Inaugural UEFA Academy Summit staged in Bucharest!

In partnership with the Romanian Football Federation (FRF), the first-ever UEFA Academy Summit brought together over 300 alumni from all corners of the globe.

This landmark event was the occasion for former UEFA Academy students to take part in two days of intensive discussions, networking activities, workshops and roundtables, exploring the multifaceted aspects of football development, governance, innovation and the future of the game.

Held in cooperation with the FRF, the summit was opened with great enthusiasm by Răzvan Burleanu, the president of the federation, member of the FIFA council and alumnus of the Academy’s MESGO programme. This collaborative effort underscored UEFA’s commitment to fostering global football development and nurturing a community of dedicated professionals who are passionate about the sport.

Răzvan Burleanu, FRF president, said, “Education is not just a privilege. It is the most powerful tool to shape a brighter future for ourselves and for the world.”

Thomas Junod, head of the UEFA Academy, said, “Building communities is one of the key values of the UEFA Academy. With 300 participants coming from all over the world and representing our different programmes, the first ever UEFA Academy Summit was a clear demonstration of the power of learning and football to unite people.”

At the summit, the Academy Alumni Association (AAA) hosted its annual general assembly, taking stock of recent achievements and announcing its new board for the next two years. Participants were encouraged to deep dive into specific topics and exchange innovative ideas through different workshops such as:

  • Governance: Sports governance shapes the very essence of the game, influencing every aspect from rules and regulations to fair play and inclusivity. A round table led by MESGO alumni brought together experts from top sports organisations such as FIFPRO, FIFA, DFB, European Aquatics, and academics to delve into the exciting possibilities that lie ahead, reshaping the landscape of sports.
  • The Future of the Game: What lies ahead for football? Through foresight, scenario planning and thought-provoking discussions, alumni discussed important issues that will be or are already changing the sport, such as gender diversity, innovative sports models, laws of the game and more.
  • Innovation: In an ever-changing world, innovation is key. With the help of the UEFA Innovation Hub, participants took a deep dive in ideation, a process to create solutions, seize opportunities and generate new ideas.

TOGETHER: one unique network

While the summit’s primary focus was on football, it also provided opportunities for alumni to connect with peers and industry experts through networking activities. These interactions fostered not only new relationships but also a space for collaboration and knowledge exchange, further emphasising the importance of ongoing education in football.

Stiliyan Petrov, former Aston Villa player and UEFA MIP graduate, said, “We talked about different challenges in football, we shared ideas. This is what it’s all about: football coming together, discussing issues and finding solutions.”

Besides these enriching discussions, participants took part in fun team-building activities, including a football tournament, a cooking class, and a city tour, offering them a break from the rigorous programme to unwind, bond and appreciate the local culture.

As football continues to evolve, initiatives like this summit play a pivotal role in ensuring that it remains a force for positive change, innovation, and inclusivity worldwide. The event highlighted that a well-educated and collaborative community is key to nurturing football’s growth and securing its enduring place as the beautiful game we love.

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