Friday, February 24, 2017

Soccer and Fintech 1: A contribution to the financing of youth sport (1. the context) Dr. Gilles Klein,24 March 2017

Soccer and Fintech 1: A contribution to the financing of youth sport (1. the context)
Dr. Gilles Klein 


This blog lets us put seemingly remote universes in touch. Clearly, soccer has something to do with finance. Soccer is a booming sector in the sports economy. But how could financial technologies assist with the financing of soccer, or moreover youth sport? In two episodes, I would like to explain our thinking and our process. The first builds upon the case of three Cameroonian soccer players, thus explaining the context. However, let us start with the economy of soccer.


Soccer is a market with an estimated turnover of 400 billion worldwide. British soccer, as early as the 1880s, sought to develop a real national, then international, business. A market in which the revenues increase just like the expenses, currently flirting with foolishness when compared to the salaries of most of the spectators in Europe. What can we say about Africa, the spectator of F.C. Barcelona with Messi and the African players at the African cup of Nations?


Since 1880, the nature and amount of revenues have changed. At the outset, the sales at the turnstiles financed the adoption of professionalism and the construction of large stadiums.  Since the 1960s, the advertising industry has taken possession of the stadiums. A sector that continued to grow via the broadcast of the matches and the radio and television rights, first of the European cup matches, then national championships, at the beginning of the 1980s. Currently, related products and merchandising represent significant benefits as well.

The nature and amount of the expenses have changed as well. Low for a long time, the players’ salaries increased with the appearance of contracts during the 1970s, leading to the huge salaries of Messi or Ronaldo. Players’ transfers are the subject of bidding contests. The salaries of great coaches, such as Mourinho, Ferguson or Ancelotti, follow the same process. Let us note the development of facilities, the large stadiums becoming the effigy of the major multinational companies.


African soccer takes place in this market. The African cup of Nations is a much-awaited encounter. On 5th February at the “Amitié” stadium in Libreville-Gabon, Cameroon wins its fifth cup beating Egypt. Cameroon sometimes called “Africa in miniature” takes revenge. Defeated in 1984 and 2005 by Egypt in the final of that event, the Indomitable Lions defeat the Pharaohs. In the stands, Roger Milla, the man of the 1990 World cup in Italy and Samuel Eto’o, best number nine in the history of F.C. Barcelona, express their joy.


After the first half under pressure, the Indomitable Lions equal in the fifty-ninth minute. Two minutes before the end of the match, Vincent Aboubacar, our first Cameroonian player, frees his team, his supporters and his country. Coming in at half time, he offers the cup to Cameroon fifteen years after its last taste of continental glory. If Benjamin Moukanjo has been the man of the match, Aboubacar is the very symbol of the Lions. Thanks to his power in attack, he challenged the Egyptian defense which is close to breaking point, until this liberation. The team’s liberation was also the player’s liberation. Five times on the substitutes’ bench during the six qualifying matches, he becomes a decisive provider in the semi-final and liberator in the final.


For Vincent Aboubacar, this 88th minute is also the founding of a career. Sixth of seven children, he was spotted in the Coton sports club of Garoua, the main city of the northern region of Cameroon. While continuing his education, he begins a junior soccer player’s career. Very soon, he chooses to join the elite and becomes best goal scorer of his championship. Eighteen years old, he is a member of the national selection for the 2010 World cup. The press sees him as Samuel Eto’o’s successor. His capabilities allow him to have access to a national European championship. He is recruited by the first league club of Valenciennes – France, where he plays for five years, then Lorient-France for two years. He pursues his career within other European championships: F.C. Porto – Portugal, then BJK Besiktas - Turkey


Yannick Abega Onana Ezembe, our second Cameroonian player, has been less lucky. The newspaper Le Monde[1] reported his experiences, which I summarize thus. The hard work starts in Spring 2006. A cousin of his father places him in the hands of a Spanish agent, who has come to recruit players. “We were almost 500” he remembers. Extremely pleased, he travels to another tournament. After his return, he discovers the contract signed by his parents, the agent and his cousin.

