EU Sport Forum 2018
Thu, 22/03/2018 to Fri, 23/03/2018
Hotel Marinela, 100 James Bourchier Blvd., Sofia - Bulgaria

The EU Sport forum has become "the place to be" in European sport. Once a year it is a unique opportunity for sport organisations to meet policy makers and representatives of the EU institutions and of the Member States.

After a very successful edition in Malta last year, we met in Sofia, on the occasion of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council. The 2018 edition of the EU Sport Forum was once again packed-full with influential speakers and interesting topics.

The role of sport in international relations was at the core of the discussion, while different sessions and workshops have addressed other key questions: What is the impact of the Olympic games on the environment? What is the role of sport in fighting climate change and the Paris agreement? And what about in promoting European values? How can we break the glass ceiling and help promote gender equality in sport?

These were just some of the issues that were discussed in Sofia, together with regional development, innovation and concrete sessions on the transfer of players or the consequences of the International Skating Union (ISU) case. As well as, of course, all the latest policy developments, from the EU Work Plan for Sport to the Tartu call for a healthy lifestyle.

Hosted by Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the 2018 EU Sport Forum took place in Sofia on 22 and 23 March.

Webstreaming recordings

Watch all the 2018 European Sport Forum sessions on Vimeo.
 Discover the videos

The EU Sport Forum is an opportunity to promote sport as a means of building a better Europe – but also as an instrument to forge strong relationships with our partners across the globe.

About the event

The European Commission, Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, organised the Sport Forum in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 22 and 23 March 2018.

The EU Sport Forum is the main platform for structured dialogue between the European Commission and sport stakeholders. The Forum's main objective is to take stock of progress achieved in implementing the EU agenda for sport and to seek stakeholders’ views on current and planned/possible future activities.

Under the overarching theme "Sport in Europe, investing for future generations", various sessions over two days covered many topics of interest for European sport, including the role of sport in promoting international cooperation, sustainable sport, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, sport and innovation, women in sport, sport and regional development, etc.


/sport/file/eu-sport-forum-2018-video_enEU Sport Forum 2018 video

More info


European Commission
Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
Sport Unit




08:15 - 09:15 Accreditations
09:30 - 10:00

Welcome remarks by Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia.

Opening speeches by:
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
Krasen Kralev, Minister of Youth and Sports, Bulgaria

10:00 - 11:00

Sustainable Sport – 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games
Session moderated by David Eades, BBC World News TV, Presenter

Paris 2024

  • Laura Flessel, Minister for Sports, France
  • Jean-Michel Brun, Secretary General, French National Olympic Committee
  • Marie Barsacq, Impact & Legacy Director, Paris 2024

Beijing 2022

  • Yang Shu'an, Vice President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Vice President of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
11:00 - 11:30

Networking coffee

11:30 - 13:00

The role of sport in promoting international cooperation
Introduction by Laurent Petrynka, International School Sport Federation President
Panel debate moderated by David Eades, BBC World News TV, Presenter With:

  • Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
  • Yang Shu'an, Vice President of the Chinese Olympic Committee
  • Janica Kostelić, State Secretary for Sport, Croatia
  • Bogdan Wenta, Member of the European Parliament, CULT Committee
13:00 - 14:30

Networking Lunch

14:30 - 16:00

Parallel sessions

Transfers of players: different aspects and perspectives
Session moderated by Yves Le Lostecque, European Commission, Head of the Sport Unit.

Introduction by Ramunas Linartas, European Commission, Sport Unit, Policy Officer

  • Omar Ongaro, FIFA, Director Football Regulatory
  • Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPro - World Players Union, Director Policy and Strategic Relations
  • David Frommer, European Club Association, Senior Strategic Advisor
  • Javier Tebas, Spanish Professional Football League, President

Does sport help the development of cities and regions?
Session introduced and moderated by Arthur Le Gall, KEA, Senior consultant.

Set the scene: short presentations from cities

  • Kristiina Jokalainen, Regional Council of Lapland Region, Senior advisor
  • Marc Pattinson, INNO TSD Group, Managing Director
  • Steve Haake, Advanced Well-being Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Director
  • Jean-François Laurent, TAFISA, Junior Director
  • Aristide Wolfrom, Spark Lab, Co-Founder

Women in sport: breaking the glass ceiling
Session moderated by Piara Powar, Fare network, Executive Director.

Introduction by Stefan Bergh, ENGSO, Secretary General

  • Rikke Ronholt Albertsen, Global Goals World Cup by Eir Soccer, CEO and Co-Founder
  • Gerd Kanter, Chair of the EOC Athletes' Commission
  • Emma Sykes, UEFA, Women's Football Development Manager
  • Natalia Orive, EU Athletes, Vice-President
16:00 - 16:10

Return to plenary

16:10 - 17:30

Healthy lifestyle: what follow-up to the Tartu Call for Action?
Session introduced and moderated by Graham Watson, EuropeActive, President With:

  • Didier Besseyre, European Federation for Company Sport, President
  • Sónia Paixão, Lisbon Municipality, Head of Sport Department
  • Sigrid Ligné, Union of European Soft Drinks Associations (UNESDA), Director General
  • Mogens Kirkeby, International Sport and Culture Association, President

Conclusions from the European Commission.

17:30 - 19:30

Networking in and around the following stands:

  • European Week of Sport
  • #BeInclusive Awards
  • Good Governance
  • Sport Action Network, Traditional Sports and Games
  • Sofia, European Capital of Sport
19:30 - 20:00

Transfers to dinner location

20:00 - 22:30

Dinner at Arena Armeec Hall, with a sporting touch


07:15 - 08:15


09:00 - 09:15

Opening of the day

09:00 - 10:10

The International Skating Union case: the impact on the Sport movement
Introduction by Tobias Maass, Directorate-General for Competition, European Commission – Presentation of the ISU case.

