About the Sports Diplomacy Alliance

The Sports Diplomacy Alliance offers strategic advice, insight and research in the unique realm of Sports Diplomacy. We successfully connect political entities, private companies, and sports people and agencies via networking, training and consultancy.

  • Want a platform for strategic communication on how sport can deliver improved foreign policy or soft-power KPIs?
  • Need to understand how Sports Diplomacy can generate a commercial return for your project?
  • Or, maybe you have your own idea on how to harness the power of sport to your advantage?

Whatever your game, the Sports Diplomacy Alliance can help.

The history of the Sports Diplomacy Alliance

In January 2019, Dr. Sarah Kelly OAM and Mr. Simon Szewach, with the guidance of Dr. Stuart Murray (senior consultant) — individuals renowned for global success at the intersection of training, sport, business, and diplomacy — founded the Sports Diplomacy Alliance (the Alliance). The organisation formalises what they have been working on for decades: pioneering new ideas for profit, and designing, implementing, and evaluating a range of services that connect governments, universities, businesses, and sports people and agencies.

The Alliance was formed to meet a growing demand for consultancy, accreditation, and training on Sports Diplomacy from stakeholders worldwide. We are proud to be the first and only organisation to have created, designed, and measured the power, value, and impact of Sports Diplomacy.

The journey to establishing a formal Sports Diplomacy process began in Berlin in 2011, when Dr. Murray wrote and presented the first, seminal paper (Sports Diplomacy – a Game of Two Halves) in the new area of studies. Not only did the Alliance coin the term ‘Sports Diplomacy’, we wrote the actual book on Sports Diplomacy. We have since worked on every major project, whether in Dubai, Edinburgh, Beijing, or Kabul.


Our mission

The Alliance seeks to build an international society of sport. We are pioneers, experts and leaders in how sport can be used to affect social, political or economic change, and we are always looking for new partners to join us.

The opportunity for The Alliance remains obvious: governments, academic institutions, businesses, and sports people and bodies often share the same goals for international sports projects but rarely talk to one another. Disconnection prevails both nationally (between state agencies and sporting bodies) and internationally (between nations).

The Alliance provides the missing link between the major players in Sports Diplomacy.

As it is a new term, some people remain puzzled about Sports Diplomacy. Others confuse it with political policy, sports development, or international aid. Our core functions are fourfold:

  • To provide cutting-edge research and training on how sport can lead to measurable social, diplomatic, or economic change.
  • To ‘join the dots’, connecting individuals and organisations with a view to sharing costs, resources, and expertise on sports projects.
  • To prove that sport has the power to change the world. The Alliance can demonstrate the tangible impact of Sports Diplomacy and share strategies to deploy it.

Why work with us

We wrote the book on Sports Diplomacy

In 2018, our senior consultant Dr. Murray published Sports Diplomacy: Origins, Theory and Practice, the world’s first monograph on the subject. Considering he played football at a senior level, travelled the world for three years, and studied and worked in diplomacy, few others could have codified such a seminal text. Dr. Murray leads the Alliance’s global research team, who understand better than anyone how sport can be employed for mutual gain.

We have unrivalled Sports Diplomacy experience

Our global team is composed of the foremost Sports Diplomacy academics, diplomats, sportspeople, and entrepreneurs. Sport, commerce and diplomacy are central to our team’s lives, and have been for decades, in challenging facilities, conditions, and security situations the world over. We have decades of experience in consulting, business growth and sports tech, and write strategy, policy, courses, books and journals. Simply put, we provide specialist insight on Sports Diplomacy projects that international service firms like Deloitte or McKinsey can’t match.

We demonstrate Sports Diplomacy’s power with KPIs

Our vast experience in Sports Diplomacy has generated a large database of knowledge and field evidence. From this archive we have designed a range of in-house tools and programs to design, measure, and evaluate your Sports Diplomacy project. Whether you are looking for social, political, economic, or training KPIs, the Alliance can create a winning game plan.

  • Dr. Sarah Kelly
  • Co-Founder and Director

Dr. Kelly is a highly accomplished business leader with more than thirty years of commercial experience. This includes roles as a lawyer, strategy consultant, and researcher. She has served on a range of corporate, government and not-for-profit boards, across various industries, since 2013. Dr. Kelly is currently a non-executive director on several boards, including Deputy Chair of the Brisbane Lions AFL Football Club, Deputy Chair at Tourism and Events Queensland, and ASX-listed company, Australian Family Lawyers.