Dear cousin

This one becomes his legal guardian. Her work? To select young people and put them in touch with agents. The tandem cousin-agent proposes to him a list of prestigious clubs, such as Real Madrid. He goes there, but the travel remains the responsibility of the family. Thirteen years old, it is the first trip in a long series. He spends three seasons at Real Majorque. He is welcomed by a foster family and enrolled in school, but without receiving any money. Under pressure from the family and club, the agent gives forty Euros to him… over two months. He set out then for Barcelona, Manchester, Almeria. He is still in an uncertain legal position: “I was often faced with an irregular situation”. He doesn’t know quite if the semblance of a contract was ever signed with a club.


Yannick, running away from his agent, ends up in Paris on a platform of Austerlitz station. He meets Jean-Claude Mbvoumin. This one is the third Cameroonian player of our episode. At the end of his career in 2000, he founds the “Foot solidaire” association that raises awareness and works to protect young players and fight against the trade in minor football players. He helps his young fellow citizen, then directs him to childhood social assistance. The Abega case that joins numerous others, leads the « Foot solidaire » association to lodge a complaint at FIFA for child trafficking, abuse, exploitation, fraud against the parents”.


From the Abega’s case, the economist Wladimir Andreff undertakes an analysis of the international mobility of African soccer players, particularly minors. He proposes taxing the international transfers from developing countries in such a way as to reduce the number of cases, similar to that of young Abega. The “Coubertobin” tax on the transfers of young Africans to the European clubs aims to limit “muscles exodus” from South to North and finance the development of the country of origin. Could a tax on the transfers finance African sport? It is a constructive proposal that could be extended to other financial transactions. We will analyze these solutions in the next episode of Soccer and Fintech.

Next: March 3, 2017 – Soccer and Fintech: a contribution to the financing of youth sport (2. the solutions).

[1] Newspaper Le Monde 2009,
Newpaper Le Monde 2012,

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ready to start up!: design and dissemination of the « Sport & development » program

Ready to start up!: design and dissemination of the « Sport & development » program

Dr. Gilles Klein

World Sports Alliance

The fourth blog article finished thus: “to maintain the relationships with the world of sport in our member states, our organization shall largely disseminate the tools already designed relating to the contribution of sport to Sustainable Development Goals”. After having recapped on the mission entrusted to our organization by the international civil society, I would like to now report on the work being carried out on the relationship between sport and those objectives targeted by the United Nations, as well as to announce the dissemination of tools.

Return to the sources

First, what has sports to do with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), previously Millennium Development Goals, which called upon 193 countries of our planet on the horizon towards 2030? For us, all began in Rabat, Morocco in 2007. But before, let’s come back to the context of our initiative. 2000: at the United Nations, the heads of states validate the Millennium declaration. 2001: they record the MDDs. 2002: the Secretary-General requests a work team on sports at the service of development and peace. 2003: that team delivers its report. 2006: in sports as in other sectors, the international civil society considers that the results do not match the ambitions posted.


The latter called on the trainers in the different professional areas to show how they could meet the objectives and make them accessible to the world's youth. It wishes to create centers of excellence in support of MDGs. 2007: the Intergovernmental organization World Sports Alliance is created to educate young people and train their staff to MDGs through sport.


The establishment of our organization will lead to the so-called Rabat Declaration. That declaration was introduced in Geneva at the substantive session of 2007 by the late Mrs. Zoulikha Nasri, President of the Foundation Mohamed V for solidarity, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. This session took place within the Annual ministerial review: strengthening efforts
 to eradicate poverty and hunger, including through the global partnership for development.
Centre of excellence

The declaration announces the establishment of the world centre of excellence in physical education, sport, and MDGs in those terms: “Encourage other countries in Africa, Latin America and throughout the world to create their MDG centres of excellence and to join WSA in order to create WSA community and sports centres locally and encourage WSA to contribute actively, together with IAESCSI and UN-NGO-IRENE, to the creation of the world MDG centre of excellence in Geneva, in July 2007, so that our national and regional centres of excellence can benefit from its work, expertise and validation of MDG training programmes”.

Ready to start-up!

Once the world center of excellence dedicated to sport is created, original documents are required to show the relationship between sport and MDGs, now SDGs. 2008: programs are created, authors contacted; databases recorded; first books written and edited.

Sport & development

To provide the trainers of the member states of our organization with all the necessary equipment, four specific programs are developed as part of a generic program called “Sport & development”.