Panel debate moderated by Alexandre Husting, Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union, attaché Education, Youth, Culture and Sport With:

  • Niels Nygaard, European Olympic Committees, Vice-President
  • Julien Zylberstein, UEFA, Head of EU & Stakeholder Affairs
  • Philippe Boone, Volleyball Leagues Association, President
  • Richard Parrish, Edge Hill University, Professor of Sports Law
  • Claudia Bokel, former member of the IOC Athletes' Commission
10:10 - 10:20

Go to workshop rooms

10:20 - 11:30

Parallel sessions:

Opportunities brought by innovation and digital technologies in sport
Panel debate introduced and moderated by Nikoleta Madanska, journalist.

  • Mounir Zok, Global Leader on Sports Technology and Innovation
  • Menno Bischops, VRee, Chief Technology Officer
  • Thomas Wiesel, Adidas AG, Senior Director Innovation and Technology
  • Ott Pärna, (World Sport Volunteers Movement) SCULT Foundation, Founder and CEO

Promotion of European Values through sport
Scene setter by Alexandre Mestre, Sports Lawyer and Lecturer of Sports Law.

Panel debate moderated by Michelle Tanner, Trinity College Dublin, Head of Sport & Recreation

  • Pentcho Geshev, Bulgarian Olympic Committee, Vice-Chairman
  • Antonia Hagemann, SD Europe, CEO
  • Daniel Alarcón Oliveras, EDUVIC, Project coordinator
  • Lilla Nedeczky, National Youth Council in Hungary, Vice-President

Sport and Climate Change: how can sport contribute to the Paris Agreement?

Panel debate introduced and moderated by Alexander Bielefeld, Burson-Marsteller Sport, Manager, Strategic Communications & Policy

  • Michael Pedersen, M INC. › change the game, Founder
  • Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, World Wildlife Foundation, Global Practice Leader for Climate and Energy
  • Jim Ibister, Minnesota Wild Hockey Club, Facility Administration Vice-President
  • Marie Barsacq, Paris 2024, Impact & Legacy Director
11:30 - 12:00

Networking coffee

12:00 - 13:15

EU Work Plan for sport 2017-2020: Towards better cooperation with the sport movement
Session moderated by Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the Sport Unit, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission

Introduction by Mark Cutajar, former Chair of the Working Party on Sport, Malta

Panel debate with the participation of:

  • Svein Arne Hansen, President of European Athletics
  • Folker Hellmund, Director of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) EU Office
  • Kairis Ulp, former Chair of the Working Party on Sport, Estonia
  • Viktoria Slavkova, Chair of the Working Party on Sport, Bulgaria

Conclusion by Barbara Spindler-Oswald, future Chair of the Working Party on Sport, Austria.

13:15 - 13:30

Concluding remarks

Jens Nymand Christensen, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission

13:30 - 15:00


14:00 - 16:00

Transfers to airport


Daniel Alarcón
EDUVIC · Inspira Sport Department, Family Therapist and Project Manager
20/03/2018 - 11:30

Psychologist specialized in family therapy and education. He coordinates a therapeutic service for the care of children and families in situations of social risk in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). Since 2010, he has worked as project manager in the design, execution and evaluation of socio-educational projects that use sport for the prevention, inclusion and peaceful resolution of conflicts. During the period 2012-2015, he directed the project FutbolNet of the FC Barcelona Foundation. Currently, he is technical responsible of services of EDUVIC · Inspira Sport. He has designed Move IN Involved Sport, their program, based on special sport activities for the acquisition of values and skills, serve as a preventive factor of radicalization in children and adolescents.

Jonas Baer Hoffmann
FIFPro, Director Policy and Strategic Relations

Jonas Baer-Hoffmann is the Director for Policy and Strategic Relations of FIFPro, the World Football Players Union, representing approximately 65.000 professional footballers. 
Jonas joined FIFPro in 2012 and is heading a team to develop policies, industrial strategies and coordinates relations and negotiations with football stakeholders, governments and other critical counterparts. Jonas represents the players’ interests in various negotiation bodies including the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council, the FIFA task force on the transfer system as well as the European Social Dialogue Committee for professional football.
Jonas has worked for domestic, European and international player union bodies since 2007 in various roles including leading the German basketball players union, SP.IN, and as part of the team of EU Athletes. Jonas played basketball at a semi-professional level in Germany.

Marie Barsacq
Impact and Legacy director
20/03/2018 - 11:30

Lawyer by training, specialised in development in sports, Marie worked for 10 years at the CNOSF, mainly on matters regarding employment, courses and skills in the sport movement. She then joined the French Football Federation where she dedicated 3 years to the creation of the Football Training Institute and then became assistant general manager in charge of amateur football. Marie was also, from 2004 to 2014, the founder and general secretary of the EASE (European Association of Sport Employers) to develop social dialogue in european sport.

Stefan Bergh
ENGSO (European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation), Secretary General

Stefan Bergh is the Secretary General of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation, ENGSO. He has more than 20 years of experience in sport policy, leadership and in the work for the development of grassroots sport. Since 2016 Mr Bergh is also the Secretary General of the Swedish Sports Confederation. He has a great passion for sports and is especially committed to issues related to international sports development. Between 1995 and 2015 Stefan Bergh was involved in the International University Sports Federation, FISU, where he fulfilled the positions of FISU Assessor and Vice-President. His input and advices, most specifically in the fields of development and strategic review, contributed to establishing the federations basis and its relations with its national and continental members.

