FT/IFA Business of Football Summit

Roger Blitz is leisure industries correspondent at the Financial Times, a post which covers the business of sport.  He was responsible for leading the FT’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. He also oversaw the FT’s coverage of the Fifa World Cup in 2010 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. 

Previously, he was a senior corporate reporter on the UK companies desk and before that, UK regional affairs editor. Joining the Financial Times in 2000, he has also been the weekend news editor, the assistant UK news editor, UK affairs editor, and security correspondent.

Between 1996 and 1999, Roger was the editor of the Highbury and Islington Express.  Previously, he worked at the Hampstead and Highgate Express where he was the assistant editor from 1992 to 1995 and chief reporter from 1990 to 1992. Roger graduated from the University of Leicester in 1984 and is married with two children. Roger frequently appears on national and international TV and radio.  


On 8 June 1998 Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland) was elected as the successor to Dr. João Havelange (Brazil) as the eighth FIFA President. This victory at the 51st FIFA Ordinary Congress in Paris (France) elevated Joseph S. Blatter, who had already served FIFA in various positions for twenty-three years, onto the highest rang in international football.

Mr. Blatter began his professional career as Head of Public Relations of the Valaisan Tourist Board in his native Switzerland and then became General Secretary of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation (1964). He then pursued journalistic and public relations activities in the fields of sport and private industry. As Director of Sports Timing and Public Relations of Longines S.A., he was involved in the organisation of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games.

In the summer of 1975, as Director of Technical Development Programmes at FIFA, Mr. Blatter began to set President João Havelange's projects into motion. It was the time when ideas for competition and educational programmes were germinating and the foundations being laid for competitions in the under-20 and under-17 categories as well as women's and indoor (futsal).

In 1981 the Executive Committee of the world governing body designated the multilingual Blatter as the new General Secretary and in 1990 promoted him to Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

At the end of March 1998 the direct support and the interest manifested by numerous national associations from all the confederations prompted him to stand at the 1998 FIFA Congress presidential election as their candidate. Joseph S. Blatter was re-elected for a second term on 29 May 2002 in Seoul. And on Thursday 31 May 2007, Joseph S. Blatter was confirmed, by acclamation, in the position for a third term of office.

Antônio Carlos Kfouri Aidar, Director of Control at FGV Projetos, the technical advisory unit of FGV Foundation, Mr. Aidar graduated in business administration from the FGV São Paulo School of Business Administration (EAESP/FGV) and has a master’s in economics from Michigan State University.

He is also professor of the undergraduate courses of the EAESP/FGV Department of Economics since 1977, and was the coordinator of the Special Program for Sports Management of GVPEC and member of the Mentoring Program.

He is the author of a book on football management, and published several articles in Brazil and abroad.

Ian Ayre is the Managing Director and main board director of Liverpool Football Club. Originating from Kirkdale, Liverpool, and educated at Litherland High School, Ian has over 25 years of experience gained across the Technology, Sport and Media sectors.

Early positions in the Royal Navy, global satellite television and communications industry included a position as the regional director and subsequently the role of Chief Executive for Pace Micro Technology PLC in Asia. Responsible for their Asian manufacturing, sales and distribution, Ian established sales offices, dealer distribution networks and sub contract manufacturing across Asia and later formed part of a US$ 500 million IPO. In a strategy to penetrate the emerging drive of football as a key subscription driver in digital television, Ian was later instrumental in the buyout of a UK professional football club, Huddersfield Town FC becoming CEO and Chairman. Ian also developed a business plan for the collective exploitation of football clubs new media rights in 2001, with over 80 of the 92 professional clubs in the UK agreeing to seed rights into the business, the plan was supported by investment from NTL Inc of over US$ 500 million. He went on to build and launch the new media business Premium TV Ltd as its Managing Director. The business at the time was the world’s largest provider of streaming football content with over 5 million users.

In August 2007 Ayre was recruited to spearhead the development of Liverpool Football Club’s commercial operations. During March 2011, Ayre was offered the Managing Director position by the club’s new owners, a position which he holds today.

Ian is also the non-executive Chairman of the Visitor Economy committee for Merseyside and Liverpool City Region.


