After graduating from UCFB and her BA (Hons) International Football Business programme, Sharon Hoyos-Martinez landed a job with Sport Resolutions UK as a Business Support Assistant. We caught up with her to find out more about the role and what it entails…

Hi Sharon. Your role at Sport Resolutions UK, working on mediation and arbitration across the sports industry, sounds really interesting. Can you tell us a bit about the role?

Hey, sure! I am currently the Business Support Assistant at Sport Resolutions UK. The company is a not-for-profit organisation that helps to resolve disputes within sport. This may include issues involving doping, athlete selection, safeguarding and any other issues that may arise within the industry. It is quite a small team so my role is to support the Business Manager, Marketing Manager and Case Management Team as much as possible.

What does a typical working day look like for you?

As mentioned above I work across the company, so my day to day depends on what tasks need to be done that day. This could include Marketing tasks such as checking and writing up news articles for the website on current sports law headlines/matters, dealing with operational tasks and centre management as we also hold Mediations and Arbitrations on site.

In her role, Sharon assists the case management team on handling pro-bono cases

I work on a range of administrative tasks including invoicing, CRM, e-marketing and event days as we hold insightful seminars covering different topics every month. I also frequently assist the case management team on handling pro-bono cases.

What makes the sports industry so unique and exciting, and what are the key skills and attributes you need to work within the industry?

What I love about the sports industry is that it’s so unique to any other industry. Social, political, and economical affairs (to name a few) all come into question. The majority of people get thrills from at least one sport and therefore have an opinion on it. I think in order to succeed within the industry you need to understand the entire sport spectrum.

I have been fortunate enough to work within various sectors of sport, from playing, coaching, presenting, marketing, events and working for top organisations. I have therefore had to adapt and learn to understand the different perspectives that people have towards sports, whether it be the athlete point of view, the consumer perspective, the media or the operations team behind the scenes. This has clearly allowed me to work for Sport Resolutions without any legal background.

Sharon works as a Business Support Assistant at Sport Resolutions UK

In your role, and generally when working in the sports industry, how important is networking and building contacts?

I believe in the power of networking, but if I’m perfectly honest I don’t think it is everything. I think it’s important to build genuine relationships within the industry, rather than just a long list of people you know. It is true, in some occasions “its about who you know” but other times I have simply achieved positions by applying off my own back. Of course, it’s necessary to build a network on top of experience but I think building genuine relationships is key, whilst staying true to yourself. I think it’s also important to help each other and support colleagues/contacts because one day you will need a favour too.

A major part of mediation and arbitration across the sports industry must cover doping. As a BA (Hons) International Football Business graduate, what are the key ways in which doping in sports can be addressed and dealt with?

I think in the media we have seen a crisis with doping in sports, from the Russian Olympic scandal in 2016 to the recent Austrian skiers being caught red handed. In my opinion it’s important to have organisations such as Sport Resolutions with experts in the field worldwide that can handle the issues in the best way possible when they arise. Unfortunately, there is a lot of emotion and money within sports so I believe there are always going to be “cheats”, however in order to prevent this I think education and awareness is key and this should be applied very early on in the athletes’ career. This should be applied by clubs/federations/coaches/parents. Additionally, sanctions need to be emphasised and more coherent so that athletes and fans can begin to trust in top sporting events and organisations again.

Your career has already seen you gain experience at major organisations in the sports industry including The FA and UEFA. How have these experiences helped in developing your career and deciding what you want to do?

Yes, I have had great opportunities that have given me a real insight into how sports is managed and organised at both a grassroots level and international level. When I was younger the World Cup and Olympics were something I used to watch and get very excited about, I think most people do, sport has the power to ignite this emotion.

Sharon attended the UCFB Networking Evening recently at the Wembley campus and caught up with fellow graduates

So, I always knew I wanted to be part of these events but I thought being an athlete and competing was the only way. However, my degree and work experience has allowed me to understand what goes into the entire process and therefore exposed me to the array of opportunities that come with sport, and not necessarily being a competing athlete.

And what skills have you been able to take into the workplace that you learnt during your time at UCFB?

I decided to study International Football Business because I thought it was a broader course and ultimately it wasn’t actually limited to Football only, which was an initial concern. This degree therefore allowed me to become adaptable, working across finance, marketing, events whilst having an international understanding of the sports industry, which is now what I do now within Sport Resolutions. I am not limited to one sector, in fact I am now having to understand the legal side of sport which is a part of sport I hadn’t experienced before. At UCFB I was constantly gaining experience and trying out new things which has allowed me to succeed in attaining certain opportunities.

What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying a degree at UCFB and aiming to build a career in the sports industry?

I would say try as many things as possible, UCFB provided several additional courses and I often took the opportunity to get involved. It’s important to be proactive in order to realise what you actually enjoy, on top of building your skillset. As a result, I was able to have enough confidence to take on any opportunity that came my way. Also, I would say that although there are several opportunities, it is a very competitive industry because so many people have a passion for sport, so there may be a lot of rejection and therefore being persistent is important. In the meantime, do/learn as much as possible.