Impact Stories

The central role of sport in Qatar’s development

The Sports Management and Major Events Management Programs are being offered for the sixth year (the fourth in partnership with SDA Bocconi) – these flagship initiatives train hundreds of participants in view of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup

The impact

Advancing a managerial culture in Qatar and in the MENA region, while simultaneously promoting economic and social development of the area. All this thanks to rigorous, innovative management of world-class sports events.

The partnership between SDA Bocconi School of Management and the Josoor Institute, Qatar’s center of excellence for sports and events, was created and consolidated in 2018 and 2019, focusing on the motto of the Sport Knowledge Center: “Better sport for a better society.”

These are the values underpinning the development of two training programs: Sports Management and Major Events Management, both offered in 2022 for the sixth time (the fourth in partnership with SDA Bocconi). These flagship programs were designed to enrich the knowledge and enhance competencies of people who want to pursue a career in these two fields.

Afraa Al-Noaimi, Executive Director of the Josoor Institute, says: “We are seeking to prepare our people with competencies that are relevant in this fields and would be extensively applicable beyond 2022. We are basically creating a solid base that didn’t exist before, preparing managers and professionals that can be protagonists of the sports and non-sports events that Qatar hopefully is going to host in the upcoming years.”

The numbers behind the story


Partner: The Josoor Institute

Industry: Sports, culture, entertainment and major events

Number of diplomat delegates: over 200

Number of nationalities:over 40

Major employers: Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, Aspire Zone Foundation, Qatar Football Association, Qatar Stars League, Qatar Foundation, and FIFA.

The story

Over the last decade, Qatar has become an increasingly prominent hub in the MENA region, playing host to numerous international sports competitions. In 2018 alone, around 60 international events were organized here. This was not only thanks to Qatar’s cutting-edge facilities, but also the role the country plays in fostering growth in local communities and in educating new generations of young people.

To nurture managerial excellence in the sport field, the Josoor Institute turned to SDA Bocconi in 2019 to run two flagship training programs: Sports Management and Major Events Management. These initiatives enabled more than 200 participants from 40 different countries to hone their skills in event management.

In the past five years, these programs have offered learning paths in which the areas of sport and major event organization are framed in a more comprehensive project encompassing economic-social renewal, an active lever for encouraging healthy lifestyles and embracing high moral values, in line with a broader vision of sport.

Many international speakers participate in both programs, which are made up of six modules each. For the Sports Management program, these include Fundamentals of Sport Management; Marketing, Sponsorships and Communication in Sport; Digital Transformation in Sport; Strategy and Finance in Sport; Management of Sports Facilities and Sports Events; and Sport Law. Instead the Major Events Management modules are: Introduction to Major Events; Event Project Management (Part 1 – Event Creation and Management), Event Project Management (Part 2 – Event Logistics), Human Resource Management in the Events Industry and the Importance of Volunteers; Event Marketing, Communication and Digital Media; and Major Trends in the Events Industry.

The sixth year of the programs ended the last week of March 2022, and counted nearly 80 delegates from 38 countries, with participants coming from important regional players in the sports sector such as BeIN Sports, Qatar Stars League, Aspire Academy and the Qatar Olympic Committee. As in previous years, several members of the Supreme Committee (SC) of Delivery and Legacy also attended, the body promoting the World Cup of Football.

The leader of the Sport Knowledge Center at SDA Bocconi and Academic Director of both programs is Dino Ruta, who points out: “Because of the restrictions due to the pandemic, for last year’s programs we had to reinvent a part of the learning delivery. We utilized multiple technological tools such as chats, instant polls, breakout rooms and video conferencing, and we organized brief one-to-one interviews with international speakers. These new formats were very popular, so we used them again for our sixth year, which we ended in March 2022.”

Ruta continues: “Sport, culture, entertainment and major events are continually evolving sectors, where private companies and public administrations work side by side to realize projects with a global profile (the Olympics, the World Expo, fairs, festivals, international championships, etc.). These events call for the complex competencies and professional management that SDA Bocconi has been studying and teaching for years.”

In previous years, the programs hosted athletes and experts as guest speakers, including Demetrio Albertini (today the President of the Italian Football Federation Technical Center), José Calderon (former NBA player and currently Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association), Tim Cahill (Chief Sports Officer at Aspire Academy), Javier Zanetti (Vice-President of FC Internazionale) and Julianne Jammers (managing Director of SwissTech Hotel and Convention Center), Catrin Lee (HR Director at ASM Global), as well as prominent local figures such as Ahmed Abbassi (Executive Director of Qatar Stars League). As always, numerous companies collaborated as well, with their representatives acting as guest speakers. Some of the most prominent: Balich Worldwide Shows, Formula 1, ATP Inc., Infront Sports, UEFA, FIFA, IMG Media and Next Group. 

And now...

  • The 6th Annual Sports Management and Major Events Management programs began in late September 2021 and ended in March 2022, close to the kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “With the support of such a prestigious partner like SDA Bocconi, this year’s programs were initiated at a critical time for Qatar, in view of one of the most important sporting events in the world, for which we want to leverage our full potential. The diploma programs are certainly an essential tool for guaranteeing well-rounded, structured training for professionals who will lead the consolidation of our nation at a world-class level.”  
  • Since 2019, SDA Bocconi and Josoor Institute have effectively built a bridge between Doha and Milan – two leading cities in the sector of sport and major events. This bridge will continue to stand even after Qatar 2022, serving as a vital link for promoting managerial excellence to create a new industry of sport, culture and entertainment all over the MENA region. 
  • The alumni of the two training programs will serve as ambassadors of Qatar and SDA Bocconi in the world. Building human capital is the innovation driver and the key to successfully creating value in the medium to long term. A generation of managers and professionals trained in SDA classrooms will lead Qatar and the MENA area in the process of transformation linked to major cultural and sports events.  


The central role of sport in Qatar’s development