High Level Speakers & Guests
Sport plays an important role in our society and all over the world and is a major part of human interests and activities. Sport excites. When we search for inspiration, it is often found in the words and achievements of coaches and athletes.
Andreas Wenzel is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from Liechtenstein, active from 1976 to 1988. Born in Planken, he was the overall World Cup champion in 1980. He also won two season titles in the combined event, in 1984 and 1985.
Andreas is commited to improve the economic environment for athletes.
His Innovations are:
• Introduction of individual sponsor (1985) and organizer prize money (1989), “Erfinder Super-G” with Serge Lang
• Development of ski boot and ski snow shoe patents
• Development of a device for stretching the back
He is also the Ambassador Right To Play since 2000.
Bruno Kernen is a former Swiss alpine ski racer. Some of his achievements are:
Junior World Champion Combination, Junior World Championships bronze medal Super-G, double victory World Cup Downhill Veysonnaz, World Champion Downhill and Vice World Champion Combination in Sestrière, Lauberhorn Downhill Winner, Bronze Medal Downhill World Championships St. Moritz, Olympic Bronze Medal Downhill in Turin and on the World Championships in Are Bronze Medal Super-G.
After successfully completing his skiing career, he worked as a:
2009 – 2012 Managing Partner in athlete and event management
2009 – 2017 CEO Online News Platform
2018 – 2022 Key Account Manager Axapharm AG
2022 – today CEO Anavon Ski AG and Bogner Ski-Hartwaren.
3-time Olympian (Alpine skiing), Entrepreneur, Consultant, Speaker & Author, CEO and Founder of Winter Sport Expert Group, CEO and Founder of global project “The Sportskid Whisperer” – aiming to support and encourage kids in sports, FIS SnowKidz guest editor, International Olympic Committee “Believe in Sport” Ambassador.
Andrej has a wealth experience from Sport, Education, International business and more. On the slopes and at work, Andrej has mastered the art of dedication, transitioning from Top Athlete to Mentor and Businessman. Along the way he has discovered, what it takes to transform tribulation into triumph. With extensive leadership experiences, Andrej captive every client for a guided and meaningful path for progress at various fields and roles.
David Evangelista is President & Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia and Senior Advisor for International Development for Special Olympics, Inc. He is responsible for the growth and development of the Special Olympics movement across 58 nations across Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. As Senior Advisor for International Development, David is responsible for the creation and expansion of global partnerships with United Nation agencies, foreign aid agencies, international non-governmental organizations and global philanthropy. David has extensive global experience in the areas of government relations, industry engagement, international development, thought leadership and global partnership building in support of marginalized populations. David serves on the Advisory Board of the Division of Multilateral Diplomacy for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), a current member of the Centre for Sports and Human Rights (CSHR) and is a member of the international Board of Directors for The Access Challenge (TAC). David was a former member of the High-Level Group on Sports Diplomacy for the European Commission and a former member of the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities for UNICEF.
David has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the School of International Service of American University in Washington, DC and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration/ International Business from IESIDE in Vigo, Spain.
Matjaž Kek is a Slovenian professional football manager and former player who is the manager of the Slovenia national team.
Matjaž Kek started his career at his home club NK Maribor, before moving to another Maribor-based team, Železničar Maribor. In 1980, he returned to Maribor. In 1985 he joined the Austrian club Spittal/Drau, where he stayed for three seasons. Kek then transferred to another Austrian club, GAK of the Austrian Bundesliga where he played for seven years. After that, he returned to Maribor, where between 1995 and 1999 he won three Slovenian league titles, before retiring. Overall, Kek made 280 appearances for Maribor in all competitions over the span of eleven seasons. He spent most of his career playing in defense, mostly in the centre-back position and was known for his leadership abilities.
In 2018, Kek was appointed as the manager of Slovenia national team for the second time in his career. He managed the team in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, where Slovenia finished in fourth place with four wins out of ten games. In 2020, Slovenia went undefeated for a record eight consecutive games, and also finished first in Group 3 of the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League C and was thus promoted to League B.
James Kitching is an experienced senior executive in the sports industry, advising the global sports community on governance, regulation, strategy, integrity, and education. His CV includes senior roles at FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, board memberships in sports federations and sports technology companies, and several sports tribunal appointments.
