The Quarterly Interview #30: Ashley Ehlert

The American Ashley Ehlert started working in sport while still studying at University of Central Florida. She supported the (American) football team, dealing with NCAA compliance issues related to recruitment. She remembers: “When I started working for the football team, I was not positive I wanted to work in sports, but after working with the players and seeing the positive impact being part of the team had on their lives (many came from extremely low social economic families), I decided that I would try for a career in sports”. After university, she went to law school, and during her third year, she was offered a clerkship, which continued into a position with Minor League Baseball (MiLB). “While finishing my third year and working for MiLB, I decided that I wanted to pursue a sport that would allow me to travel the world, and as such, began looking for LLM programs in sports in Europe and Australia. During my search I found the FIFA Program and decided that while the program was not strictly law, it would open up many doors through the exceptional lecturers and academic advisors”, Ashley recalls. After the FIFA Master, she was offered an internship with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), in Zurich, which quickly turned into a full-time position. 

 “While at the IIHF I have really forged my own career”, Ashley says. “After only  nine months at the IIHF, my predecessor left, and I was offered his position. This forced me to learn as I went and allowed me to shape the IIHF Legal Department into what it is today” she concludes.

FMA Quarterly: What is your job like, as Legal Director at IIHF?

Ashley Ehlert: My job is extremely varied as the IIHF Legal Department handles many issues that would not on their face seem strictly legal. For example, I handle all of our major commercial contracts, but also deal with all integrity issues from anti-doping and match fixing to ethical conduct on and off the ice. However, I would say the biggest part of my job is problem solving. Most of the issues that come up within an IF are sent to or at least run by the legal department.

FMAQ: What is the thing that you love about your job?

AE: I love the variety of my job. In a bigger sports federation like FIFA, as a lawyer you work in one area - for example, commercial legal or player’s status. However, in working for the IIHF, from day one, I was able to handle all legal matters. For example, one day I am dealing with a disciplinary or CAS case and the next day I am writing a commercial rights contract or setting up a player support program.

FMAQ: How important was the FIFA Master for your career?

AE: I did the FIFA Masters to gain a better understanding of sports within Europe and the world. The sport model in Europe is very different than the sport model in the USA. I have no doubt that what I learned throughout the FIFA Masters is what has allowed me to succeed in my current role.

FMAQ: What are your fondest memories of the FIFA Master?

AE: From a personal perspective, my fondest memories were the first couple of months in Leicester. During this time, lifetime friendships were formed. For example, my roommate in Leicester was the maid of honour in my wedding and is the god mother of my son. From an academic perspective, my fondest memories were the field visits as this was the time that theory learned in the classroom was connected to practice as seen on the actual job.

FMAQ; Sport has traditionally been a “men’s world”. Is that changing? How so?

AE: Yes, I think this is seen both on and off the court (or ice). Women are more actively participating in sports and more people are actively watching women’s sport. For example, in ice hockey, USA and Canada have always dominated the sport. However, during the 2019 Women’s World Championship, Finland made history taking the silver medal. Further, the women’s ice hockey final is always one of the most watched Winter Olympics events internationally. We also see more women take on leadership roles within the sports world and being recognized for their talent and contribution to spor


Personal Profile

Full name: Ashley Ehlert 

Birthday: November 5

Nationalities: USA

Job Title: Legal Director at IIHF

Favourite sport: Baseball

Favourite team: Chicago Cubs

Favourite sport’s personality: Anthony Rizzo

Favourite sport’s moment: Chicago Cubs winning the World Series