Football’s 'New Geography' takes centre stage in Paris forum
On 7-8 July, GlobalSportsJobs attended the World Football Forum (WFF) 2016, an annual industry event for major players in the football world. The focus this year was on prominent names in football governance and the wider industry, including the rapidly developing sports markets of China and India. Look out over the coming months for a series of insight interviews with key participants.
China’s growing impact in the international football arena – and the efforts of the established football hubs to engage with this massive new force in the world game was one of the principal points of discussion at the event, alongside an in-depth look at the restructuring of the India football league, and development through football in Qatar and the MENA region.
The headline panel sessions at the WFF 2016 took a deep dive into both Chinese and Indian football, with senior industry figures from China including Ma Guoli, Vice Chairman and Le Sports and Wang Dong, VP at AliSports – part of ecommerce giant Alibaba. The Indian delegation was led by Kushal Das, General Secretary of the All-India Football Federation and Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League.
New horizons in technology and innovation were covered at WFF in an interactive session looking at the ways in which football will be played and watched in future – including virtual reality stadiums from LiveLike and people-powered football pitches from clean energy innovator Pavegen.
Forum delegates also heard from representatives of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and from Russia 2018, with a report from the LOC and also a presentation on Russia Loves Football! – a campaign developed by WFF organizer Eventica Sport aimed at engaging the Russian public with football in the run-up to 2018.
WFF 2016 underscored Eventica Sport’s on-going focus on the Asian market, and plans for WFF 2017 in China are now underway.
Forum Director Edward Cowell said: “We have heard a range of views today on the exciting new forces in world football from a very impressive line up of decision makers and commentators. I am delighted that WFF’s long-standing commitment to open new windows of opportunity in the football world has culminated in the exciting discussions that have taken place today. We are not stopping here, however, and the next step for us is to take WFF into the heart of the new geography for the 2017 forum”.
General Partners of WFF 2016 were Shankai Sports, FIFA TMS, Sovetsky Sport, Weber Shandwick, Inventive Sports, Dodici and FansWorld TV.