James was previously Director of Football Regulatory at FIFA where he managed the subdivision which oversaw all aspects of the FIFA regulatory framework, and in particular the football transfer system. Among other matters James led the implementation of two core integrity projects: the introduction of the FIFA Clearing House, and the reintroduction of a regulatory framework for football agents. James has since been appointed by FIFA as one its representatives on the Supervisory Board of the FIFA Clearing House S.A.S. James also spent 5 years at the Asian Football Confederation as Head of Sports Legal Services, where he helped modernise the sports and corporate regulatory framework, and acted as secretariat to the AFC judicial bodies.
James is a regular lecturer and speaker at conferences, postgraduate and undergraduate courses, and webinars.
Mark Clattenburg is an English professional football referee.
Mark is a former member of the Premier League and the Durham County Football Association. He was a profession referee in England for over 13 years and an International referee for UEFA and FIFA for 12 years. He has refereed a number of notable matches, including the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final and the UEFA Euro 2016 Final.
He was the Director of The Referee Department at Saudi Arabia Football Federation and worked as a referee and VAR (video assistant referee) in the Saudi Pro League and also as a consultant on the VAR Project within the League.
He is also a Brand Ambassador for Leisure Leagues the world’s largest organisers of five-a-side football and six-a-side football.
Matej joined Team Bahrain Victorious in 2018, which allowed him to flourish in his professional career.
He can boast of outstanding achievements in major competitions. He already recorded a stage victory in all Grand Tour races, one each in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España races and a double stage victory in the Tour de France race. Last season, Matej’s long-time dream came true, as he celebrated his victory in his favorite race, the Milan-Sanremo spring classic.
He approaches bicycle racing strategically. He himself says that he has always liked to play with the laws of physics, experimenting with descents into the valley and pushing them to extremes. In cycling circles, he is considered a true downhill virtuoso.
Matej’s knowledge of centrifugal and centripetal forces and his intellectual-strategic approach to matches gave him a globally recognized reputation.
Tina Baznik, M.D. Law, MBA, owner and CEO of a boutique company operating under the brand INNO LEGAL, works exclusively with strategic intellectual property as an essential part of business growth, sets up internal innovation processes, internal growth legal systems and international business models in EU markets, USA, China. She works with corporations, start ups, educates companies, departments (development, marketing, management), sets strategies and is a consultant to several management boards. She is also European Innovation Council coach, crisis EU coach for COVID, mentor in many communities and also lecturer at Faculty for enterpreneurship in Ljubljana.
Web page: www.innolegal.si
Tomi Šmuc is a former Slovenian Volleyball player, active from 1998 to 2011. He was competing as a senior national team player in European Championship qualifications and finishing on 3rd place in pool (playing in A European League) and competing on Olympic Games qualifications and winning tournaments in first round and playing on second round tournaments (Kuopio, Finland). He also qualified to European Championship in Turkey (2009).
He continued his career as a coach of the ACH Volley Club.
He is an expert commentator on the matches of the Slovenian volleyball team on commercial television, the owner of LUDUS Beach park Ljubljana, the president of the Beach Volleyball commission at the European Union.
From 2021, he is also the president of the Padel Federation of Slovenia and sports director of the Calcit Volley Club.
Dr. TONE JAGODIC
Graduated from the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana in 1980, and completed his master’s degree in 1990 at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. Tone defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Legal characteristics of sponsorship contracts in the Olympic movement” at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana in 2007.
In the years from 1981 to 1990, he was employed at the court in Ljubljana, of which 6 years as a judge in the department for commercial justice. In the spring of 1991, he was appointed Deputy Public Advocate of the Republic of Slovenia and performed this duty until June 15, 1992, when he joined the Olympic Committee of Slovenia as Secretary General and held this position until April 1, 2015. Since 2019, Tone has been acting as the secretary of the Commission for Ethical Issues at the Olympic Committee of Slovenia. He also performs the role of SPOC (Sigle Point of Contact) for Slovenia in the prevention program against irregularities in sports, which is run by the International Olympic Committee. In 2010, the International Olympic Committee appointed him as the National Education Director of ASMC (Advanced Sports Management Courses).
Since 2015, Tone has been an arbitrator at the International Court of Sports Law (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. From January 22, 2018 to 2020, he was a personal advisor to the President of the Association of European Olympic Committees (EOC) based in Rome and a member of the Legal Commission of this association. From 1 October 2021 onwards, he is a consultant to the Association of European Olympic Committees (EOC).
