PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – In a move targeted at strengthening the country’s standing in the international sporting fraternity, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has sealed an agreement with The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) to launch a postgraduate diploma programme in Sport Management, under the auspices of the world governing body in football, FIFA.
On Wednesday 25th March, UWI St Augustine Campus Principal Professor Clement Sankat, signed the landmark agreement alongside Mr. Vincent Monnier, Senior Manager International Relations and Professor Pierre Lanfranchi, Scientific General Coordinator. Also present were the Honourable Gary Hunt, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs and Mr. Oliver Camps, President, Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
With the introduction of this new programme, UWI joins the FIFA/CIES International University Network, which, to date, counts nine universities from Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine. Professor Sankat highlighted that the executive sport management programme is “the first of its kind in the region to be offered at a tertiary level”. Mr. Monnier echoed this remark, noting that participants in the region would be charged with learning how to “apply theories learnt and adapt them to local realities”.
Professor Lanfranchi noted that “the sports industry is the only field which aligns passion, game and benefits”. He praised the local sports industry for what he termed “lots of goodwill”, but expressed his belief that there was a lack of formation, due to the deficit in formal training.
The new UWI/CIES programme will provide a wide platform of formal training in sport management, marketing, finance, law, communication, event management and facilities management. It will be coordinated by the Faculty of Social Sciences, and will be housed by an Institute of Sport Studies, established under the umbrella of the UWI Sport and Physical Education Centre (SPEC).
The Honourable Gary Hunt also gave a short address, assuring all that the government “endorses this initiative wholeheartedly” and hopes that “this programme will lend support to the national vision for sport in Trinidad and Tobago”.
UWI Sport and Physical Education Director, Dr Iva Gloudon, said, “What this Institute will do is bring all of the University’s academic, recreational and competitive physical education programmes under one umbrella.
The focus of the Institute will be to develop a robust academic outlook on sport and physical education and to create a meaningful body of rigorous research about Caribbean people by Caribbean people. There is very little research out there on us, and even less research out there by us. This academic research can be used to inform all of our sport programmes, whether recreational or competitive, whether community-based or regional.”
Dr Gloudon was one of the key players behind the signing of a previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris and FIFA President, Mr. Joseph Blatter on September 5th, 2008. That MOU established an agreement between UWI and FIFA to undertake cooperative programmes in the areas of research, training, education and facilities development in sport management, education and administration.
Professor Sankat hosted the 2008 UWI-FIFA MOU signing, which was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education and the Ministry of Sport; Mr. Austin ‘Jack’ Warner, FIFA Vice President; Mr. Oliver Camps, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF); and Lord David Triesman, Chairman of the English Football Association.