Safia Abdel Dayem ventures into FIFA world

By Nayera El-Zeki

Safia Abdel dayem is a female figure that has managed to position herself as a role model for so many generations to come. Safia is the first Egyptian woman to enroll into the FIFA Master- International Master of Management, law and Humanities of sport. The 10 month program is effectively designed to create individuals who are ready and able to cope with the ever-changing and complex world of sports.

Safia, a 27 year old AUC graduate who has always been a sports fan and specifically football, decided she was going to switch from the practical aspect of sports to the managerial aspect. That’s when an interview with her advisor pushed her into FIFA’s direction, where she stood tall as an example to all women, especially Arab women, confirming that you’re the only person who can define who you are.

We had in interview with the dedicated Safia, and here’s what she had to say about her exceptional experience:

Please explain to us what the program is exactly.

The program is a ten month experience, where we got to learn about the history of sports from the prestigious De Montfort University in Leicester, England for three months, then the managerial aspect of sports in SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milano, Italy for another three months. Finally, we spend four months of sports law in Switzerland’s University of Neuchatel where we spend a month on finishing our thesis and graduate.

What was your thesis about?

It was a group thesis where we studied the impact of women in governance in international federations on the amount of their participation in the 28 Olympic sports. We interviewed presidents and executive committees of some significant international sports federations and we found that participation is almost 50% while the representation was only around 20%.

Considering you are the first Egyptian female to ever be enrolled in the program, what were the people’s reactions to the idea?

The program had one of the most diverse selections of students. It was hard for me to cope at the beginning but after a short period, we became an inseparable bunch experiencing everything together. My being the first Egyptian female was not necessarily significant there because of the extent of diversity in the group.

How did your family and friends react to your decision to join the FIFA program?

I was always into sports, as a young student I used to coach football teams in several Egyptian clubs and I even created and coached a team while we were at the program, so it was no shocker for my family. My mother and brother were completely supportive of my decision; I’ve never had them tell me no about anything sports related because they knew it’s always been my passion. My friends were happy for me for the same reasons.

What are your future plans?

I wouldn’t mind traveling but I would like to stay here and work for the public sector, because that’s where the real challenge is. I’ve been looking for a job for quite sometime now but nothing is set in stone yet.

What would you say to young ladies who might be looking up to you?

I would say that I honestly want to see more women go into it because as a woman in the sports industry in Egypt, it’s incredibly tough and it’s very male dominated, it’s a man’s club. In Egypt it’s so much harder than the rest of the countries because of cultural restrictions and otherwise constricting reasons. More educated women should fight for their chance to make a difference because a sport really does change everything. 

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