Soriano: advanced managerial skills for future soccer

Manchester City’s CEO, guest speaker on the “Football Management” Executive Program

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Not only the most popular sport in the world. A far more complex view of soccer was presented by Ferran Soriano, the CEO of Manchester City Football Club, as well as New York City FC (Major League Soccer) and Melbourne City FC (A-League), who talked to the participants in SDA Bocconi’s “Football Management” Executive Program, developed in partnership with FIGC, the Italian Football Federation. Throughout his career Ferran Soriano has held a number of positions in companies in different industries including The Mac Group, Reckitt Benckiser and Cluster Consulting, the latter being a managerial consultancy firm he co-founded in 1993. He was Barcelona FC’s Managing Director and Financial VP between 2003 and 2008, then joined the English club after a spell as President of the Catalan airline company Spanair (2009-2012).

Soriano told the participants in SDA Bocconi’s program about the global project of City Football Group, the first multinational of soccer. He explained how the Group is composed and how important synergies among member clubs are. “In business relationships, we speak on behalf of the Group, not the individual club,” he said.

Soriano went on to talk about the specific challenges facing the manager of a football club. In particular, he focused on the multitude of stakeholders that soccer managers must manage, including the fans and the media, who every week, or even every day, judge the club’s choices, on and off the field. The role of a CEO is to deal with this network of interests, knowing how to delegate, especially for the sporting side where technical knowledge is essential. Soriano underlined the importance of vision, planning and time management. Not only is it vital to do the right thing, but also do it at the right time. “It is timing while making decisions that makes the difference in soccer.” Data science and analysis – said the CEO – are extremely important in this respect: analytics allow for more informed and effective decisions.

And he concluded with two reflections on the theme of fans, today and tomorrow: “We must do everything possible to always have a sold-out stadium” and also “We must rethink soccer because the new generations in 20 years may be interested in other forms of entertainment.”

This “Football Management” Executive Program was launched on 28 June 2021 by FIGC’s Technical Sector in partnership with SDA Bocconi School of Management, with a view to providing managers and professionals in football clubs with the most useful managerial tools to improve the quality of their decisions. It aimed at disseminating the most advanced managerial knowledge in the word of soccer to help improve the performance of tangible and intangible assets, define innovative projects involving all the stakeholders in the football ecosystem, work according to sustainability principles and leveraging the technical and human aspects of this sport.

Of the 4 modules – Management and Marketing, Human Resources Management, Strategy, Finance and Sustainability – the first three took place at SDA Bocconi School of Management, the fourth on FIGC’s Technical Center in Coverciano.

Outstanding speakers, from the world of football but not only, contributed to the Program: Luigi De Siervo (Lega Serie A), Gianluca Toniolo (Dolce & Gabbana), Frank Leenders (FIBA), Andrea Radrizzani (Leeds United), Sasha Djordjevic (head coach at Fenerbahce), Dennis De Munck (Ferrari), Roberto Zecchino (Bosch), Matteo Zuretti (NBPA), Max Sirena (Luna Rossa), Valter di Salvo (Aspire), Giuseppe Marotta (Internazionale FC), Enrico Casiraghi (Lega Serie A), Andrea Traverso (UEFA), Angelo Spampinato (Fondazione Milano-Cortina 2026), Alessandra Marzari (Vero Volley) .

The Program came to an end on 21 October last, with a ceremony at FIGC’s Coverciano Technical Center, featuring FIGC’s President Gabriele Gravina, FIGC’s Technical Sector President Demetrio Albertini, and FIGC’s Managing Director Marco Brunelli.





SDA Bocconi School of Management

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