Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

Milestone Event: Celebrating Football for All - Finding a Joint Way Forward for the Development of European Football

March 22, 2023 marked a key milestone for the Center for Sports & Business as we hosted the event Celebrating Football for All - Finding a Joint Way Forward for the Development of European Football. Prominent speakers featured in the event included Lars-Christer Olsson (Honorary President European Leagues and Swedish Professional League), Lena Gustafson Wiberg (SLO, Djurgården Football), Karl-Erik Nilsson (Vice Chair UEFA and Chair of the Swedish Football Association), and Jonas Eriksson (Investor and Former FIFA Referee). The highlight of the event was the delivery of the final summary by the LaLiga President Javier Tebas, who traveled to Scandinavia for the first time to join us during this event.

Football drives emotions unlike any other sports, with deep-rooted rivalries and fans so passionate they tattoo their club's crest onto their bodies. Over the past decades, football has also grown into a major business, moving billions of euros, turning clubs into corporations and involving bankers, private equity and many other interests. What is the future of football as passion meets industry and commercialism? How do we protect tradition, while taking advantage of legitimate commercial interests? Precisely these issues were debated at the Stockholm School of Economis during an entire evening with high-profile individuals, both on stage and in the audience.

The evening's program started with the first panel - Setting the Scene: Is European Football experiencing a Crisis? 

This panel highlighted the current challenges confronting football, and served as a backdrop for the subsequent panels during the evening. 

The panelists included:

  • Lars-Christer Olsson, Honorary President European Leagues and Swedish Professional Football League 
  • Katarina Pijetlovic, Assisstant Professor, Católica Lisbon School of Law
  • Kenneth Cortsen, Assistant Professor, University College Nordjylland Aalborg

The second panel centered around - Rowing in the same Direction: Involving Fans on the Success of European Football 

During this panel, supporters' role in influencing football's future were discussed and ways to empower fans to bring about positive change in the industry were explored. 

The panelists included:

  • Lena Gustafson Wiberg, Supporter Liaison Officer, Djurgården Football
  • Noa Bachner, Reporter at Expressen, Swedish newspaper
  • Isak Edén, Chair Swedish Football Supporter Union (SFSU)

The last panel outlined - Shaping the Future: What will Football look like in a Decade? 

This panel provided a visionary blueprint for how football can move forward to future triumphs. 

The panelists included:

  • Karl-Erik Nilsson, Vice Chair UEFA and Chair of the Swedish Football Association
  • Siri Wallenius, Head of International Relations, Malmö FF
  • Jonas Eriksson, Investor and Former FIFA Referee 

Finally, the event was concluded by a final summary that was delivered by the current President of LaLiga (the Spanish Football Association), Javier Tebas. 

After the official event was over, the evening continued with mingle, drinks and light refreshments in the SSE Atrium and LaLiga President Javier Tebas welcomed journalists from different media outlets for a media roundtable.  

Watch the Recording of the Event here:

Sports and Business SIR Sport Initiative