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Wellington Phoenix GM learning valuable lessons alongside big names on FIFA Diploma

David Dome (far left) is the only OFC representative on the FIFA Diploma in Club Management course. Photo credit: FIFA.

Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome says he is proud to be representing the Oceania region on the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management and he has already utilised lessons learned in his role at New Zealand’s only professional football club.

Dome, who has been in his current role with the A-League side for a decade, is taking part in the programme, which launched in New York in September.

This second edition follows a successful first roll-out from May 2021-March 2022. Dome is one of 40 participants on the latest course with every FIFA Confederation represented. The demographic of the participants spreads out across 29 countries, including those aligned with prestigious clubs such as LA Galaxy, Liverpool FC and Grêmio FBPA.

Dome is the only representative from the OFC region on board and is delighted with the opportunity.

“I was humbled that the OFC thought it would be good to have someone from the Wellington Phoenix on that course and put my name forward,” Dome told OFC Media recently.

“It is great for the region. Everybody knows about the A-League but to be able to connect with a lot of these clubs internationally it is a great honour to represent the region and the Australia-New Zealand dynamic.”

Dome, who first joined the Phoenix in 2008, became General Manager in 2012. His role involves the management of the club’s business operations as well as overseeing the club’s Women’s team, who played their inaugural professional season in 2021-22.

Part of his position involves searching for what he calls “the edge” that improves the club. It means he is always looking for ways to learn and improve and the Diploma certainly offers that element.

“You are always looking for ways to improve performance personally and as part of the business,” said Dome.

“The Diploma of Club Management that FIFA runs presents exposure and experience. Getting to talk to those sorts of people and getting presentations from people inside and outside the industry is sporting gold.”

The course has attracted big names from the world of football including the likes of USA great Carli Lloyd and Australian legend and ex-Samoa youth international Tim Cahill. As well as ex-professionals of repute, with Fernandinho, John Terry and Juan Mata also on the programme, top executives from around the world are also taking part as participants and speakers.

Dome says the sessions can become “collegial” with participants learning from each other and, perhaps even more beneficially, developing relationships that could prove invaluable going forward.

“Roles like mine are, at the end of the day, just relationship management roles,” Dome explained.

“We are working with other people trying to build our clubs and be successful businesses. The hardest thing often is getting in the door or knowing who to pick up the phone and ask. Often that is the most difficult thing, and this helps.”

As well as this personal relationship building Dome learned more about the importance of developing successful club-to-club associations, youth development and building business through youth academies.

Dome admits it may be a while before the impact of this course is felt. However, he has already utilised one lesson learned on the Diploma in the case of a potential transfer for one of the Phoenix’s star players.

Ben Waine, who scored his first goal for New Zealand on debut at the OFC FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers in Qatar in March, was the subject of a six-figure bid from English club Plymouth Argyle earlier this year.

While Dome admits that ‘Waino’ is destined to eventually play abroad he says the Phoenix will not be selling for “bargain basement prices” anymore after a realisation that came to him while on the Diploma.

“One of the things I learned is that traditionally European clubs under-price players from this part of the world,” said Dome.

“With Waino we have decided that if we sold him for six figures he is going to be worth a lot more than that in the future.

“At some point you have to take a stance and say our players are worth more than that and I got that from being on that course.

“It might not happen this year or next but I think Waino will go because he is good enough and we are not going to stand in his way. But it is about setting that precedent and not underselling ourselves.”

The next stage of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management will take place in Dubai and Doha later this month, aligning with the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ which kicks off on November 20.

More information on the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management can be accessed here.

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