Last week saw the fourth and final edition of the Soccerex European Forum held in Manchester. As with every edition so far, the Forum was hugely successful, with this year’s addition attracting 1,600 delegates made up of senior federation and government representatives, clubs, rights holders, brands and true footballing legends, a mix that can’t be found at any other football business event in Europe.
The event helped set the industry’s agenda with UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino announcing a number of exclusive initiatives including proposing a minimum 10-match ban for any player found guilty of racism and potential stadium closures for the clubs involved. 2018 FIFA World CupTM LOC Deputy CEO Alexander Djordjadze confirmed that the tournament will feature visa-free entry for ticket-holders travelling to Russia, but also free travel on trains and buses for supporters moving in and between host cities.
The Football Association, led by Chairman David Bernstein, played an extremely important role in this year’s Forum, not only hosting a special “FA150 Lounge” for VIPs but also providing a number of speakers including England Manager Roy Hodgson, Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington and a closing address by the FA Chairman.
In a stand-out conference programme a session moderated by Guillem Balague, Edwin van der Sar, Gaizka Mendieta, Edu Gaspar and Ledley King insightfully and openly discussed the separate journeys they have gone on throughout their careers and the challenges that some of them have had in adapting to life after football.
The workshops at this year’s Forum were extremely successful with packed sessions by Repucom, 20.20, the Royal Belgian Football Association and Huggity, as well key development sessions by high profile delegations including Brazil, India, Manchester and Swansea. The significant rise of social media in football was highlighted by an industry setting presentation from Head of Sport for Twitter UK, Lewis Wiltshire and a tremendously popular workshop on ‘Monetising social media’ by AS Roma, AC Milan and Eurosport, which had delegates queuing through the door to watch. This enthusiasm was reflected during the Forum itself when #Soccerex was trending number 1 to over 10million active users in the UK.
As usual, Soccerex is still the only football business brand in the world that attracts true legends of the game with Sir Bobby Charlton, Steven Gerrard, Eusebio, Joe Hart, Michael Owen, Roy Hodgson, Gordon Strachan, Ossie Ardiles, Bryan Robson, Phil Thompson, Kevin Keegan, Gary Neville, Edwin van der Sar, Ledley King, Edu Gaspar, Gaizka Mendieta, Denis Law, Mike Summerbee, Ali Al-Habsi, Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen all in attendance at the Forum.
Commenting on the Forum, Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie said: “The last four years in Manchester have proven enormously successful for everyone involved, with this year’s edition surpassing all expectations. We have consistently brought the biggest names in European football together, creating a fantastic learning and networking experience that cannot be matched anywhere else in the industry. We’re now looking forward to Rio and our final Global Convention in the city this November, before returning to Soccerex’s birthplace, Manchester where the Global Convention will be hosted from 2014-2017.”
Marketing Manchester Chief Executive Andrew Stokes said: “The Soccerex European Forum has been an integral part of our strategy to position Manchester as a major destination for football business. This year’s event was an incredible achievement for everyone involved and laid the perfect foundation for Manchester to host the Global Convention starting in September 2014.”
For further information about Soccerex please call +44 (0)208 987 5522 or visit www.soccerex.com.