This program collects the training requests from the executives of Ministries of Youth and Sports and training teams of institutes or faculties on Youth and Sport policies issues and education in the MDGs through sport. It meets these requests through training offers within the Member States.

Sport education

The ”Sports, Education & Development” program deals with sports education for teachers, students and youth using two collections. The ”EPS en poche” collection studies teaching by abilities in sports activities.

Sport and SDGs

The ”Sport – MDGs” collection, published by « Les Editions Education physique et sport – Paris » at the request of the WCEPESL-MDGs, studies the educational contribution of sports activities to the MDGs. A ”Football & MDGs” book has already been edited. Other books are in preparation.


The ”Sport, Sciences & Development” program addresses the scientific approaches of sport to the MDGs. Published by « Les Editions Education physique et sport – Paris », at the request of the WCEPESL-MDGs, the program promotes the scientific, instructional and educational knowledge already published in an ensemble of theme files for the teachers and students. The “Sport & Health“, “Sport & Education“, “Sport & Social Cohesion“, “Sport & Gender”, “Sport & Environment”, “Sport, Partnership & Development“ books are available.


The “Sports Societies and Development” program deals with youth, sports and MDG news in the WSA member States’ national context. The books collection, published by « Les Editions Education physique et sport – Paris » at the request of the WCEPESL-MDGs, studies the policies of and good practices in youth, physical education and sport in connection with the SDGs in a national context.


These programs and the books featuring them are ready to be sent to the faculties and national institutes of sports in the World Sports Alliance’s member states. But, all these materials have been produced during the 2000’s, in compliance with the web 1.0 and 2.0. As I mentioned in the last article, we need to anticipate the future. Indeed, as in every sector of education and training, sport is subject to fast changes within the communication technologies. Evolution is changing the processes of training regulation.

Next: Article 7 – Soccer and Fintech: a contribution to the financing of youth sport.

Friday, February 10, 2017

From 1.0 to 4.0: information technologies, indispensable tools in the future of training in sport

From 1.0 to 4.0: information technologies, indispensable tools in the future of training in sport

Dr. Gilles Klein
World Sports Alliance

The previous article suggested that sport could allow African youth to remain in their home country. It might even be a way to employment.  To make this dream into reality, it might be necessary for a large amount of water to move across the Inga dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


The economists of sport have demonstrated it. In a country, sport is intertwined with economic development. Our organization did not want to wait for a significant GDP growth in the developing countries to find funding mechanisms for sport. We have bet on aligning the development of sport in these countries with sectorial projects of economic development.


However, to make sport a hope of employment in the country, there is still a long way to go. Our initiatives ought to be numerous and successful. Let us judge it!: to contribute to the economic development of the country, to participate in financing sport, to build sport infrastructures, to reduce the number of unemployed graduates in sport, to collaborate in students’ training, to seek diversification of jobs in sport, to take part in youth education through sport. Let us be optimistic! Let us assume the short-term achievement of the projects already negotiated with several governments. That is why I would like to address deeper the issue of sport employment in the member states of our organization.


In March 2015, I was invited to give a conference on the relationship between training supply and labour market in the sport area. I used the work that we have carried out on this issue in thirty two European countries, associating nearly a hundred universities and training institutes, and dozens of professional sport organizations. From this study, I drew several perspectives of sport employment in the context of th eArab world.


In my speech, I considered that the unemployment phenomenon and under employment of graduates in sport Higher education was a real societal problem: qualitative and quantitative mismatch between supply and demand, more specifically between the training offered by North African universities and the sport labour market. In the Maghreb, more largely in Africa, training in sport is too closely modelled on the European style Bachelor – Master – Doctorate. In my view, it is one of the major causes for the crisis in sport employment in Africa.


In Africa, the students which are registered in the sport area remain too much dependent on the general training which leads them to salaried careers, thanks to hiring by state institutions. States, which are still often registered into structural adjustment programs of the international financial institutions and, more than ever, are encouraged to reduce the reliance on public expenses. It is therefore preferable to encourage students to take up technical training that prepares for entrepreneurial activities. To offer professional opportunities to young people, sport training in Africa needs to be adapted in three ways.