Mr. Blaz Golob is a country manager for Slovenia at Heliot Europe. Company provides IoT digital solutions for various industries and utility companies with special focus on logistics and smart city services. As entrepreneur and former CEO of a start-up, he co-created digital SmartCityPlatform being used by various European cities and utility companies, helping them to manage data more efficiently. He is passionate about using foresight tools to design new concepts, business models, products and services for reaching Sustainable Development Goals with digital transformation. As a researcher and former employee of the European Commission technology & foresight research centre based in Seville, he co-founded Foresight Europe Network which is today an active part of the Millennium Project leading global foresight think-tank. As a chairman of Ljubljana Forum on Future of Cities, he brings together annually city leaders, industry representatives and European Investment Bank to co-create city projects. He graduated at Ljubljana University and specialised on European Law at Cambridge University.
An Olympian and former Jr. World Champion in Alpine Skiing, President of Women’s football club Radomlje, multi-sports event organizer engaged in the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Winter Games from 1998 to 2018.
BLAŽ TOMAŽIN BOLCAR
Blaž Bolcar is the founder of the Bolcar Sports Law Office, Sport Lex Institute and the Sports Law Arbitration Moot competition.
As a sports law expert, he works in multidisciplinary projects and cooperates with various profiles of teams and individuals, ranging from top domestic and international athletes, managers, team captains and agents to sponsors and marketing campaigns. In addition to law and legal frameworks, he is also invested in developing the business aspects of sports in Slovenia and creating a sports business environment in Slovenia that corresponds to international standards.
He also lectures at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana as part of the “Law in Sport” course. Currently he is also a member of the MESGO – Executive Master in Global Sports Governance programme that develops sports management skills at an international level.
By education, a construction engineer. By profession – a skiing coach, team captain, and before that the only female service technician in the Alpine Skiing World Cup. In private life, a mother. Darja Črnko is a key link in the success story of alpine skier Ilka Štuhec, the two-time world champion and winner of two crystal globes in the World Cup. When working at the highest level of professional sport, she is guided by determination, trust, and uncompromisingness. She devoted the last 14 years to professional working cooperation with her daughter and along with her overcame many challenges and achieved successes that the vast majority did not think were achievable.
From 1987 to 2023 Jelko took the following positions:
– Head trainer of National and Olympic teams of Slovenia and former Yugoslavia in Nordic sports (As a coach, his biggest successes are 20 World Cup victories, two overall World Cup victories, Gold medal World Championship Predazzo 1991),
– 2009 – 2021 Head of the Sport Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Head of different investment projects in sport infrastructure and Head of the investment project Planica Nordic Centre. Head at the preparation and implementation of the business management model of the Planica Nordic Centre. Since 2021 he is the Head of Nordic Centre Planica.
During the planning and construction of the Planica Nordic Centre, Mr. Gros was involved in all stages of legislative process (establishment of the national centre), planning (environmental impact studies, investment documentation and public tender documentation), reconstruction of the existing infrastructure and construction of the new centre.
Since 1999, he took part in FIS Technical Delegate FIS Nordic World Championship in ski jumping and FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Series as the Head of the competition jury, consultant to the organizing committees. Member of Ski jumping Committee.
Since 2011, he is the President of the Expert Council for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combination at Ski Association of Slovenia During. In this period, many medals were won at the Olympic Games and World Championships.
He is also the Vice President of the National Association of the ski trainers and instructors.
Before and during the Nordic World Championship, Planica 2023, Mr. Gros was the Head of the expert team in charge of the overall preparation and utilization of infrastructure and technical equipment for the ski jumping and cross-country competitions. He also functioned as the expert commentator in TV transmission of ski jumping competitions.
DR. TOMAŽ ŠTURM
Dr. Tomaž Šturm is a geographical information system (GIS) expert with more than 20 years of experience in working with spatial data and analyses. His biggest joy is making classical paper maps, to online maps and maps for portable devices. He has been working for local government, forestry service and national agency. Tomaž is a big fan of open source software for GIS and shares his enthusiasm and knowledge in his country. His enthusiasm and lots of ideas leads him on making new things like wooden climbing holds, wooden puzzle maps, 3D models etc.
