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We unite stakeholders, advise on business cases and closing deals.

We advise and connect:

  • Football clubs considering to sell

  • Investors interested to buy

  • Technical experts (manager, head coach, sports-director, analyst)

  • Commercial experts (marketing, sponsoring, communication)

  • Sponsors

About International Football Arena IFA

The International Football Arena Ltd (IFA)., has been founded in Zurich in 1993 (formerly Art & Weise AG).
The agency specialized in athletes-management and focused more and more on the fields of football.
Since 1999 the IFA has been hosting events, fostering debate and inspiring exchange between decision-makers in the business of football. Over the years IFA Conferences moved to China, Malaysia, India, Japan, Brazil and Germany. IFA addressed current affairs in the football industry. It always intended to spot trends and identify conflicts or opportunities early on.

IFA in the Press
  • IFA Zurich,1 Nov 2012 Marcel Schmid on getting more for less, a winter World Cup and managing social media deluges.
    (download the full article)
  • IFA New Delhi, 12 Sep 2012

    The Economic Times - India: Interview with Ron Gourlay, Chief Executive Chelsea FC: 'We Won't Just Do One Soccer School & Go Back'.
    (download the full article)
  • IFA New Delhi, 10 Jun 2012

    The Economic Times on Sunday - India: Can this Man Save the Football Business in India?
    (download the full article)
  • IFA Zurich, 21 Oct 2011 Marcel Schmid bravely predicts women's football will influence the male game.
    (download the full article)
  • IFA New Delhi, 11 Jul 2011

    Sports Illustrated: If Money Could Score Goals
    (download the full article)
  • IFA New Delhi, 10 Jun 2011

    Mint & Business Standard: Who can help Indian football?
    (download the full article)
  • IFA New Delhi, 9 Sep 2010

    Mint & Business Standard: IFA steps in to explore India's soccer market
    (download the full article)
  • IFA Zurich, 15 Aug 2010

    PanStadia Summer Edition 2010: Two top sports journalists explain why IFA is always on their agenda
    (download the full article)

IFA Community

With its conferences and high-level round-tables IFA brought together ministries, associations, leagues, clubs, sponsors, media, law firms, rights agencies, stadium architects, players managers. To learn from other industries, IFA has connected with leaders from other business areas such as Formula One, American Football, Music - or Digital Industry. For its conferences IFA was always supported by corporate partners, many with big names such as Telekom, Chelsea FC, Financial Times, Audi, Vontobel, PWC ,Sony and many more.

Former Speakers A - J

Over 15 years, the IFA Zurich has welcomed the most important faces in football – both as speakers and visitors.

Below you will find a selection of speakers from our past events.

