and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Prof Palacios-Huerta’s research, which focuses mainly on identifying and studying novel questions concerning individual and aggregate human behaviour, often involves unique datasets obtained from sports settings, especially football. He has consulted for top football clubs and national federations during European and World Championships, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors at Athletic Club de Bilbao in Spain's La Liga, where he was previously Head of Talent Identification.

Prof Palacios-Huerta has published in leading journals in Economics such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Public Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, and others.

His two most recents books are Beautiful Game Theory, published in 2014 by Princeton University Press (translated into French and Chinese), and In 100 Years: Leading Economists Predict the Future, published by MIT Press in 2013 and translated into French, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Polish.

Frank Ryan

Frank Ryan

Global Co-Chair, Intellectual Property and Technology Practice
DLA Piper

Frank Ryan is the Global Co-Chair of DLA Piper’s Intellectual Property and Technology practice. He provides legal and strategic advice to domestic and multinational clients who draw on his experience in litigation, intellectual property, media and sports, and complex commercial matters.

Frank is a go-to strategist and litigator who has handled numerous engagements and cases in the media and sports business and has particular experience in cable and satellite, trademark, trade secret, false advertising and business disputes. He routinely counsels clients on media and sports deals as well as on disputes and intellectual property portfolio development and protection.

Frank's experience includes numerous engagements for ESPN, Disney, ABC, NCAA-related matters, Nike, Al Jazeera, Medtronic, ConMed and beIN Sports, as well as for a number of other prominent networks and media and sports-related entities, among them professional sports clubs.

He is a member of DLA Piper's Executive Committee and Global Board.

Javier Sobrino

Javier Sobrino

Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer
FC Barcelona

Javier Sobrino is Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at FC Barcelona. He developed the Club’s Corporate Strategic Plan (2015-2021) and coordinates its implementation. He also leads the Club’s Innovation activities, including the launch and development of the Barça Innovation Hub project, a leading innovation initiative in the sports industry.

During his career in the sports industry, Mr Sobrino has served as a consultant to different international clubs and institutions, and as a Professor of Strategic Management & Innovation at various universities, and has been involved in projects related to sports policy implementation and the transversal impact of sport. He is the author of a number of books, including Sport, an economic sector and Sports Diplomacy.

Prior to the sports industry, Mr Sobrino worked in the banking sector in strategic planning positions, and as a senior manager at Accenture. He has an MBA from INSEAD and a Law and Business degree from Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE) in Madrid.

Sonia Souid

Sonia Souid

Football Agent

Sonia Souid is one of the few women working as an agent in football. After being accredited as a football agent by the French Football Federation and FIFA in 2010, she joined Essentially, an affiliate of Sebastian Coe’s CSM Sport & Entertainment, in 2013. Since then, she has made history, firstly for being at the centre of the first ever remunerated transfer of a professional women’s football player between two French clubs, and secondly for engineering the signing of the first woman to coach a professional men’s team (in the French league’s second division) -- a first not only in France and Europe but globally.

David Sugden

David Sugden

Director of Corporate Affairs & Communications

David Sugden is Director of Corporate Affairs & Communications at beIN MEDIA GROUP, responsible for corporate and crisis communications and international public policy of the global sports and entertainment group. David joined beIN MEDIA GROUP – one of the world's foremost sports and entertainment networks through its flagship sports network beIN SPORTS and its iconic MIRAMAX film studio – in 2018, having been a principal advisor on the actions taken against beoutQ, the illegal pirate operation that has plagued the sports and entertainment industry in recent times. 

David began his career at the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where he was a corporate and commercial lawyer for eight years, including time embedded at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), advising LOCOG’s board and key stakeholders on several crises and sensitive issues, including the body’s liquidation. Before moving to beIN, David was Head of Litigation & Legal Affairs at the global communications agency Edelman, acting as legal counsel and advising a range of sports and entertainment clients – including Formula 1, Lagardère, The Commonwealth Games Federation, beIN SPORTS and Wentworth Club – on mission-critical issues. David has a first class degree in Law from Durham University, UK and is ranked Band 1 by Chambers and Partners for professional advisors: litigation support.

Robert Sullivan

Robert Sullivan

International and Corporate Affairs Director
English Football Association

Robert Sullivan was appointed to lead the English Football Association’s International and Corporate Affairs division in August 2018. This new position will oversee an expansion in the English FA’s international engagement, including opportunities to bid and host major international tournaments in the future, including the upcoming UEFA EURO 2020 matches at Wembley Stadium and a possible Women’s UEFA European Championship in 2021. Robert is also currently leading the work to assess the feasibility of a potential bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

Previously the English FA’s Strategy and Communications Director, Robert led the England team’s off field programme during the 2018 FIFA World Cup which saw the team so successfully re-engage with the English media and public. At his time at The FA, Robert has also led on a range of other issues including Strategic and Business planning, investment into grassroots playing facilities, safeguarding and public policy. A trained management consultant, he is a former adviser to the UK’s Conservative Party and a range of private and public sector clients including Microsoft, Diageo, Sky, the Police Federation and the Disability Rights Commission.

