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Effective communication, multicultural awareness and language skills represent essential assets to deliver successful tournaments at an international scale.

Marely Flores-Martinez, Women’s Football Tournaments Manager at FIFA, shared her best lessons about organising major women’s football events like World Cups, building a career in event management and relevant skills to succeed in the industry.

Before entering world’s football governing body, Marely accumulated experience at top sports events such as Olympics Games, World Championships and UEFA competitions. A solid trajectory of over ten years of international experience in the field of event management both in women’s and men’s events. Speaking eight languages and being awarded Citizen of the Year in Mexico prove what she is made of, hard work and patience.

Here is a summary of the main lessons from Marely’s insights:

  • Organising a World Cup. Years of work materialise into several weeks of tournament, following a very detailed process to deliver the best result. The biggest challenge lies on the right coordination before and during the competition of many areas like marketing, commercial, TV, hospitality, ticketing and security; as well as making sure stadiums, training sites and hotels meet expectations and budget.
  • Her main responsibility. The readiness of the stadiums is the top priority for Marely, making sure venues are well-prepared for the first match. According to her, a lot of communication and coordination among FIFA, LOC, Federations and working teams are vital for the success of the event. Besides, it is also critical to adapt to the culture of each country, given the amount of dedication and teamwork required.
  • Women’s football tournaments. Some differences in comparison to men’s events are providing exclusive dressing rooms for coaches and following the formal regulation for teams to have at least one women in the medical and coaching team, since recent U20 and U17 tournaments. A new rule to promote more opportunities for inclusion and diversity within team delegations since early stages.
  • The effect on COVID-19. Ahead of competitions in the near future such as the U17 and U20 FIFA Women’s World Cups, Marely explained how the current situation only allows to plan different scenarios and adapt their decision-making day-by-day according to the pandemic. A challenge that affects the whole sports industry and that demands a high capacity of adaptation.
  • Job opportunities and volunteering. Marely identified volunteering as a very valuable way to gain experience, strengthen networking and improve one’s skillset to opt to higher positions in future tournaments. Especially for anyone starting, volunteering can serve as a great platform to increase exposure and to target concrete events following a specific objective in the industry.
  • Languages and books. English, French and Spanish are key languages she recommends to any professional with the aim of finding opportunities in international tournaments. Multicultural awareness and interest in the local country is certainly an added value for any candidate. In regards to book recommendations, Marely talked about The Alchemist, Coaching for Success and The Gifts of Imperfection.

Certainly, an exciting field within the football business worth exploring as the pandemic and technology will redefine the way fans experience football and interact with stakeholders like sponsors.

You can watch the full interview with Marely Flores-Martinez here, providing a behind-the-scenes view about the elite of event management in women’s football:

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