Former Chairman of Liverpool Football Club, Martin Broughton concurrently serves as Chairman of British Airways and Deputy Chairman of its parent company,International Airlines Group. Previously he was CEO and Executive Chairman of British American Tobacco plc  (BAT)  for 11  years  and  was  the President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) from 2007-09. Sir Martin has had significant involvement in sport for many years. With BAT, he oversaw the start-up of a Formula One team which was subsequently purchased by Honda.

He also served as an Independent Director of the British Horseracing Board (BHB) before becoming its Chairman and overseeing its transformation into a regulatory board.  At the BHB, he was at the forefront of pushing a more coherent strategy for the horseracing industry and utilizing his political skills to pull together the diverse interests of the primary stakeholders (owners, trainers, and operators) together. Sir Martin originally trained as an accountant before joining BAT in 1971.

Michel Davidovich is VP and General Manager for the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Coca-Cola Brazil, being responsible for leveraging the event to develop business legacies and to lead key event-activation plans in the country. Mr. Davidovich joined Coca-Cola in 2005 as VP of Strategic Planning and Research for Brazil, and in 2008 was appointed as General Manager of Leão Junior, the Brazilian leader in tea that was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2007.

Before joining Coca-Cola, Mr. Davidovich was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company in Brazil, Mexico and Europe. Mr. Davidovich holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and an MBA in General Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California, USA.

Felipe Lobo Faro graduated as a lawyer from Mackenzie University and worked for Pinheiro Neto – Advogados and Lobo & Ibeas – Advogados, one of the leading firms in Latin America.

In 1999 he joined Traffic Sports Marketing, a leading sports marketing agency in Latin America. In 2002/2003 graduated for a master degree for Liverpool University MBA – Football Industry in England. Back to Traffic Sports Marketing as Sports Business Director, left the company on December 2011.

Since February 2012 has been Head of Sports of Santos FC, responsible for Professional Football, Grassroots Projects, Youth Academy and Olympics Sports.

Ron Gourlay has been Chief Executive of Chelsea Football Club for three years. He joined the club in 2004 and before becoming Chief Executive he held a variety of director,level roles, including Chief Operating Officer.

In his first year as Chief Executive, Chelsea FC won an historic Double, claiming both the Premier League and FA Cup. Last season saw the club win the Champions League for the first time in its history as well as the FA Cup for the seventh time.

As well as success on the pitch, through his leadership the club has gone from strength to strength off it. Under Gourlay, commercial revenues have increased as has the club's charitable work through the award-winning Chelsea Foundation and global CSR projects in Asia Pacific and the USA.

In October 2012, Gourlay was appointed to FIFA's Marketing Committee.

He has more than 30 years experience in football having previously undertaken senior roles at Manchester United, where he was Commercial Director, and 15 years at Umbro, latterly as Sales and  Operations Director.

Nizan Guanaes is Chairman and Founder of Grupo ABC, a Brazilian holding company that is comprised of 15 companies in advertising, specialized marketing services, content and entertainment sectors. In just ten years it has become the 18th largest marketing communications group in the world (Agency Report 2011 - Advertising Age).

Nizan was named one of the five most influential Brazilians by the Financial Times; is one of the 21 global influencers on media and marketing according to Advertising Age and Fast Company magazine describes him as one of "the 100 most creative people in business".

For more than 20 years Nizan has dedicated a great part of his time to social causes, primarily related to education, entrepreneurship and the preservation of Brazil's cultural heritage. He has been appointed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and is a member of UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention.  He is also an active member of the Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum, Endeavor, Women in the World Foundation.

Edward Lange has been the CEO of Allianz Brazil since 2012. In addition to presiding over the company’s insurance operations in Brazil, he has led all the negotiations for the naming rights of the New Arena of the Palmeiras soccer team, in São Paulo, announced on April 29th. In Europe, the Group lends its name to three stadiums: Allianz Arena (Germany), Allianz Park (England) and Allianz Riviera (France).