Darijan is founder and creator of fitup.mk – Platform for Health and Sport Performance Improvement and Business Development. Darijan collaborate with internationally known experts in the field of sport, fitness and conditioning, nutrition and sports psychology. Darijan Trajanov has master’s degree in public health and bachelor degree in economics. He works on projects of marketing and digital marketing, especially in the area of sport and fitness marketing. As a public health expert, he works in the field of health promotion among people, especially amog young people and athletes. He is the author of two scientific papers in the field of public health. For the first time in Macedonia, Darijan organized the first fitness marketing webinar and content marketing workshop, the purpose of which was to show the importance of marketing in the fitness industry and online fitness business.
1990 – 1994 Chief Editor in Sport Radio Aktuell (Switzerland)
Since 1994 Lüchinger Est., Agency for Communication & Organziation
2001 – 2008 Head of Communication Liechtenstein Olympic Committee
2006 – 2010 Board Member Liechtenstein Football Association
2003 – 2006 Head of Communications Phonak Cycling Team (World Tour)
2007 – 2018 Head of Communications BMC Racing Team (World Tour)
2006 – 2007 Member Olympic Selection Committee Liechtenstein Olympic Committee
2008 – 2015 Member Professional Sports Committee of the Principality of Liechtenstein
since 2009 UEFA Match Delegate
since 2014 FIFA Match Commissoner
since 2016 Board Member BSC Young Boys Bern
since 2019 Member Sport Council, Advisory body of the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein
since 1991 Announcer Tour de Suisse (Cycling)
since 1998 Announcer Spengler Cup (World’s best annual ice hockey club tournament)
since 1998 Announcer of several IIHF World Championships including Olympic Games
Mentor for athletes, coaches and other leaders in politics and economy.
JOĀO PAULO ALMEIDA
Expert in match-fixing, responsible gambling, gambling regulation, sports betting integrity and good governance in several projects, task forces and steering committees chaired or coordinated by the International Olympic Committee, Council of Europe, European Commission, European Olympic Committees, European Gambling and Betting Association and UNODC
1999 Degree in Sport Management from the Human Kinetics Faculty – Technical University of Lisbon
2006 Degree in Sociology from ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon
2009 Master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policies from ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon
April-December 1998 Policy Officer at the Directorate of Training in Centre of Studies and Sport Training – State Secretariat of Sport
February 2000 –April 2013 Sport Policy Officer at the Department of Education and Culture and Director of Sport Facilities in Municipality of Amadora
May 2013 Director General at the Olympic Committee of Portugal
Janko Dvoršak is a national sports administrator who graduated from the Faculty of Sports.
From 1984 to 1995, he worked as a professional associate and secretary in the sports associations of the city of Ljubljana.From 1995 to 2009, he was the secretary of the Top Sports Committee at the Olympic Committee of Slovenia and the coordinator of the Olympic projects in which Slovenia participated. He was a member of several expert commissions in the EOC and the IOC, including a member of the IOC coordination commission for the 1st Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck 2012.
He led the preparations and performances of Slovenian athletes at eleven (11) European Youth Olympic Festivals, three (3) Mediterranean Games and seven ( 7) Olympic Games until 2009 when he took over the leadership of the anti-doping department at OKS-ZŠZ.
Together with a newly emerging group of colleagues, he set up the Slovenian doping prevention and testing program model and the conditions for establishing the national anti-doping organization in Slovenia – SLOADO, which was founded in September 2013.After two successful mandates from 2014 onwards, he managed to create the Slovenian national anti-doping program, which achieved almost 1,000 urine and blood samples taken in one year in the field of testing at the national and international levels. With the team, he created a national preventive strategy for athletes, supporting staff, and others. Together with the National Olympic Committee, SLOADO managed to establish a model of mandatory online anti-doping education for athletes and thus achieve full accessibility of programs for all athletes over the age of 14. After setting up the Central European Anti-doping Organization – CEADO, he became its Vice-President. He is also a member of the WADA – ADAMS Testing Working group.
Michael Cepic is CEO of NADA Austria since 2012 and on the national and international forefront in promoting fair play and integrity in sport.
Mr Cepic studied Business Administration at the Economics University of Vienna and played in the 1st Division of Austria´s Basketball League.
In his position as CEO of NADA Austria he is responsible for development of the Austrian Anti-Doping Program which is internationally renowned. Under his leadership, the cooperation with federal law enforcement authorities was extended. Austrian sport organizations are obliged to implement clean sport education in cooperation with NADA Austria.