Dr. Kelly has led a sports technology accelerator in partnership with the Queensland government and The University of Queensland to mentor scaling technology companies. She is also the Queensland Chapter Leader for the Minerva Network, a social enterprise offering professional sportswomen mentorship opportunities with C-Suite businesswomen. This year, she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to tertiary education and sports administration.

  • Simon Szewach
  • Co-Founder and Director

Mr. Szewach has 15+ years of expertise in developing, commercialising, and validating sports technology, whilst identifying the latest trends in sports innovation. He has also managed numerous commercial partnerships with high-profile sporting ambassadors.

He is managing partner of The Legats Group, a firm specialising in sports technology investment. Mr. Szewach has also founded several companies in this space. This portfolio includes Gelteq, a global leader in manufacturing innovative ingestible oral-based gel products, with a key focus on sports science, athletic recovery, and performance technology. Another company he has founded is nTouch, one of the first companies to utilise proximity based technology for sports fan engagement.

Mr. Szewach graduated from Monash University with two Bachelor’s degrees, one in banking and finance and the other in Korean studies and language. He is a regular attendee and speaker at major international sporting events and industry conferences all over the globe.

  • Dr. Stuart Murray
  • Co-Founder

Dr. Murray is an Associate Professor in International Relations and Diplomacy at Bond University (Australia), a Global Fellow at the Academy of Sport at The University of Edinburgh (Scotland), an Honorary Member of the Centre for Sports Law, Policy and Diplomacy at the University of Rijeka (Croatia), and an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University (Australia). He is also an Associate Editor of Research Perspectives on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy for Brill Publishers (the Netherlands) and The Journal of Public Diplomacy (South Korea).

A globally respected editor, writer and speaker, Dr. Murray has dozens of peer reviewed publications, has authored Sports Diplomacy: Origins, Theory and Practice, and regularly advises governments, international institutions, and non-state actors on matters relating to diplomacy, international affairs, and sport.

A keen cyclist, swimmer, hiker, footballer, and golfer, he is a devoted fan of Motherwell F.C., The Gold Coast Titans, and the Scottish National Football Team.

  • Ms. Silvija Mitevska
  • Head of EU

Ms. Mitevska is the co-founder and president of the non-governmental organization Sport Social Solutions focusing on creating positive change through sport and sustainable development. Silvija was the advisor to the Prime minister of North Macedonia on sports and she has designed and developed numerous national sports policies and programs, particularly in the field of sports diplomacy. 

She is a certified leader from U.S .State Department Sports Diplomacy Program- Global Sports Mentoring Program and currently she is chairing the Commission on gender equality within the Olympic Committee of North Macedonia as well the Commission on sustainability at International Teqball Federation.

Silvija has co-authored Promoting a strategic approach to EU Sport Diplomacy and she is a member of the Advisory board of the chair at ELIS (Educational Linkage through International Sports), supported by UNESCO.

Silvija Mitevska was a professional paragliding pilot who has won numerous awards at national and European level. She is also a writer who has published two fiction books.

  • Mr. Gavin Price
  • Head of UK

Mr Price’s career spans 15+ years of experience in international trade, intercultural relations and leadership across the Australian, UK and international public sectors. He is an expert on sports diplomacy for small nations, a PhD candidate at Bond University (Australia), an Honorary Member of the Centre for Sports Law, Policy and Diplomacy at the University of Rijeka (Croatia) and co-author of the British Council’s research report: Towards a Welsh sports diplomacy strategy.

An internationally networked individual, Mr Price pioneered the innovative field of sports paradiplomacy, including successful projects involving government, business, the sportscape and academe in Wales (UK), the Basque Country and with other peak non-state sporting actors. An established writer and speaker, he has delivered publications, podcasts and lectures on topics as wide ranging as Australian and Asian Football Diplomacy and sports policy and practice in major nations.

A keen football, table tennis and futsal player, he is a devoted follower of Newport County F.C., Cymru – Welsh national football and rugby union teams, Dragons R.F.C. , Melbourne Victory F.C. and the Socceroos – Australian national football team.

Want to see how we put Sports Diplomacy into action?