Under Mr. Lange’s management, the operations of Allianz Insurance and Allianz Health had a total turnover of BRL 3.6 billion in 2012, a 16.2% increase in relation to the previous year. The profit recorded in the period amounted to BRL 122 million. Mr. Edward Lange wants to achieve the goal of reaching a turnover of BRL 5.8 billion by 2015. 

Edward Lange studied Business Administration in France and in the United States and continued his education in renowned institutions in Great Britain, Germany and Argentina.

Joe Leahy is Brazil bureau chief for the Financial Times, based in São Paulo. Previously, he served as the FT’s Mumbai bureau chief, as well as Asia companies editor and Hong Kong correspondent.

Before joining the Financial Times in 2000, Leahy was the Jakarta bureau chief for AFX and also worked for the South China Morning Post as a subeditor and then as Indonesia correspondent.

In 2009, he won the Journalist of the Year award, the most prestigious prize of the Society of Publishers in Asia, for excellence in his reporting of Indian business and politics. He also won the 2009 Indian Express award for Best Foreign Correspondent covering South Asia. While in Hong Kong in 2006, he jointly won the Sopa award for Excellence in Business Reporting for his coverage of Chinese Oil Company CNOOC's bid for Unocal of the US. In 2011, he jointly won an honourable mention in Sopa’s multimedia category for a Facebook, video and print project on Mumbai’s migrants, “Living the Dream”.

Joe is a graduate of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Journalism). 

Carlos Moreira Founder, Chairman & CEO, WISeKey Nominated by Bilan.CH among the 300 most influential persons in Switzerland in 2013. Former UN expert on IT, eSecurity and Trust Models.

Since 1999 Founder, Chairman and CEO of WISeKey SA. Founder and Secretary- General OISTE.org. Member of the UN Global Compact, member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. Founding Member of the World Economic Forum Global Growth Companies. World Economic Forum New Champion 2007 to 2013, Vice Chair World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade 2012/13; founder of the Geneva Security Forum SA, member of Clinton Global Initiative. Entrepreneur and investor in technology companies. Founder WISeKey SA and WISeTrust SA.

Since 2012 developed WISfans.com to reinforce digital social marketing strategies for football clubs working with leading sports franchises to capture the essence of supporters’ interaction and to develop original ways to use social media to energize dynamics.


Marcos Motta is founder partner of Bichara e Motta Advogados (Brasil) and has been recognised repeatedly for his professional expertise in football business law as from 1997. Since then he has served as legal counsel in the largest transactions in the field of football and in over three-hundred high stakes, cutting edge cases and arbitrations before the Fédération Internationale de Football Association - FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport - CAS|TAS.

During his career Marcos has been advising several football clubs worldwide, governing bodies, national associations, investment funds, media and marketing agencies and global football starlets, artists and their agents on contracts with clubs and sponsors, including image rights agreements, endorsements and transfer deals. He has also participated to the Government Working Group for the revision of the Brazilian sports legal system in 2009 and is a regular contributor to various sports business conferences, seminars and publications worldwide.

Mayor Eduardo Paes was born in the city of Rio de Janeiro
on November 14, 1969. A Law School graduate from PUC-Rio, he began his public career at the early age of 23 when, in 1993, he was nominated as deputy mayor of the Jacarépaguá and Barra Sub-municipal Governments. In 1996, aged 27, he was elected alderman, with the highest number of votes in Brazil that year. He was elected to the Federal Chamber of Deputies twice. On the first election, in 1998, he was the most voted candidate in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

In 2000, he was nominated as Municipal Environment Secretary. In 2002, Paes returned to the Chamber of Deputies for his second term as Congressman. In 2007, the year of the Pan American Games, Paes was named Secretary of State for Tourism, Sport and Leisure. And on January 1st, 2009, Paes took office as Mayor of Rio.

Michael Payne has been at the forefront of the sports marketing industry for nearly thirty years – having lead the global marketing effort for the Olympic Movement for more than two decades, from 1983 to 2004 as the IOC’s first ever Marketing and Broadcast Rights Director. Nominated as one of the world’s most influential marketers by Advertising Age,

Michael oversaw the development and implementation of the marketing programmes for 15 Olympic Summer and Winter Games.