Since May 2019, Mr Cepic has been the Chairman of the Board of the Central European Anti-Doping Organization (CEADO) and was recently re-elected for a second consecutive term. In this capacity, he continues to contribute to clean sport, fostering collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders.
In 2022 Mr Cepic has been elected by the 47 eligible European NADOs as one of the two European representatives for the NADO Expert Advisory Group (NADO EAG) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). As of March 2023, he is Vice-Chair of the NADO EAG and as a result of this election also a member of WADA´s Foundation Board, the highest decision making body of WADA.
Bojana Bejatovic is a Secretary of the Fair Play Commission at the International Chess Federation (FIDE), a chess player and a chess coach.
She is a former Board Member & General Secretary of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) and their Social Media Manager.
Being a 7-time national chess champion in the national female category U20, she secured the title of vice-champion in the national male category U18. In 2007 she won the International Chess Open Mureck in Austria in the male category. Bojana has represented her country since 2008, in five Chess Olympiads, four European Team Chess Championships, and numerous other international chess events.
Bojana’s commitment to fair play is unparalleled. As one of the world’s seven Fair Play Officers, she plays a vital role in ensuring a safe and fair environment at sporting events. Additionally, she serves as the Chair of the Educational Panel of the Fair Play Commission, where she delivers insightful lectures on the importance of fair play.
Originally a doctor of medicine, Ivan Krechnak has been involved in the game industry since 2003. His specialization is game design and gamer´s psychology. Together with his two partners, he founded PowerPlay Studio in 2007, a company primarily focused on developing online sports games. PowerPlay Studio has released 18 games played by over 22 million players worldwide. The best-known titles are Athletics Mania, Biathlon Mania and Ski Jump Mania 3. Games are being developed by an international team of more than 80 people. Among other things, PowerPlay Studio is actively involved in the promotion of sports and supports talented athletes like Ján Volko, Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková or Matej Beňuš. The studio earned the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in Central Europe award in 2014 as the fastest-growing tech company in Slovakia. Furthermore, PowerPlay Studio attended Google for Startups Accelerator in 2020 as the only Slovak company. Ivan has been CEO of PowerPlay Studio since the start.
Marcel Rodman is a former national team hockey player and a current assistant coach for the Villacher SV in the ICEHL.
Marcel started playing hockey in Jesenice, Slovenia and continued his junior years in Peterborough (OHL), Canada. After being drafted to the NHL (Boston Bruins) in 2001, he played 18 seasons in European leagues. (Vienna Capitals, Graz 99ers, Klagenfurter AC – all Austria; Krefeld Pinguine, Schwenninger Wild Wings, Tölzer Löwen, Bietigheim Steelers, Dresdner Eislöwen- all Germany; Medvescak Zagreb (KHL) and home club of Jesenice in Slovenia). Marcel has played 186 games for the Slovenian national team which ranks him 4th of all time. He was a member of the Slovenian Olympic hockey team twice (Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018). Marcel was known as an intelligent player and a leader. Because of his abilities, he was a captain or an assistant captain of the national team in 9 out of his 16 seasons. In 2018 he started his coaching career as an assistant coach with Medvescak Zagreb on the ICEHL while also working as a vice president of hockey operations in Zagreb. He then moved to Jesenice, Slovenia as a Head Coach in the AlpsHL. After he was the Head Coach of DVTK Jegesmedvek in Slovakia. Before joining the Villacher SV where he still works as an assistant coach in the ICEHL, he took on a year and a half Director of Hockey operations role with Jesenice. Next season he is stepping into his third year as an assistant coach in Villach, Austria.
MAG. KARMEN NOVARLIČ
Mag. Karmen Novarlič obtained her Master Degree in International and Diplomatic Studies at the Postgraduate Faculty of Government and European Studies.
She is known amongst congressmen as a long-standing member of the Council of the Slovenian Convention Bureau. As a Head of Department Business Communication has helped to develop a better understanding between the public and private sector in congress industry.
The main tasks of her work are B2B promotion and marketing of Slovenian tourism, implementation and development of the national brand I FEEL SLOVENIA, active role in biggest projects worldwide (EXPO, Olimpic games etc), aviation route & cruise development and economic diplomacy coordination. Karmen Novarlič has participated at numerous professional conferences, congresses in Slovenia and abroad, and brings to her lecturing role a wealth of experience gained in tourism sector.