Didier Besseyre
European Federation for Company Sport (EFCS), President
Didier Besseyre is the President of the European Federation for Company Sport (EFCS) as well as the World Federation for Company Sport (WFCS) and the French Federation for Company Sport (FFSE). At national level, he is also general secretary of French National Bank Sport Association and collaborates as an expert to commissions related to company sport throughout French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) or French Ministry of Sport. 
EFCS is a voluntary non-profit organization, grouping European federations for company sport. Created in 1962, EFCS totals today 40 member countries from all over Europe. Major activities are about organization of sport events, conferences, workshops as well as representing the field of company sport at EU Level. The most important event of EFCS is European Company Sport Games with 6000 to 7000 participants. 
EFCS is one of the partners of the European Week of Sport and is involved in several EU co-funded projects.
Alexander Bielefeld
Manager, Strategic Communications & Policy, Burson-Marsteller Sport

Alexander is a Manager at Burson-Marsteller Sport. He is a strategic communications consultant in the field of sport. He advises major sport stakeholders, athletes and international organisations regarding sport policy, corporate communications, crisis issues, and the internationalisation of sport. Alexander has particular experience in advising in relation to football related matters. He is also leading the thought leadership publication ‘Planet Football’ in collaboration with the WPP Sports Practice and speaks or moderates at conferences. Alexander holds degrees from the College of Europe, the University of Brighton, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a candidate of the Executive Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO IV) and supports the sport programme of the Peres Center for Peace in Tel-Aviv as a volunteer.

Philippe Boone
Volleyball Leagues Association, President
Philippe Boone was elected in May 2016 President of the Belgian Volleyball League. He was elected President of the Volleyball Leagues Association (VLA) in September 2017 by 5 Professional Volleyball Leagues which founded the association. The Members are actually Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Greece.
The VLA takes common statements about professional club volleyball in economic and legal matters. It aims also to stimulate sharing expertise among its members and to represent the interests of professional volleyball with regard to international calendars and participation of players in the national team competitions.
Philippe was Secretary General in Schoolsport and head of the promotion department of the Belgian Olympic Committee. In 1990, he started an international career as consultant in sports marketing, working for Governments, Federations and Sponsors.
Menno Bischops
Chief Technology Officer, Software Engineer

Menno is a graduated Software Engineer from Fontys Hogescholen Eindhoven and the CTO of VRee located in Eindhoven, the Brainport region in the Netherlands. While attending his minor VR he developed the original proof of concept for the award winning VR Archery project. After receiving a seed investment round from Lumo Labs and Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij, VRee was founded and the "VRee platform" was developed. The platform facilitates the development of muli-play full body VR applications for various industries, including sports training and simulation applications. "PLAY" with your friends in full body VR, "WATCH" from your phone, tablet or smart device, "INTERACT" with the application from any place in the world. For additional information feel free to contact:

David Eades
BBC World News TV, Presenter
David Eades has been a mainstream anchor on BBC World for 15 years, covering many of the biggest stories of a generation. Prior to his presentational career, David was a correspondent for the BBC, covering Europe, Ireland and the peace process, and Sports News.
He has reported from FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games, and many other events. He has also broken stories on financial irregularities in sport, doping cases and other scandals. 
David has interviewed Presidents and Prime Ministers, senior industrialists, as well as leaders of the sporting and entertainment world.
David also plays an active role in environmental issues, and has moderated at many conferences on issues such as climate change and sustainability.
He is a fluent French and German speaker, and keen golfer and cyclist. 
Yordanka Fandakova
Mayor of Sofia

She is a Bulgarian politician and Mayor of Sofia. She is the first woman to hold this position. 
She was elected 2009. Between 2007 to 2009 she was Deputy Mayor of Sofia for “Culture, Education and Sports”. She started the municipal programs “Culture” and “Europe”, in which to date in more than 700 projects over 3 million Euros have been invested. In 2009, she was also elected Member of Parliament and appointed national Minister of Education. She graduated in Russian Philology at Sofia University. She started her career as a teacher in 1988. Before going into politics, she became principal at her school and held the post for seven years until 2005. During her mandate, she worked in support to Sofia's cultural heritage, implemented reforms covering municipal theaters and participated in the development of the long-term strategy for cultural development “Sofia-creative capital” (2013-2023).

Bengt Fjeldbraaten
Lilllehammer, Health- and Global Active City coordinator
20/03/2018 - 11:30

Bengt is working in Lillehammer municipality as an Health- and Global Active City coordinator. Have a master degree in Helath promotion. After the youth Olympic games 2016 in Lillehammer he has been working with the project Global Active City. This project was started by TAFISA and Evaleo, and supported by IOC.

Laura Flessel
Ministre des sports, France

Laura Flessel is the Minister of Sports in the French Government of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, under the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron. Born November 6, 1971 in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), she is a five-time Olympic gold medalist, (in both the individual and team events), and a six-time world champion in fencing. She carried France’s flag during the Opening Ceremonies at the London Olympics in 2012. Although retired, she's remained close to athletics. She is a member of the Paris 2024 Olympic bid committee and the godmother of the Paris 2018 Gay Games. Flessel was also the Committee Chair on anti-discrimination in sports, and served on the National Sport Council, and, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. Over the years she has been active with numerous organizations (Handicap International, the Women's Foundation Committee, and the National Union of Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes).