During his tenure at the IOC, Michael lead the marketing team that would generate in excess of $15 billion in broadcast and marketing revenues programmes, and advise many of the world’s foremost corporations on how to use their Olympic partnership to drive business. In 2003, Michael was responsible for negotiating new industry record level media rights agreements with US and European broadcasters to the value of nearly $3 billion.

In September 2004, following the Athens Olympic Games, Michael resigned from the IOC to become an independent sports marketing consultant joining the management team of F1, as special advisor to the Chairman – CEO, Mr Bernie Ecclestone, in addition to taking on a number of other senior strategic advisory roles, including that of the successful London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Bids. Michael also serves on a number of Boards, including Chairman of Crystal CG’s International Division – the world’s largest 3D Digital animation company.

A British citizen. Michael is a regular commentator on sports marketing industry affairs for CNN, BBC and other media groups around the world.

Marcelo De Campos Pinto has been Executive Director of Globo Esportes – Rede Globo de Televisão (Globo TV Networw) since 2000.

In 2008 he became a member of the FIFA Midia Comission. From June 1994 to March 2000 Marcelo De Campos Pinto was the General Legal Counsel of Rede Globo deTelevisão (Globo TV Network) and from 1984 to May 1994 he was the Vice-President of Banco Boavista S.A., responsible for the Legal, Human Resources and International Business Development Divisions.

During 1983 to 1984 he was an associate at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City; and from 1978 to 1982 he held the position of attorney at Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (National Steel Company).

José Aldo Rebelo Figueiredo was born in Viçosa (AL), in 1956. He is a writer and journalist by profession, and was elected congressman six times in São Paulo for the Communist Party of Brazil. With a political career spanning 30 years, Aldo Rebelo was president of the Chamber of Deputies during the Lula administration before being appointed to run the Ministry of Sport of Brazil in October 2011.

Appointed by the DIAP – Inter-Parliamentary Advisory Department – as one of the most influential congressmen in Brazil, he has been responsible for numerous important pieces of legislation. The Biosecurity Law, for instance, took into account public opinion before being passed, and was amended to allow stem cell research, which had been prohibited in the original project.

Today, millions of Brazilians are able to benefit from the provisions for the country’s development and the wellbeing of its people that were included in the legislation.

Luiz Eduardo Baptista Pinto da Rocha (BAP) is the President of SKY Brasil. In this role he is responsible for all of the company’s operations including its $3.4 billion business, 1,800 employees and 10,000 sales and technical collaborators.

Since joining DIRECTV in 2003, BAP’s accomplishments include leading the merger between DIRECTV and SKY. Under his leadership, SKY Brazil has won the Brazilian J.D. Power Award for the media category for nine years in a row. Additionally, SKY Brasil was awarded Company of the Year for 2009 by J.D. Power in Brazil. Prior to DIRECTV, BAP was president of Optiglobe Telecommunications, a start-up company with 14 partners, mostly private equity funds. He led the company to break-even in less than one year of operations. He later sold the company to Votorantim Ventures, and managed the company’s sixth month transition of ownership.

BAP holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and an MBA from the Coppead Graduate School of Business at the Federal University of Rio de Janiero. He was awarded 2011 CEO of the Year by Consumidor Moderno magazine. BAP is based at SKY Brasil’s São Paulo office.

Luis Paulo Rosenberg, Director and Partner of Rosenberg Consultores Associados and of Rosenberg Partners Consultores Empresariais Ltda & Marketing Vice President of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista

Bachelors Degree in Economics from Universidade de São Paulo, with Masters and PhD in Economics degrees from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (USA) 

Formerly Professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas de São Paulo (FGV) and, Universidade de Brasília (UnB).

Ex-Professor and Lecturer of ITA - Instituto Tecnológico da Aeronáutica, the Air Force Engineering School.

Advisor to Minister Delfim Netto during President of Brazil João Figueiredo’s term, responsible for the areas of Science and Technology and investments in Energy, and member of the IMF negotiation team.

Economic Advisor to President of Brazil José Sarney.

In the private sector, was Vice President of SHARP Group´s holding company and  board member of NESTLÉ BRASIL S.A. and B.B.V.A.

