What: Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio took some time to discuss the federation’s initiatives coming out of World Cup and looking towards France 2019, Qatar 2022 and beyond.
Why it matters: Changing the culture of the federation across the entire region has been the hallmark of Moggio’s two years at the helm, and a stronger and more unified Concacaf benefits marketers looking to connect.
Concacaf (@Concacaf ), one of the six global FIFA (@FIFAcom) federations, administering soccer in 41 nations in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, continues its stated vision, “For the Love of Our Game,” under the administration of General Secretary Philippe Moggio (@PMoggio). The Colombian former NBA Senior VP and managing director of Latin America and the Caribbean has instituted sweeping changes in how the federation operates in his two-plus years at the helm, notably a sizable increase in competitions throughout its footprint and updated branding.
Moggio discussed his achievements, vision and his NBA experience in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with Portada this month.
Portada: What do you consider to be the most significant achievement at Concacaf since your appointment two years ago?
Phillipe Moggio: We have made tremendous progress over the last two years. And for us, our biggest accomplishment as we continue changing the culture of our organization is that the discussion across our 41 member nations is, for the first ever, purely about football.
We have made substantial strides in rebuilding Concacaf into a credible, transparent, well-governed organization. We have been heavily focused on reform and good governance while upholding the values of transparency and accountability. In addition, with the aim of providing more access to football for more Member Associations, players and fans, we have also expanded our national teams’ competitions, including Gold Cup and most recently, the Concacaf Nations League, and our club tournaments, including the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, the Scotiabank Concacaf League, and the Caribbean Club Championships.
As a result of these important changes, I think Concacaf is today well positioned for strong, long-term growth and success.
Portada: What are some of the programs or initiatives at Concacaf that were most influenced by your work at the NBA?
P.M.: The NBA is an incredible organization, where I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best leaders in sports, including current Commissioner Adam Silver and former Commissioner, David Stern. From them, I learned that the integrity of the game is a top priority, and that this integrity needs to be preserved through the implementation of strong governance and transparent practices. I also learned at the NBA that to grow a sport you need to ensure you work hand in hand with the right strategic partners and that to continue engaging current and new fans and staying relevant, you need to continuously innovate and push the envelope from a content development and distribution perspective.
Similarly, at Concacaf, we have established good governance processes to ensure the integrity and transparency of our organization and the preservation of our game, supported by a new organizational structure. We have also implemented efficient business processes to improve operational performance and designed a new corporate identity. And to support the growth of our game and our business, we have been very focused on the expansion of our national and club competitions as well as on putting in place the right football development initiatives across professional football, youth development, coaching education and refereeing.
Portada: What are the goals of the new branding of Concacaf?
P.M.: We proudly launched the renewal of our brand in March to better represent the collective best of the individual cultures of our 41 member nations and the “Love for Our Game” that we all share. Brought together by the vision and power of working as one, this new brand represents four core pillars we have identified as central to all Concacaf efforts, which include Unity – we are One Concacaf family, representing the best of our 41 individual and beautiful cultures; Football – the game always comes first; Quality – we are here to raise our game every day, making football better for every team, every time; and Access – in our game, everyone gets to play and everyone in our family should feel connected and respected.
These key pillars, represented in our new logo through the four sides of a diamond, with 41 diamonds coming together in a circle, guide our decision making across all areas of the organization. It is a way of telling ourselves that what we are doing is consistent with who we are as a brand. Unity, Football, Quality, Access. If it doesn’t have these qualities, it isn’t Concacaf. And it isn’t our game. This is what our brand is all about and what our slogan “Love for Our Game” represents.
Portada: Which competitions will be taking place under the Concacaf umbrella that fans can look forward to? Where will those take place?
P.M.: We are very focused on making football more accessible to more teams, players and fans across our region while raising the quality of our competitions. This second half of the year, our fans can look forward to a number of exciting competitions as we are hosting, and fully producing for media distribution, over 260 matches across men’s and women’s national team tournaments and youth competitions.
First, we are incredibly excited for the debut of our Concacaf Nations League Qualifying phase in September. The Concacaf Nations League (@CNationsLeague) is a new national team competition focused on improving the quality and standing of national team soccer within the Concacaf region. The development of this new competition, has been anchored on the principles of providing more meaningful games to our 41 Member Associations’ senior men’s national teams during a full FIFA World Cup qualifying cycle to increase competitiveness and spurring development of the sport on and off the field. The sixty-eight-match qualifying phase of this tournament will take place during the four FIFA match windows of September, October and November 2018 and March 2019.
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Our 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship is scheduled to be played on October 4-17, in Cary, NC, Edinburg, Texas, and Frisco, Texas. The two finalists and winner of the third and fourth place match will automatically qualify to the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year in France and the fourth place team will play a home and away playoff against Argentina in November.
We also have the new Scotiabank Concacaf League. This 16 team professional club competition is currently underway throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The 2018 Scotiabank Concacaf League champion will earn a ticket to the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League to be played in the spring, joining clubs that have qualified from across the region, including top teams from MLS in the U.S. and Canada and from Liga MX in Mexico.
In addition, we are preparing for the largest ever Concacaf Under-20 tournament which will be played at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida, on November 1-21, 2018. Thirty-four teams from our region will compete in this men’s youth championship to earn one of four spots in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland.
And looking forward to next summer, 15 venues across 13 U.S. metropolitan cities will welcome the 2019 edition of the expanded Concacaf Gold Cup, which includes a pan-regional footprint with the upcoming selection of additional venues in the Caribbean and Central America.
Portada: What can Concacaf take from the 2018 FIFA World Cup results of member nations, heading into the 2022?
P.M.: We are very proud to have been represented by Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia and to have had one of our members, Panama, qualify to a FIFA World Cup for the first time ever. Together with our 41 members, we are working very hard on raising the competitive level across our region, and we believe that the expansion of our Concacaf Gold Cup and the creation of Concacaf Nations League, will give our national teams the opportunity to compete more and on a more consistent basis, we will see an improvement in Concacaf’s teams performance in Qatar 2022.