Soccerex European Forum 2011 kicks off in Manchester Central

Ex-Manchester United and City footballer Denis Law officially opened the Soccerex European Forum 2011 in Manchester Central today (30 March), the second and biggest edition yet of the Forum, now in its second year at the venue.

The Forum is part of the Soccerex portfolio, including the flagship Global Convention which takes place in November in Rio de Janeiro each November until 2013.

Chief Executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein, who welcomed delegates to the show, said the Forum was worth “hundreds of thousands of pounds in economic impact” to the city.

“The legacy around sports investment will become an increasingly important topic,” Sir Howard added.

The Soccerex European Forum lasts two days and the 30 March programme included UEFA’s Euro 2012 Director Martin Kallen and President of Poland 2012 Marcin Herra discussing the legacy of the joint Euro 2012 event in Poland and Ukraine.

Herra spoke to CN following his presentation. “Our investment and infrastructure developments are not only for Euro 2012, but to show what we can do for big events in future. We want to show visitors – and we expect up to a million guests to come – Poland is a new place in Europe to organise big events.

“The new National Stadium in Warsaw, for example, can hold large events and will have 13,000sqm of events space, as well as being the biggest congress facility in the capital.” 

Other topics under discussion at the Forum included new financial fair-play rules, and the German football model. Exhibiting firms have been displaying football-related products and services.

Stephen Akers, Vice-President of Soccerex Global Partners Locktons insurers, first visited Soccerex in 1996 when Duncan Revie launched the event at Wembley Conference Centre. That show was opened by Sir Stanley Mathews and attracted “at best 100 delegates”, said Akers.

“Now the show has been built up as a family business and I have only missed one edition. Soccerex has taken place in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. The event provides a great opportunity for delegates to see what products are on the market,” he added.

Akers pointed out that the demand for specialist insurance products for football players, their clubs, had never been higher and noted the show “always attracts good celebrities and the support of FIFA”.

Ex-England captain Bryan Robson flew in from Asia to make the draw for a chance to win a Maserati sports car, with the risk insured by Locktons.

The last two Soccerex Global Conventions were bids won by Johanesburg and Rio de Janeiro as part of their World Cup build ups. 

Other attendees at the Soccerex European Forum included David Gill, Manchester United’s Chief Executive; Ian Ayre, commercial director at Liverpool FC; Peter Ridsdale, former Leeds and Cardiff Chairman; and Robert Elstone, Chief Executive at Everton FC. 

The City of Manchester, through its marketing arm, was a prominent exhibitor and a partner in extending the brand throughout the city with posters and advertising.

Manchester Central’s Deputy Chief Executive Paula Lorimer told CN the event “showed off the flexibility of the venue to the full” and hailed it as another contribution to the venue’s projected economic impact to the city this year of £60m.

“The corporate market is our biggest growth area,” Lorimer said, “with sales quadrupling in this sector over the past 12 months. We are also focussing hard on the national association market.”

Any news? Email pcolston@mashmedia.net 

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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