The Quarterly Interview # 35: Bugra Cem Imamogullari

The Turkish Bugra Cem Imamogullari, 37, is the son of a semi-professional basketball player and from a very young age knew that he wanted to have a career in sports. He first tried it as a basketball player too, but couldn’t make a career out of it. So, after graduating in engineering at university, he figured that continued education, focused in sports management, could be a good way in – so, in 2009, Bugra enrolled in the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme, in Istanbul. Soon after that, he started working for the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Local Organising Committee which had been established for the 2009 UEFA Cup Final.

He contributed with the TFF, in different roles, until 2015 – when he decided to make an additional investment in education, and was accepted in the 16th edition of the FIFA Master. “Joining the FIFA Master was very important for my career, because the programme has a great reputation in the industry”, he comments. “In addition to that, the knowledge I acquired during that year continues to help in my job, every day”.

Following his graduation from the FIFA Master, Bugra re-joined the TFF - now as Head of International Relations and Events. During that time, he also started working as a Venue Director in the UEFA Club Competitions, supporting home teams with their match day operations. When asked what’s his favourite thing about his job, he said: “I love to be able to take part in major international events, as well as the process building up to those events. I also really enjoy that while working for those events, I often meet with fellow FIFA Master alumni”. Here is more of the interview with Bugra Cem Imamogullari:

FMA Quarterly: What is your job like, as Head of International Relations and Events at the Turkish Football Federation?

Bugra Cem Imamogullari: Working for the Turkish Football is very exciting. Turkey loves football and our nation lives and breathes the game every single day. This is what makes this job so dynamic and motivating. Regarding my role, I am leading the department which has two main functions: International Relations and International Events. On the International Relations side, we are the primary contact for all international stakeholders like FIFA, UEFA and other National Football Associations as well as other International NGOs. The International Events side is more focused on the operational side of the workload as we are onsite and running the events. Primarily, the organisation of all international games in which the Turkish national team is involved is under the responsibility of my department. We are also in charge of the international events hosted by international football organisations. The 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup, 2009 UEFA Cup, 2012 UEFA Congress and 2019 UEFA Super Cup are some of the main events that I have worked in the past. Currently, we are working on the 2021 UEFA Champions League Final, which was initially planned for Spring 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now postponed to 29 May 2021. 

FMAQ: What would you say was your biggest achievement?

BCI: In 2016, shortly after being appointed to my current role, TFF decided to bid for the 2019 UEFA Super Cup and 2020 UEFA Champions League Final. I worked as the project manager for both bids, which were both successfully won after a challenging bid process. I was also appointed as LOC Project Leader for both Finals. I consider these to be the biggest achievements in my career so far.

FMAQ: Do you still remember why you did the FIFA Master?

BCI: When I applied for the FIFA Master, I had two main goals: one was to build friendships within the industry which would later become collaborations and partnerships; and, secondly, to have a visible role in the international sports landscape with the help of the program. Both these expectations are fulfilled so far.

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

BCI: There are many good memories from that “adventure”, however I can say that Leicester City’s Premier League title made our FIFA Master experience unique, as we started our journey there. Leicester’s games were our class’ main attraction outside the classroom.



Buğra Cem İmamoğulları, Turkish

Head of International Relations and Events at the Turkish Football Federation

FIFA Master Class: 2016 

Favourite sport: Football/Basketball

Favourite team: Samsunspor

Favourite sports personality: Michael Jordan

Favourite sports moment: The Turkish National Team’s comeback against Croatia at the EURO 2008.