In his youth, Marcel Schmid was a passionate football player. He joined Grasshopper FC of Zurich, working his way up to the top of the junior leagues for nine years. Having earned a commercial diploma in Zurich, he set out to widen his horizon travelling to the U.K., Spain, the U.S. and the Middle East. On returning to Switzerland, he began a career in journalism, working in print media first, moving on to radio later, and ending up with the Swiss national television station. As an editor and presenter, he had the privilege of meeting with exciting people from all walks of life. He conducted interviews with people as varied as cardiac surgeons, the governor of the Swiss National Bank, fashion models and writers. In addition, he produced programmes for Swiss TV.

At the beginning of the 1990s, he mustered the courage to become independent, setting up a communication agency that went on to specialise increasingly in the field of sports in general and later in football in particular. This resulted in an idea in 1999 to offer the football industry an opportunity to meet at a high-level platform, the International Football Arena. From 2007, the IFA expanded from Zurich to China, Malaysia, India, Japan and, most recently, Brazil. Marcel Schmid is also the Chairman of Onegoal Ltd, a players’ management agency. Currently he is adding executive search in the world of international sports to his fields of activity. 

Alexey Sorokin represents a new generation of sports leaders in Russia.

Alexey has a wide range of experience in international relations. He has led a number of key sports projects in Russia including the Moscow 2012 Summer Olympic Games bid, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games bid, the 2013IAAF Athletics World Championships bid, and the Moscow UEFA Champions League final of 2008.

Alexey was a Project Leader for the successful Moscow UEFA Champions League final and this led to his appointment as CEO of The Football Union of Russia in 2008. In 2009, Alexey became the leader of Russia’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia was then awarded the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in December 2010. In January 2011, the Russian government and the Football Union of Russia established the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee. Alexey was appointed CEO of the Organising Committee.

In March 2012, Alexey was also appointed as a special adviser to the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA standing committee. Alexey is a graduate of the Moscow State Linguistic University and Diplomatic Academy. He is fluent in English and French. He is married and has one daughter.

Hassan Al Thawadi is Secretary General for the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, the organization responsible for coordinating public and private Qatari entities to ensure infrastructure and development projects are delivered in readiness for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

His appointment in March 2011 as Secretary General follows 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 revolutionary and ultimately successful attempt to bring the FIFA World Cup to the Middle East for the first time.

A graduate in Law from Sheffield University in England and fluent in four languages, Hassan is also General Counsel at Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Qatar Holding (QH) - entities founded by the State of Qatar in 2005 to diversify the country’s economy and that have invested in Porsche, Volkswagen, Barclays Bank, the New York Stock Exchange and Harrods.

Ricardo Trade, CEO of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, is 56 years old. Former goalkeeper of the Brazilian handball team, Trade has been involved with sports since he was 11. He graduated in Physical Education and began working as physical trainer and team supervisor for Brazil’s top volleyball clubs and the Brazilian Volleyball Federation, with participation in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Also graduated in Business Administration and post graduated in System Analysis, Trade became one of the managers of a big events promotion company, working with beach soccer, beach volleyball and tennis.

He opened his own company, which was responsible for managing the Futsal League. Trade was then invited to be the Services General Manager of the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Games. Six months before the competition started, he became the Operations Director. He participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games’ victorious candidature file. Today, he also takes part in the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup, which includes members of previous and future Local Organising Committees, and is the local coordinator of the FIFA/CIES (International Centre for Sports Studies) in Brazil.

Frenchman Jérôme Valcke was appointed as Secretary General by the FIFA Executive Committee on 27 June 2007. Valcke joined FIFA in the summer of 2003 as the director of Marketing & TV.

Jérôme Valcke has enjoyed a brilliant career with several different companies. He began working for Canal + as a journalist in 1984 and became assistant director of its Sports Service in 1991. Canal + then put him in charge of its brand new Sport + channel in 1997, and he held that post until 2002, when Sport + became part of the merger that produced Sportfive. He worked as Chief Operating Officer at the new entity for a year, before joining FIFA as Director of Marketing & TV in June 2003.