David Frommer
Senior Strategic Advisor, ECA

David joined ECA in 2008 and currently acts as Senior Strategic Advisor. He is responsible for supporting the Executive Board in its strategic approach in driving the work of ECA. This includes looking at the mid and long term needs of ECA and how it positions itself in the complex and fast evolving international football governance stakeholder environment. David is also responsible for managing ECA’s approach to Public Affairs and ECA’s Institutional Relations Working Group. Previously, David was Head of Public Affairs at G-14 (2004-2008) and Account Manager at Hill & Knowlton (2001-2004). David holds a BA in Politics with Economics (University of London) and an MSc in International and European Politics (University of Edinburgh). In 2014 he completed the Executive Masters in the Governance of Sport (MESGO). He was elected President of the MESGO Alumni in 2015. David regularly participates in speaking engagements throughout the world.

Steve Haake
Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Director

Professor Steve Haake is the Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University. A £14 m project funded by the Department of Health, its aim is to create innovations that help people move. Steve was the founder of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research, the International Sports Engineering Association, the journal Sports Engineering and has edited 9 books and contributed to over 180 journal and conference papers. He is a member of the Technical Commission of the International Tennis Federation advising on the effect of equipment design on the rules of tennis, and has been a consultant to Adidas, Callaway and Kensington TV. The aim of the AWRC is to transfer the skills and expertise from sports engineering into physical activity and health; this will be used to create jobs, GDP and ultimately improve quality of life.

Antonia Hagemann
SD Europe, CEO

Antonia is CEO of SD Europe, a non-profit organisation which meets the need for meaningful supporter involvement in the running of football clubs. Active in 38 countries, SD Europe represents grassroots and national supporters organisations, as well as amateur and professional member-run football clubs. SD Europe also supports the implementation of the supporter liaison officer (SLO) licensing requirement on behalf of Uefa. 
In addition to working with and bringing together football activists, football authorities, EU institutions and other stakeholders, Antonia has led a number of EU-funded projects for the organisation, with the overarching goal of improving governance standards in football by involving supporters in decision-making processes. 
Currently the organisation is managing its second Erasmus+ project, which is a collaboration between supporters organisations, football associations, leagues and other relevant football authorities from eight EU member states

Folker Hellmund
EOC EU Office, Director

In January 2009, Folker Hellmund became Director of the EOC EU Office. He is on secondment from the German Olympic Sport Confederation (DOSB) and is the former Chair of the EU Office of German Sports (October 2007 - December 2008). Further activities as lecturer :
Since 2010: Sport University of Cologne.
Since 2011: Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO)
From 1992 to 2007, Folker acquired profound knowledge of European affairs by acting as Deputy Head of the Common Representation of the German States of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein in Brussels.
Folker was born in Nienburg-Weser, Germany, in 1961. He holds a degree in Political Science at the Georg-August University in Göttingen.
He is a sports enthusiast and he previously played football at competition level. He is married and has two children.

Christoph Holstein
Ministry of the Interior and Sports, State Secretary of Sports
20/03/2018 - 11:30

Born Nov. 1963

  • 1993-1998 Journalist, Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag
  • 1998- 2001 Spokesperson; Ministry of Interior and Sports
  • 2001- 2004 Spokesperson, Social Democratic Party (SPD), Hamburg
  • 2004- 2011 Spokesperson, SPD-Bürgerschaftsfraktion (regional parliament), Hamburg
  • 2011- 2015 Spokesperson; Senat of the Free an Hanseatic City of Hamburg; and Head of Mediadepartment
  • Since April 17th 2015 State Secretary of Sports; Ministry of the Interior and Sports; Hamburg
Alexandre Husting
Attaché Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the EU

Attaché Education-Youth-Culture and Sport Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union and advisor EU and International Affairs to the Ministry of Sport.  Lecturer University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and  Rouen (France). Former advisor for development at International University Sport Federation - (FISU). Author of books and articles mainly about the impact of EU law and policies on sport organisation.

Gerd Kanter
Chair of the Athlete Commission of the European Olympic Committees
20/03/2018 - 11:15

Gerd Kanter is an olympic medalist in discus throw. He has a degree in business management from Tallinn University of Technology. He was the gold medalist in the 2005 Summer Universiade. He won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He has won multiple medals at the World Championships in Athletics and became the world champion in 2007. In addition to, he has written a book “Everything is possible". As of 2016 he is the Chair of the Estonian Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission and the member of the Executive board.

Jim Ibister
Minnesota Wild Hockey Club, Vice President Facility Administration

As Vice President of Facility Administration for the Minnesota Wild and General Manager of the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Jim Ibister is responsible for overall operations and campus-wide Information Technology for the Minnesota Wild. A resourceful and innovative leader, Jim has guided massive projects like the Xcel Energy Center’s total technology renovation, which included its new center-hung scoreboard and will soon feature an innovative video and digital content distribution system. Under his guidance, Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre transformed its operations to become an award-winning, internationally-recognized model of sustainability. He’s passionate about creating a better experience than anywhere else, and the results are evident in client satisfaction surveys, incredible retention rates and Xcel Energy Center’s consistent rating as one of the best stadium experiences in sports and entertainment.

Mogens Kirkeby
International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA), President

President of the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) since 2007. ISCA consists of 240 member organisations from 88 countries. ISCA’s mission is to empower organisations worldwide to enable citizens to the enjoy their Human Right to MOVE. Member of the Council of Europe’s consultative committee of the sport collaboration EPAS. Recently invited as expert to advice the ministry of culture and sport, and the sports movement in Georgia on the development of grassroots sport and sport participation. Member of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Board member of the Danish sport for all organisation DGI and the Danish Outdoor Council. Holds a master of Science in Sport, organizational development and sport policies. Additionally exam. art. in social sciences and international politics from Copenhagen University, Denmark.