  • Agnelli Andrea, President Juventus Turin FC
  • Al Thawadi Hassan, Secretary General Supreme Committee for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar
  • Aulas Jean-Michel, President Olympique Lyonnais
  • Bahar Dany, Head of Corporate Projects Red Bull GmbH
  • Baptista da Rocha Luiz Eduardo, VP Marketing Flamengo
  • Barrow John, Senior Principal Populous
  • Bath Neil, Academy Manager Chelsea FC
  • Beckenbauer Franz, Member of the FIFA Executive Committee 
  • Best Benjamin, Journalist, Filmmaker & Author
  • Bhatia Amit, Vice-Chairman Queens Park Rangers
  • Bienhaus Axel, Partner Albert Speer & Partner
  • Bierhoff Oliver, National Team Manager German Football Association
  • Biermann Christoph, Sports Journalist & Author 11 Freunde
  • Bin Hammam Mohamed, President of the Asian Football Confederation
  • Biver Jean-Claude, CEO Hublot
  • Blatter Joseph S., President FIFA
  • Bleau Riki, Music Executive Tim & Danny Music
  • Blitz Roger, Sports Business Correspondent Financial Times
  • Bose Mihir, Journalist Evening Standard
  • Bravo Ivan, Director General Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence
  • Buckley Ben, CEO Football Federation Australia
  • Burrows Ian, Director F1 Racing & F1Racing Custom
  • Calmund Rainer, Manager Bayer 04 Leverkusen
  • Campbell Angus, Partner Foster+Partners
  • Campodonico Matteo, Founder & CEO Wyscout
  • Chadwick Prof. Simon, Chair in Sport Business Strategy & Marketing Coventry University
  • Collina Pierluigi, Italian Referee
  • Comolli Damien, form. Sporting Director
  • Correia Luis, Director Gestifute
  • Coward Nic, General Secretary Premier League Limited.
  • Cramer Carsten, Director Sales, Marketing and Business Development Borussia Dortmund
  • Cummings Steve, Chelsea FC
  • De Campos Pinto Marcelo, Executive Director Rede Globo
  • de Gregorio Walter, Director FIFA
  • Dein David, Former Vice Chairman Arsenal FC
  • Dellea David, Director PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Di Matteo Roberto, Former Swiss Player for Chelsea FC
  • Dufner Dirk, Sports Director Hannover 96
  • Durante Alan, Chairman & Managing Director Mahindra United Football Club Pvt. Ltd.
  • Eriksson Sven-Göran, Football Coach 
  • Prof. Essig Natalie, Architekt Hochschule München Fakultät für Architektur
  • Faro Felipe, CEO Santos FC
  • Féry Loïc, President FC Lorient
  • Fontein Maarten, Responsible International Affairs AZ Alkmaar, Chairman Youth Working Group ECA
  • Fuchs Klaus, General Manager Vfl Wolfsburg
  • Gandini Umberto, Organizational Manager AC Milan
  • Garber Don, Commissioner Major League Soccer
  • Gourlay Ron, CEO Chelsea FC
  • Grove Victor, Senior Vice President PrivatAir SA
  • Haenni Tatjana, Head of Women's competitions FIFA
  • Hainer Herbert, CEO Adidas
  • Hasenbein Philipp, Managing Director SPORTFIVE
  • Heimes Christoph, Manager Content Partner Switzerland Google
  • Henrotay Christophe, Agent
  • Heusler Dr. Bernhard, Legal Counsel FC Basel 1893
  • Hoeness Uli, General Manager Bayern Munich
  • Hoffmann Bernd, CEO Hamburger SV
  • Holzhäuser Wolfgang, Manager Bayer Leverkusen
  • Houllier Gérard, Global Sports Director Red Bull GmbH
  • Hughes Rob, Journalist International Herald Tribune
  • Jongkind Ruben, Head of Talent Development AFC Ajax