Regarding European training we have shown the need to undertake a qualitative adaptation in training for the labor market. Fifteen standard occupations from the most widespread professional areas in sport training – coaching, physical education health and fitness, management –were subject to an in-depth analysis. Each standard occupation corresponds to a skill profile adapted to the labor market, from which initial and continuous training are conceived. Certainly, Africa and Europe are not comparable. Sport, health and fitness are often a middle-class concern. A class which is only just beginning to emerge in Africa but, the reflection on training does not provide any jobs in the short-term.


Therefore, it seems to me preferableto better adjust training to the flows of jobs, already created or that will be created. The result is to advise students on technical training which prepares them for entrepreunarial activities in sport. It may be a pathway leading to jobs in the short and medium terms. That is the point of view of the Conference of French speaking ministers of youth and sport (CONFEJES) which argues for brief training within the institutes of youth and sport.


The convention signed between our two organizations should be reactivated at the earliest opportunity to help CONFEJES to intervene in the states, notably African ones, to create jobs in sport. Everything is done in advance! We think about the books collections dedicated to jobs in sport, for youth, youth work, or the guide dedicated tothe micro-enterprises creation, etc. If we successfully build sport infrastructures, sporting African youth will find jobs adjusted to these profiles.

B. Gates

However, I would like to draw attention to a third type of adaptation which will now be programmed in partnership with the member states of our organization. What is it?

In the near future, 2020-2030, Bill Gates predicts that training will necessarily be digital. The revolution produced by the mass online open courses should shape learning practices. And particularly in the health and fitness area; let’s take the example of the health and fitness area with the considerable potential of micro enterprises, in Africa or elsewhere.

Fitness technologies

The web has changed the relationship between the fitness instructor and his/her patient or customer. Our organization wants to contribute to the evolution of fitness technologies – see the WSA projects above. An evolution which we cansum upin four steps.

Fitness 1.0

The 1990’s, appearance of the Web 1.0, a content proposed by a producer is available on a website visited by internet users. The user is passive and consumes information as it is done in a library. The health and fitness websites disseminate pre-constructed programs for passive users.

Fitness 2.0

Beginning of the 2000s, era of the Web 2.0. The web users are no longer just passive consumers but contribute to the creation of content and to the validation of their value. Development of blogs, forums, wikis and social networks. The health and fitness websites propose exercise databases. The web users create and are evolving their own programs.

Fitness 3.0

The 2010’s - Web 3.0. Development of a semantic web. Devices and individuals are increasingly connected. Smartphones, tablets, watches, sports and activity trackers, sportswear and sports shoes are being connected in a vast ensemble, creating and exchanging data (geo-location, individual tastes, etc.).The health and fitness websites experience problems with this. The creation of platforms and specific apps becomes necessary.

Fitness 4.0

The 2030’s. The Web 4.0. So-called intelligent web. The individual is immersed in an increasingly prevalent environment. It exacerbates the personalization already introduced by Web 3.0. Furthermore, it raises questions related to the protection of Privacy, data control, etc. Decision-makers, program designers, health and fitness professionals should not miss this opportunity of the next twenty years.


To take part in this evolution, we decided to create a platform – Global Coaching Initiative -and apps to better connect supply and demand in the area of health and fitness, more generally in the four professional areas of physical activity. It is the Sport-Pro programm conceived by our inter-governmental organization, the World Sports Alliance. The project announced on our website ( will be launched soon. An initiative in which the role of professionals, training institutes, universities, and associations will be decisive.

Next: 8 February 2017–Ready to start up!: design and dissemination of the « Sport & Development » program.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sport and the floating coffins of the Mediterranean: what jobs for the unemployed graduates of Africa

Sport and the floating coffins of the Mediterranean: what jobs for the unemployed graduates of Africa

Dr. Gilles Klein


My uncle made his fortune with that. He only takes the big open wooden fishing boats. The tariff is 2500€ for the crossing. For me, it costs 1500…”. In Europe, every day, the press reports exile leading young women and men, but also families, to cross the Mediterranean, towards what they think to be Eldorado.


The United Nations High Commissioner puts the number of refugees in the world as 25 million. Most of them find refuge in neighboring countries. But aside from the periods of crisis, there are many young people who leave for abroad, looking for opportunities or for a more promising future.