Krasen Kralev
Minister of Youth and Sports of Bulgaria, WADA Foundation Board Member

Krasen Kralev has graduated the First English Language School and the Medical University in Varna. In 1990 he specialised Management of Political Campaigns at the University of South Carolina (USA). Mr. Kralev is a former national long and middle distance athlete (1983-1987), national record holder of 20 000 m for juniors and a bronze medallist of the Balkan Cross (1986, 1987). He was President of ‘Cherno more’ Football Club (1998-2001, 2003-2007). He was President of the Futsal Commission to the Bulgarian Football (2010-2014). Mr. Kralev is a renowned expert in the field of public communications and founder of major companies for integrated marketing communications and internet media. He served as a Minister of Youth and Sports from November 2014 till January 2017 and entered into second term of office in May 2017. On the 30 of October 2017 he is appointed as an EU representative to the WADA Foundation Board.

Jean-François Laurent
TAFISA – The Association For International Sport for All, Junior Director

Jean-Francois Laurent is Junior Director at TAFISA headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, where he is responsible for regional and business development, partnerships, as well as coordinating TAFISA’s global programmes and events. He specialises in the promotion and advocacy of Sport for All and physical activity, with special insight on the topics of Active Cities and Traditional Sports and Games. He has been consultant for Sport for All in many countries and invited as a speaker to congresses and seminars worldwide. He is also a founding team member of The Active Well-Being Initiative. Originating from Nancy, France, he graduated in social and political sciences as well as sports management at the Institute of Political Studies of Grenoble and Aix-Marseille University in 2012. He also studied at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Arthur Le Gall
KEA, Senior Consultant
Arthur Le Gall is a senior consultant and researcher at KEA specialised in policies for the sport, audiovisual, cultural and creative sectors. Arthur also delivers strategic advice to local authorities on the role of sport, culture and creative industries for local and regional development, and supports the development of the ‘Sport Action Network’ for the European Commission
He authored or co-authored several research pieces in those fields, including ‘Mapping the creative value chains: A study on the economy of culture in the digital age’ (DG EAC, 2017), a study on change drivers and economic and legal implications of transfers of players (DG EAC, 2018). 
Arthur is now managing key EU projects, one looking into culture investment and strategic initiatives in 150 cities and regions across Europe (“Culture for cities and regions”, 2014-2017), as well as another on developing an international platform for 2500 young creative entrepreneurs (“Creative Tracks”, 2015-2017).
Yves Le Lostecque
Head of the Sport Unit, European Commission

Yves Le Lostecque is currently Head of the Sport Unit in the European Commission. He studied public, international and EU law at the University of Rennes. He started his career in the French national Ministry responsible for Youth and Sport. He joined the Commission in 1993, where he worked as a lawyer in DG Internal market. He was then responsible for inter-institutional issues in DG Education and Culture and served as the assistant of two directors general, Odile Quintin and Jan Truszczyński. He also spent two years as a member of the cabinet of the Romanian Commissioner, Leonard Orban.


Sigrid Ligné
UNESDA – Soft Drinks Europe, Director General

Sigrid Ligné was elected in May 2013 Director General of UNESDA  which  is the Brussels based trade association representing the European soft drinks industry. The association was established in 1958 and its membership includes both companies and national associations from right across the EU and beyond. UNESDA is a founding member of the EU platform for action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health  -  Sigrid started her career at the Legal Service of the Council of the EU and the European Commission. She then moved to consultancy and has been responsible over the last 17 years for several Brussels-based and pan-European lobbying and communications campaigns, working for a wide range of corporations and trade associations. In 2001, she became Managing Director of EuroRSCG’s European Affairs agency in Brussels. In March 2007 she was appointed Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association. She is a dual Swedish-French national.

Tobias Maass
Antitrust Policy and Case Coordinator

Tobias P. Maass is working since 2008 in the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission in Brussels, currently in the Antitrust case support and policy unit. His current focus is – among others - on competition law issues in the context of intellectual property rights as well as sport. Prior to working for the European Commission, he was working at the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg and for two international law firms. Tobias graduated in Law from Heidelberg University in 2001, holds a Master from the University of Chicago, USA and a PhD from the University of Hamburg. He was admitted as a lawyer at the bar in Hamburg, Germany and New York, USA.

Mia Maes
Director of Sports in Kortrijk

Mia Maes is Director of Sports in Kortrijk, a central city in Flanders, Belgium. Kortrijk has been granted the award of European City of Sport in 2018. Besides her active membership and contribution to the regional city-council in Flanders, she is the appointed secretary of Sportplus. Sportplus is a non-profit organization that promotes accessibility of sports and encourages local citizens to actively participate in sports. 
Mia Maes has a seat in the day-to-day management of the Flemish Sports Council. She obtained her master’s degree in physical education at the Catholic University of Leuven and has been specializing in Sport Policy and Sport Management.
The focus and mission of Mia Maes is to support local sport associations but particularly to further develop strategies that get people to move more and better. These strategies range from innovative movement projects to designing a move-friendly city.

Nikoleta Madanska
Sports Anchor & Reporter at bTV Media Group

Nikoleta Madanska is a graduate student in Electronic Media at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (Master's Thesis pending). She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (2007). She completed her primary and secondary education at the Italian Lyceum of Sofia (2003). Nikoleta has been a sports anchor and reporter at bTV Media Group since 2015. She has been working as a sports journalist in various Bulgarian TV stations since 2005. She speaks Bulgarian, Italian and English.

Alexandre Mestre
Sports Lawyer and Lecturer of Sports Law

Mr. Alexandre Miguel Mestre is a Sports Lawyer (since 2003) based in Lisbon. He holds a PhD on European Sports Law (2015) and is a Lecturer of Sports Law issues in Portugal, Spain and Switzerland (since 1998). He has published several books and scientific articles in the fields of Sports Law and Olympism (since 1998). He was Secretary of State for Sport and Youth in Portugal (2011-2012) and also served as member of the Office who prepared the Independent European Sports Review (2006) and of the High-Level Group on Grassroots Sport, within the European Commission (2016). He is member of the Board of Sport & Citizenship (since 2013) and of the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (since 2016).