Clark Xu

Clark Xu

Managing Director
China Sports Capital

Clark Xu is Managing Director of China Sports Capital, the investment fund jointly established by CMC Inc and Sequoia China. Previously, he was Vice President of CMC Holdings and President of CMC Sports, responsible for investment activities in entertainment and sports. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of CMC Capital Partners. Before joining CMC,  he served as Senior Vice President at Super Sports, the leading sports media platform in China. He also worked for IDG Capital and Time Warner Inc, where he was responsible for media-related investments. Mr Xu is a graduate of Fudan University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Pieter Zwart

Pieter Zwart

Voetbal International

Pieter Zwart is an award-winning Dutch journalist and football analyst. His analysis is focused on tactics and statistics. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Dutch magazine Voetbal International (VI), where he was instrumental in the launch of VI’s digital platform, and runs his own blog called Catenaccio. Mr Zwart won the 2017 Sports Journalist Talent of the Year award from the Dutch Sports Press foundation and SPORTNEXT. His book on the decline of Dutch football was published in June 2018.


Chair (1)

Simon Kuper

Simon Kuper

Columnist, Financial Times, and
co-author, Soccernomics

Simon Kuper has been working for the Financial Times since 1994, and now writes a general column for the newspaper. He is the author of several books including Football Against the Enemy (winner of the William Hill prize for Sports Book of the Year 1994), Ajax, The Dutch, The War: Football in Europe during the Second World War (2003), and – as co-author with Stefan Szymanski - Soccernomics (2009). He also writes for magazines in Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and other countries. He has won several awards for his journalism, ranging from the Manuel Vazquez Montalban prize for sportswriting in 2008 (sponsored by FC Barcelona) to the British Society of Magazine Editors’ prize for Columnist of the Year in 2016. He is British, lives in Paris, was born in Kampala, Uganda, and was educated at Oxford University and Harvard.

Moderator (1)

Stefania Palma

Stefania Palma

Singapore Correspondent
Financial Times

Stefania Palma is the Financial Times’ Singapore correspondent, covering the city-state, Malaysia and Indonesia. Travelling extensively across these markets, she reports on local economics, politics, finance and social issues. Prior to joining the Financial Times, Stefania was Asia Editor at The Banker magazine, part of the FT Group. In that role, she reported across Asia-Pacific, interviewing finance ministers, central bank governors, bank chief executive officers and economists. Her research took her to all corners of the region, from China to India, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines, among other countries. In July 2017, she filmed an extended video interview with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Washington DC and interviewed senior White House officials for a special report. Stefania read for an MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford, during which she
completed archival research and a language exchange at Peking University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, UK, where she first started studying Mandarin Chinese. 


The summit will comprise of senior decision makers from the following sectors: 
Football Clubs
Governing Bodies
Football Associations
Sports Agencies
Sports Brands
Sports Government Officials
Corporate Sponsors
Sporting Media
Stadium Builders
Heads of M&A
Private equity investors 
Technology providers 
Professional services in football
e.g. Lawyers, Accountants, Banks, Consultancies, Insurance Companies



invitation information

Attendance is complimentary, subject to meeting the above criteria and approval from the publisher.



The Four Seasons
The Corniche
Doha P.O. Box 24665


Tel: +(974) 4494 8888



Summit attendees are entitled to a reduced rate for room nights between 13 and 19 October.

To access the reduced rate, either:

Email the hotel directly at or call at +974 4494 8700. When booking, remember to make reference to 'Financial Times Future of Football' in order to benefit from the special rate.

Or visit the website at arrival & departure date (must be between 13 and 19 Oct), add promotion code of 181014FTF under 'Promo' section, and the special rates will be applied automatically. 


Alternatively, if you would like to book accommodation near the venue, please CLICK HERE >



The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.

Founding Partner (1)

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) – along with key stakeholders – is responsible for delivering stadiums and infrastructure for an amazing 2022 FIFA World Cup™, leaving a lasting legacy for Qatar, the region and the world.

We ensure all preparations for the tournament mirror Qatar’s wider development goals, as described in the Qatar National Vision 2030. We demonstrate exceptional programme and stakeholder management to ensure timely delivery of infrastructure, competition and non-competition venues – while integrating Qatari culture into all hosting plans in order to provide the best possible image of the Middle East when the world arrives in Qatar in 2022.

The SC is also committed to making the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ the most environmentally friendly edition of the tournament ever held – and we apply exacting sustainability standards to every project. In addition to delivering on these commitments over the coming years, we have already implemented a number of legacy projects, nationally and internationally, such as Challenge 22 and Generation Amazing – as we continue to deliver amazing every day. We are confident the investments the SC is making today will pay dividends for generations to come, in line with Qatar’s vision of a healthy and prosperous global future.

Gold Sponsor (1)

DLA Piper provides a full range of business legal services to many of the world’s major stakeholders in the media, sport and entertainment sector. Among our clients are sports leagues, bodies and teams; media and entertainment companies; organizers of World events; corporate sponsors and advertisers; financiers, developers and investors; and other commercial parties. They come to us for advice on broadcast and media rights sales; IP protection and licensing; mergers and acquisitions; advertising and promotions; disputes and controversies; esport and gaming; development of and compliance with international and domestic regulations relating to sports competition; development and financing of stadiums and arenas; and other finance and transactional matters. For additional information, go to

Supporting Partner (1)

Beyond Sport is the leading global force for sustainable social change through sport, instilling insight, energy and impact in communities around the world. The organization does this through convening, supporting and advising the worlds of sport, business, government, and development on how sport can be used as a tool to achieve both social and business objectives. The Beyond Sport Foundation is linked to Beyond Sport's world renowned Global Awards, a program that allows it to unearth the best organizations from around the world that are using sport to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2009, Beyond Sport has provided over $7 million worth of funding and support to projects across six continents addressing a range of social issues; commissioned four research projects with leading universities; facilitated ground-breaking action in child protection, girls education, urban communities, sustainability, STEM education and sports role in supporting refugees; and built sustainable sport courts in disadvantaged communities around the world


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