Jérôme Valcke is FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s right hand man as the Secretary General of the world soccer governing body. As such, the recent scandal and criminal investigations in to top FIFA executives has hit at the credibility of those at the highest levels.
Valcke is one such person, and he’s even a person under the investigative microscope in the United States. However, in his role the biggest thing is ensuring the future of the organization is set right.
One move to set things right appears to be in motion, as the New York Times is reporting that Valcke is going to exit stage right with the man he’s been linked at the hip with since 2007 — Sepp Blatter.
Yet, that’s not the real story. After all, even Valcke sees the writing on the wall there.
“If I would be the next FIFA president, I would take a new general secretary, so yes, whoever becomes president should have a new general secretary because it is the most important relationship for any organization,” said Mr. Valcke, via the NYT article.
Instead, the real story is buried further in the article — that being the fact that FIFA is having trouble not just with smaller sponsors, but with major ones ahead of new contract talks.
“The current situation doesn’t help to finalize any new agreements — that is a fact,” Mr. Valcke said.
Those major sponsors in question? Coca Cola, Visa and McDonald’s.
Considering the length of sponsorship and global reach of those three companies, any doubt is not a good sign for FIFA.
It all underscores one truth going forward. The organizations next steps need to be the smart ones. It can’t hide behind old processes or old ways of doing things anymore. New sponsors aren’t going to want anything to do with FIFA if it plays by the old rules and old sponsors are keenly aware of what damage an association with any more corruption within FIFA can do to their brands.
Vlacke’s admission of sponsorship trouble isn’t wholly shocking, but it underscores just how difficult the next few months and years are going to be for this rotten to the core organization.
Maybe the sponsorship flack is the kick in the butt this group needs? Given FIFA’s history, we’re likely in for a bumpy ride ahead, and don’t be surprised to see sponsors driving a lot more of the change needed in the future either.