Tibor Navracsics
European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport

Tibor Navracsics is Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports for the Juncker Commission. Before he was a university professor, Head of the PM's Office, member of the Hungarian Parliament, Deputy PM, Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is responsible for improving the quality and efficiency of the EU education systems. With high youth unemployment and skills mismatch, the modernisation of education in the EU is crucial to meet the challenges of employability and innovation in the digital age. (Other responsibilities: education dimension of Europe 2020 Strategy, implementation of Erasmus +, EU's Youth, Sports and Culture policies.

Lilla Nedeczky
National Youth Council of Hungary, Vice-President

Lilla Nedeczky was born and raised in Hungary. She has a degree in International Business Relations and in Marketing Communication from International Business School, Budapest. From January 2018 she is the vice-president of the National Youth Council of Hungary, the umbrella organization for youth organizations operating in Hungary, aiming to improve domestic youth policy. Since 2014 she is the president of the Hope for Children Hungary in charge of managing the Education Through Sport Division. Besides, she is the Hungarian National Campaign Coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement campaign run by the Council of Europe. Her addiction to sport as a former amateur aerobic gymnast made her to become a Youth Fitness Instructor in 2012 at the International Wellness Institute then in 2015 she was qualified as a judge in aerobic gymnastics by the International Gymnastic Federation.

Niels Nygaard
European Olympic Committee, Vice President

Born 1953. 
Vice President of the European Olympic Committee since November 2017. 
President of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark since 2007. 
Member of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark since 1992.
President of the Danish Athletics Federation 1986-1992. 

Jens Nymand Christensen
European Commission, Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Deputy Director-General

Jens Nymand Christensen is the Deputy Director-General for Education and Culture in the European Commission. He is Danish and holds a Master degree in Business Economics and International Economics. Jens Nymand Christensen has been working for the European Institutions since 1979, including as a Director in the Commission's Secretariat-General from 2003 to 2014, and previously as Member of Cabinet of Vice-President Henning Christophersen and Head of Unit for International Food, Veterinary and Phytosanitary questions. He has also headed the European Commission Representation in Denmark and was an Advisor at the Danish Permanent Representation to the EU dealing with the Convention on the future of Europe and the preparations of the Inter-governmental Conference drafting a Constitutional Treaty for the European Union.

Omar Ongaro
FIFA, Football Regulatory Director
Omar Ongaro is the Football Regulatory Director of FIFA. A graduate of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he joined FIFA in March 2000. He was actively involved in the proceedings leading to FIFA’s recognition of the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was subsequently in charge within the Players’ Status Department of supervising and coordinating appeal procedures at CAS involving FIFA.
Since September 2016 he is the Football Regulatory Director within FIFA’s Legal & Integrity Division. He supervises and coordinates the activities of the Players’ Status Department, Professional Football Department, and the TMS Global Transfers & Compliance Department. The area of responsibilities of the various teams ranges, in particular, from managing the dispute resolution system established within FIFA’s structure, engaging relationships with professional football stakeholders and supervising the implementation of the club licensing system, to monitoring the transfer system, notably the players’ registration, through TMS.
Sónia Paixão
Director of the Department of Physical Activity and Sports of the Lisbon City Council
20/03/2018 - 11:30

Since 2014, she is the Director of the Department of Physical Activity and Sports of the Lisbon City Council, and in 2017 she led the city's winning application for European Capital of Sport 2021. Previously, her professional and political path was linked to social intervention, housing, security, education and migration areas both in Lisbon and Loures municipalities. In the scope of the work developed in the areas of Human Rights and promotion of interculturality, within UNESCO Center, she was honoured in 2011 with the Prize for Best Practices in Immigrant Integration by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. She has a degree in Law with a postgraduate degree in Municipal Administration and it is in the public service that she feels both professionally and personally accomplished. She was born in Lisbon in 1977 and is the mother of two children.

Ott Parna
World Sport Volunteers Movement SCULT, Founder and CEO

Dr. Ott Pärna is an economist, entrepreneur and sport activist. He is the founder and leader of World Sport Volunteers Movement, a social enterprise connecting sport event organisers and volunteers internationally. Mr Pärna is also the founder of policy think tank ESTCORP, and he is supporting the Let’s Do It! World Cleanup Foundation as its Advisory Board Member. Mr Pärna is running a popular International Business & Economics-related Radio Show BOOM. Pärna is the former CEO of the Estonian Development Fund, the national ‘innovation lab’ established by the Parliament. He has led the founding teams at SmartCap Venture Capital, Estonian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association EstVCA and Tallinn Science Park TEHNOPOL. Dr. Pärna holds MPhil in Science and Technology Policy Research from University of Sussex and PhD in Economics from University of Tartu. As a global citizen, Ott has lived in the UK, Denmark, Finland and Singapore.

Richard Parrish
Edge Hill University, Professor of Sports Law

Richard Parrish is Professor of Sports Law and Director of the Centre for Sports Law Research at Edge Hill University in the UK. He is also Jean Monnet Chair of EU Sports Law and Policy. He has authored numerous works exploring the relationship between sport and the EU and he has held a number of senior advisory positions including, most recently, being a member of the European Commission’s High Level Group on Sport Diplomacy. Richard is currently leading an Erasmus+ project examining the regulation of football intermediaries in the EU. He is Honorary Chair of the subject association, Sport&EU and he will be hosting the 13thannual Sport&EU conference at Edge Hill University, July 3-4 2018.