Former Speakers K - Z
  • Kaiser Oliver, CEO Ledavi GmbH
  • Kallen Martin, Operations Director UEFA
  • Kaltenborn Monisha, Team Principal and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG
  • Kenyon Peter, CEO Chelsea FC
  • Keuter Paul, Head of Sports Germany Twitter
  • Prof. Antonio Carlos Kfouri Aidas, Director of Control FGV Foundation
  • Kirkwood Alistair, Managing Director NFL UK
  • Klos Stefan, General Manager Proprojekt
  • Köksal Ebru, Executive Board Member Galatasaray Istanbul
  • Kuper Simon, Journalist/Author Financial Times 
  • Lange Edward, CEO Allianz Brazil
  • Lavigne Jonathan, Co-Founder & CTO Onefootball
  • Lehmann Jens, former German national goalkeeper
  • Leiweke Tim, CEO of AEG
  • Lemerre Roger, National Team Coach France
  • Leonardo, Brazilian Footballer and Coach
  • Lyttleton Ben, Journalist
  • Marcelo Figueiredo Portugal Gouvêa President FC São Paulo
  • Meier Urs, Swiss Referee  
  • Mennerich Stefan, Director New Media FC Bayern Munich
  • Michel-Amadry Marc, Vice President Marketing International Ebel
  • Miller Glenn, Sports, Entertainment, Media Strategic Partnership Facebook
  • Moreira Carlos, VP Business Devel. WISeKey
  • Nally Patrick, CEO West Nally
  • Ogi Adolf, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General
  • Paes Eduardo, Mayor Rio de Janeiro
  • Palme Heinz, Director BD ICSS
  • Patel Praful, President of AIFF and Indian Minister
  • Pozzo Gino, Owner Watford FC
  • Prof. Antonio Carlos Kfouri Aidas, Director of Control FGV Foundation
  • Prof. Essig Natalie, Architekt Hochschule München Fakultät für Architektur
  • Payne Michael, Former Head of the Marketing Division Olympic Committee
  • Radmann Fedor, German Advisor
  • Rangnick Ralf, Sporting Director Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig
  • Rebelo Aldo, Sports Minister Brazil 
  • Reiter Dr. Gregor, Sports Lawyer RA Grueter
  • Rijkaard Frank, Football Coach        
  • Rink Paulo, 2014 World Cup Ambassador for Curitiba
  • Sir Robson Bobby, Football Coach  
  • Roca Francisco, General Director Spanish La Liga
  • Roettgermann Thomas, CEO VfL Wolfsburg
  • Rosell Sandro, President FC Barcelona
  • Rosenberg Luiz Paulo, Vice President Corinthians
  • Rotthaus Jochen, Managing Director TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
  • Rummenigge Karl-Heinz, Vice President Bayern Munich
  • Rutten Frank, CEO Dutch Eredivisie
  • Satin Bruno, Agent
  • Schmid Fritz, Purecoaching
  • Schmidt Carsten, Chief Officer Sports Sky Deutschland
  • Seifert Christian, CEO German Bundesliga
  • Scudamore Richard, CEO of F.A. Premier League
  • Sen Amit, Board of Directors Kingfisher East Bengal FC
  • Shaw Toby, Head of Football Sponsoring Sony Europe 
  • Siegenthaler Urs, Chief Scout German Football Association  
  • Sir Broughton Martin, Chairman Sports Investment Partners, & Chairman British Airways
  • Sir Robson Bobby, Football Coach
  • Soares de Oliveira Domingos, CEO SL Benfica
  • Soriano Ferran, Vice President FC Barcelona
  • Sorokin Alexey, CEO LOC Russia 2018  
  • Stiegenroth Henning, Head of Sports Marketing Deutsche Telekom
  • Terim Fatih, Turkish Coach         
  • Trade Ricardo, CEO Brazil 2014 World Cup
  • Tulett Darren, TV presenter beIn Sport France
  • Turner Sebastian, Chairman of the Board Scholz & Friends AG  
  • Valcke Jérôme, FIFA General Secretary
  • van den Doel Max, Sports Marketing Director adidas Asia/Pacific
  • Verhaeghe Bart, Chairman Football Club Brugge
  • Villiger Marco, FIFA Director of the Legal Affairs Division
  • Wagner Martin, Delegate of the Board Team Marketing  
  • Wiele Dr. Andreas, Member of the Board Axel Springer SE
  • Young Mel, Founder and President Homeless World Cup
  • Zahn Frank, CEO Exozet


Circle of Excellence

IFA has never had the intention of attracting the masses. We want to stay exclusive and form a circle of excellence with our global community. IFA often provides first-time encounters leading to new personal and business relations. There is nothing to replace personal contacts. Personal exchanges, eye contact continue to be the moments that define the future of an acquaintance. An initial personal encounter at an IFA event results in a string of e-mails, phone calls and meetings.

IFA Videos

Let’s work

International Football Arena Ltd.
Obstgartenstrasse 34
8136 Gattikon, Switzerland

Marcel Schmid



Marcel Schmid is the founder and chairman of International Football Arena (IFA) Ltd which is based in Zurich, Switzerland. Originally he was a journalist and producer in the fields of print media, radio and Swiss television. In 1993 he started his own agency, who became the producer of the prestigious football-business-conference in 1999. He managed to stage these high-level events in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Berlin over the last decade. Thanks to his growing network of high-level players in the football industry, his advice is valued from companies, clubs and media. In his youth he played with Grasshopper-Club Zurich for 9 years.

Marco Casanova

Executive Board


Marco Casanova has been active in sports management for more than 25 years, including as Head of Communications, Sponsoring and Marketing of the Swiss Ice Hockey Association SEHV (Zurich) and as Head of Communications & PR of the ATP Tour (Monte Carlo). Furthermore he worked at Swiss television SPlus as head of sports and football journalist and is an expert and lecturer in Intercultural Communications and for brand and reputation guided stakeholder management (he published recently two books; Branding it 3.0 and Pop-Up-Brands).

He has his special expertise and extensive network in football. Amongst others, he was a board member of BSC Young Boys Bern and initiator & project manager of the new multifunctional stadium, Head of Stakeholder Management at UEFA as well as personal advisor to the UEFA President Lennart Johansson and the UEFA General Secretary Gerhard Aigner. For many years he is now advising several exposed companies and personalities in the world of football and sports in general as an Executive Consultant. In his youth he played with BSC Young Boys for 7 years and was the Head Coach of the Under 14 (he holds the Level 4, UEFA A License).