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When UEFA EURO 2024 kicks off on 14 June, Stefan Schedler’s nerves will perhaps be at their most frayed. Until 14 July, the ball will be in play in ten cities across Germany, including Leipzig: four matches at the RB stadium, plus the International Broadcast Centre for the entire European Football Championship at Leipziger Messe and the fan festival on Augustusplatz. There was and still is a lot to organise and coordinate – a big task for the sports management graduate from our university, as Stefan Schedler is the City of Leipzig’s overall project manager for the Euro 2024 tournament. We interviewed him for the university magazine.

“At the age of 18, I knew that I wanted to work in organised sport: getting things done, driving them forward and developing them,” says Stefan Schedler. From 2007 to 2014, he studied Sports Management at bachelor’s and then master’s level. Fittingly, his current office is right next door to the Red Bull Arena, where football fans from across Europe will soon be cheering on their teams at Euro 2024. 

Stefan Schedler has been playing sports since he was five years old. “I grew up surrounded by sport and then went on to do competitive swimming.” To further narrow down what he wanted to do professionally in sport, he tried out a number of things alongside his studies: he worked as a trainer and coach at the University’s Centre for University Sport (ZfH); he went through all the ranks from equipment cleaner to marketing manager at a gym; and he did similar things in retail. “But there was nothing I wanted to do in the long term,” he recalls. 

Passionate about major team events 

“Gradually it became clear that managing major sporting events, especially team sports, was my thing.” Even before he had his master’s degree under his belt, he helped organise the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation U-18 World Championships and then took on the role of marketing manager at the Mitteldeutscher Basketball Club (MBC) basketball team, where he stayed for nine years. Before eventually moving to Leipzig in 2022 and taking on his current role, Schedler passed on his knowledge in a number of ways, including by teaching sports management at Macromedia University, and also founded his own company. He is not nervous about the European Football Championship: “We are well on track with our preparations and are getting great feedback from UEFA on our concept. Now we can look forward to the matches, even if there is always a lot to do.” 

What qualities do you need to pursue such a career? “You definitely need determination and focus. And you can’t afford to get discouraged,“ says Schedler. But the sports manager adds that you also need “a certain understanding and talent for communication”. His current role requires him and his team to bring together very different stakeholder groups at different levels. Interpersonal skills are also very important. And a bit of luck: “When the final draw for UEFA EURO 2024 was made, we only knew that we would have four matches – with three from the group stage and one from the round of 16 – but we didn’t know which teams would be coming to Leipzig. The fact that we have drawn the best teams in Europe in every single match is like winning the lottery,” he says happily.

enlarge the image: Zu sehen sind Philipp Lahm (Turnierdirektor UEFA EURO 2024), Prof. Dr. Jörg Junhold (Direktor Zoo Leipzig und Mitglied des Hochschulrats), Stefan Schedler, Rektorin Prof. Dr. Eva Inés Obergfell und Prof. Dr. Gregor Hovemann (Dekan Sportwissenschaftliche Fakultät)
From left: Philipp Lahm (UEFA EURO 2024 Tournament Director), Professor Jörg Junhold (Director of Zoo Leipzig and member of the University Council), Stefan Schedler, Rector Professor Eva Inés Obergfell and Professor…

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