Marc Pattinson
inno TSD, Managing Director

Marc Pattinson is Managing Director of the consultancy group inno TSD based in Sophia Antipolis in France which specialises in the preparation of regional development, RDI policy analysis and innovation strategies. 
He is part of the DG GROW-EASME ReConfirm initiative supporting various Industrial Modernisation interregional partnerships such as ClusSport led by the region of Lapland and South Netherlands. He has also worked on numerous S3 strategies where sports and well-being have been promoted as key regional development priorities. He is currently in charge of the animation of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform on behalf of DG GROW-EASME. He has hands on experience working for clusters across Europe in numerous fields and specialises in promoting interregional and international cooperation via clusters. He is also thematic expert for Interreg Europe (research and innovation) as part of the Policy Learning Platform.

Michael Pedersen
M INC. > change the game, Founder

As Founder of M INC. > change the game, Michael Pedersen works independently to help sport organizations develop standards of good governance as a winning strategy for building trust, growth and performance into the future. While also leading a global project that engages professional athletes and fans in the fight against catastrophic climate change, he supports disadvantaged children and youth too in developing their life visions and values with sport as the enabling tool. Among other positions, Michael headed the global corporate governance initiative of the World Economic Forum with more than 175 multinational companies and their CEOs. He was also a Senior Sustainability Advisor with Novozymes, the world's largest producer of enzymes. Michael Pedersen holds three MSc degrees; an MSc in Global Leadership; an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice; and an MSc in International Relations. He is a passionate athlete himself and strives to do sport twice a day.

Laurent Petrynka
International School Sport Federation, President

In 2016, Laurent Petrynka initiated the launching of the VISION2030, which highlights the main challenges that ISF decided to take up. Among other important topics, he is particularly devoted to the increase of education and well-being opportunities for young people through school sport. His involvement for the promotion of skills developpement for the youth has been specifically showcased during the first ISF Erasmus + project in 2017: Volunteering in School Sport. Well established in Europe, he also advocates for the spread of the school sport network with the inclusion of developing and emerging countries while working toward the professionalization of the ISF events. 2018 and 2020 will be important year directly linked to these objectives with the organization of the 1st mega youth sport event in Africa which will be then organized in 2020 in China. In 2017, Mr Petrynka was appointed by IOC President in the Olympic Education Commission

Manuel Pulgar Vidal
Climate & Energy Practice Leader

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal is leader of WWF’s global Climate & Energy Practice. He is the former Minister of the Environment of Peru, and he chaired the UN climate talks through 2014, culminating in the Lima Accord on climate change, which laid the foundations for the 2015 Paris Agreement. He has previously served as Executive Director for the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, President of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense, of AIDA Fund Steering Committee for the Conservation of Watersheds and Water Resources of Lima and Callao, and of AquaFund; as well as President of the Permanent Seminar on Agricultural Research, and as Director of the National Fund for Natural Areas Protected by the State, and PROFONANPE. He was also the Alliance Director, Tropical Andes. He has taught Environmental Law, Natural Resources Management and Mining, Energy and Environment at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

Viktoria Slavkova
European Programmes, Projects & International Cooperation Directorate, Director
Viktoria Slavkova is Director of International Cooperation in Bulgarian Ministry of Youth and Sport. She is also Chair of Working Party on Sport and Deputy Member in WADA FB representing EU. Before that Viktoria was in the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the UN and OSCE in Vienna. In 2013 she worked in the Office of the Bulgarian President. Mrs. Slavkova was Director of External Operations in a group of construction companies. She also has experience as a manager of NGOs involved in regional development and sport. Viktoria started her career in PHARE CBC Implementing Agency in Bulgaria. 
Mrs. Slavkova graduated Diplomatic Academy of Vienna & Vienna University of Technology. She is Master in Finance and has Placement Certificate in Innovation and Business Intelligence from Cherbourg School of Engineering. She is fluent in English, German, Russian and French. 
Viktoria has a bronze medal from the national championship in snowboarding (1998).
Rikke Ronholt Albertsen
Global Goals World Cup by Eir Soccer, CEO and Co-Founder
Ms Ronholt Albertsen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Global Goals World Cup, Which is an innovative football platform, which fuses the engaging power of sport with the meaningfulness of accelerating progress towards the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 
She is the former team captain of Danish National Athletics Team. World Championship/European championship participant in the 400, Hurdles and 800m. U23 European Champion 400m Hurdles 1997. Former Elected member of the Danish’s Athletes Commission and appointed member of the board of the Danish Anti-Doping Agency
Since 2016 she has lead the effort to scale Global Goals World Cup to global reach, organising tournaments in 5 continents. Her key focus is to construct powerful multi-sector partnerships around shared their values of sport and Sustainable Development.
Barbara Spindler-Oswald
Attachée for Sport Affairs, Austria

Barbara Spindler-Oswald is currently Attachée for Sport Affairs at the Permanent Representation of Austria to the European Union. She studied law at the University of Vienna and has a Master Degree in Business Administration of the Danube University Krems. Having completed the Court Internship, she joined a company in London, specialized in sports rights. After her returning to Vienna, she worked for a law firm with emphasis on economic law. In 2003 she joined the Austrian Federal Chancellery, working in the Austrian Federal Press Service and in the sport division.  In 2008 she assumed the position of Secretary General of the Austrian Sports Organization (Österreichischen Bundes-Sportorganisation, BSO). In spring 2017 she re-entered public service, dealing with European and international sport affairs and the sport related matters of the upcoming Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Emma Sykes
UEFA Women’s Football, Development Manager

Emma studied Geography and then Law at the University of Manchester. She worked for the environmental consultancy firm WSP before joining UEFA in 2011. She is currently responsible for the development of women’s football and its participation across UEFA’s member associations. Emma project manages the Women’s Football Development Programme, guaranteed funding for the increased development of women’s football. In addition, she was instrumental in the creation of the TOGETHER#WePlayStrong campaign and UEFA Women in Football Leadership Programme and works to apply good governance at UEFA and member association level.