Getting a good education, learning specific skills, finding a job: the developed countries attract the world's youth, notably African. Some have succeeded in the adventure which continues to flourish in Dakar, Cotonou, Bamako or Sfax, the dream for young Africans to reach the Holy Grail. However, once across the Mediterranean, they survive in a tent, in the best case in a home for refugees. For a migrant, finding a job is far from easy.

We are all spectators to these dramas. Personally, sensitive to the situation of African youth, the Dramane Haïdara’s comments resonate in me. In 2014, this specialist of the strategies of employment development at the Dakar office of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned as following: “« The world settled into an unprecedented employment crisis. Sub-Saharan Africa is still the region of the world most severely affected by that crisis: world-wide financial crisis, demographic explosion, lack of vision from governments, corruption, management models inherited from the times of structural adjustment programs. Youth is the most exposed. "


Unemployment is now seriously affecting African youth. According to Dramane Haïdara, of the 75 million unemployed young people in 2013, 38 million of them are living in Africa. In a region of the world which has 200 million inhabitants aged 18-24, that means 40% of the active population. From the OIT analyst’s point of view, it is a “lost generation”. Indeed, 40% of those joining rebel and terrorist movements could be motivated by lack of employment. This unoccupied youth is “a time bomb”.
Young people
Anybody wanting to work with and for youth in the developing countries, mainly in Africa, must know the nature of the challenges waiting for them. Young people have often been left to cope by themselves and without a perspective on employment. It is the main weakness of North Africa with 30% of young people unemployed – 41% for the young women. Tunisia lost until 30.000 jobs per month after Ben Ali’s downfall.

Sub-Saharan Africa

The situation is also worrying in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where 60% of all unemployed are young people. Every year, some 10 to 12 million young people come on to the labour market. The countries emerging from wars or political turbulence are the most affected: 50% of young people are unemployed in Sierra Leone; in Liberia, the issue of social inclusion of young former soldiers. In the countries, which are unscathed by war or disasters, unemployment threatens social cohesion: 31,7% unemployed young people in Ghana; between 20 and 25% in Burkina Faso, Benin and Senegal.

Unemployed graduates

In Burkina Faso, at a recruitment session of public service, 350.000 candidates competed for 7000 jobs. Between 1999 and 2009, the number of unemployed graduates in North and sub-Saharan Africa increased more than threefold, from 1,6 million to 4,9 million. There will be 9,6 million in 2020, 13 million in 2030. Some pathways are congested, such as social sciences. However, some areas are being abandoned such as technical training. There is huge waste as a result, many graduates not finding any job in their country.
Training challenged

The situation in the Arab world allows a better understanding. A quantitative development of higher education has been achieved to the detriment of the quality of the human capital and the relevance to the labour market. In Tunisia in the 2010’s, the sacrifice of Mohamed Bouazizi’s is symbolic. For a long time, media reported, the going on elsewhere in the Arab world, of the protest movements of unemployed graduates, waiting for professional inclusion.
And sport ?

Recently, I have been in Tunisia, for the conference on investment TUNISIA 2020. The unemployment rate of higher education graduates has reached 32%. The sector of sport is severely affected: 5.807 graduates from this pathway are currently waiting for a job. The labour market in the sector of sport education and coaching is saturated. The ministry of youth and sports will offer only 300 jobs per year. As Fredj Bouslama highlights: “young people who obtain their bachelor degree in 2016 will be employed only in… 2038”. Thus, 900 young graduates, trained within the four institutes of physical education and sport, join the cohort of unemployed graduates.


Tunisia is a member state of our organization. We have several projects currently under negotiation with the Tunisian authorities: installation of a sports centre with a strong African vocation. It would host an academy of sport dedicated to young people from the member states of our organization, a sports and prevention through sport clinic, sports facilities able to host major sports events. An economic partnership could support the construction of several regional and local sports centres in the regions, in Kasserine, Gafsa or Sidi-Bouzid

These building programs of sports infrastructures in our member states at national, regional and local levels are ambitious: they will generate jobs for physical education teachers, coaches, health and fitness instructors and managers of sports. The launching of investments in 2017 will undoubtedly allow significant progress in that area. But, to maintain the relationships with the world of sport in our member states, our organization shall largely disseminate the tools already designed relating to the contribution of sport to Sustainable Development Goals.

Next: From 1.0 to 4.0: the information technologies, indispensable tools to the future of training in sport.