Michelle Tanner
Trinity College Dublin, Head of Sport & Recreation, Advisor and Consultant ENAS

Michelle Tanner is the Head of Sport and Recreation at Trinity College Dublin and former President of European Network of Academic Sports Services (ENAS). She is now an Advisor and Consultant for ENAS and the third level sport sector. Tanner manages a large portfolio of sports facilities, staff and programmes provided to students, staff, graduates and the public. She is responsible for the implementation of Trinity’s Strategy for Sport ‘Raising Our Game’ and has led on major strategic initiatives within the ENAS network. She is a former Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer of Student Sport Ireland and currently serves on the Finance and Governance committee. Tanner is a former Irish Senior International Volleyball player. She has an MBA in Sports Management and various other qualifications. In a voluntary capacity she is currently the Strategic Advisor to Volleyball Ireland and volunteers with a local community group providing sporting activities for children.

Javier Tebas Medrano
The Spanish Professional Football League, President

Javier Tebas Medrano holds a Law degree from the University of Zaragoza. He founded his firm specialised in Business Law, including sports law and bankruptcy law. He has served as legal advisor to Spanish and foreign clubs and sports entities, and as director of numerous bankruptcy proceedings of companies and sporting institutions. Additionally, he serves on the boards of several national and international associations. Mr Tebas exercises regularly as a speaker and guest lecturer at conferences, courses and seminars in Spain and Latin America, is the author of publications and articles in professional journals and a regular contributor to newspapers, radio and television. He teaches at various masters within the sport and commercial areas. He has been President of the SD Huesca and held various offices and positions in the National Football League, most notably as member of its Executive Committee, first Vice-president and second Vice-president before becoming its President.

Kairis Ulp
Chair of the Working Party on Sport of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2017

Worked as the Chair of the Sports Working Party during the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union at the Ministry of Culture of Estonia in 2017 and being one of the founders of the comprehensive information system of Estonian sports in 2008, Kairis Ulp continues her work as the Manager of the Estonian Sports Register at the Foundation of Sports Education and Information. She started her career as the Secretary General of the Estonian Academic Sports Federation in 1994 and was graduated from the University of Tartu in 1995. From 1998 to 2004 she worked as the Manager of the International Ski Federation Worldloppet and from 2005 to 2006 as the CEO of the SELL Games. Since 1999 she is the member of the Executive Committee of FISU, where has chaired the Winter and Summer Universiade Bid Procedure Working Group 2007-2008 and Winter Universiade Supervision Committee 2007-2015.

Sir Graham Watson
EuropeActive, President
Sir Graham Watson has been President of EuropeActive (the European Health & Fitness Association) since 2015. Born in Scotland in 1956, he served from 1994 to 2014 as a Member of the European Parliament, where he chaired the Justice and Home Affairs Committee (1999-2002) and led the Parliament’s Liberal Group (2002-09). He is now a Member of the European Economic and Social Committee. In 2016-17 he co-chaired the European Commission’s High Level Working Group on Grassroots Sport. His goal, and that of EuropeActive, is to get more people more active more often.
Bogdan Wenta
Member of the European Parliament

Bogdan Wenta is a former handball player and coach. He played in and managed clubs in Poland, Spain and Germany. In 2007 he was honoured with Knight's Cross of Polonia Restituta for his contribution to the development of Polish sport. In 2014, Wenta joined the European Parliament's VIII term as a Polish member of the EPP Group and joined the parliamentary Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Sport. As a former  athlete and coach, Mr Wenta is a Vice-president of the European Parliament Sport Intergroup that gathers MEPs interested in issues connected with physical activity and promotion of a healthy lifestyle, as well as education, corruption, social inequalities or doping. Mr Wenta is currently working on the Parliament’s position concerning the  adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions.

Shu'an Yang
Chinese Olympic Committee, Vice President

YANG Shu’an is the Vice President of both the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. He was the Vice Minister of Sport from 2009 to 2017. Previously he contributed a lot to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games by working as the Executive Vice President of the Organizing Committee from 2004 to 2008. Involving in sport for nearly forty years, he has abundant experience and expertise in competition, training, and mega sports event preparation and organization.

Mounir Zok
Global Expert on Sports Technology & Innovation

Silicon Valley based, born and raised in Beirut, Mounir is a world citizen having lived and worked in UK, Italy, Spain, and USA. Mounir is passionate about sports, technology, innovation & entrepreneurship, is constantly challenging the status quo, and has 15+ years experience in leading sports technology initiatives with the most prominent sports teams in the world. He serves as Director of Technology and Innovation for the US Olympic Committee, and advises and invests in several startups.

Julien Zylberstein
UEFA, Head of EU & Stakeholders Affairs
Julien advises on a wide range of strategic, legal and political issues and holds a successful record of executive accomplishments and technical achievements.  He chairs the social dialogue committee for professional football and administrates the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council. 
Before this, Julien was the legal advisor of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body which oversees the application of the Financial Fair Play initiative.  He has significant expertise in football regulations and commercial matters and has represented UEFA before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 
Julien sits as a judge in the Anti-Doping Tribunal of the UCI.  He is an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration of the European Handball Federation and has been a board member of several French football clubs. 
A graduate from the University of Paris Panthéon – Sorbonne, Julien also studied in Bologna, Rome, Brussels and Science-Po Paris.