The Canadian insurance boss cleaning up football’s image

The Canadian insurance boss cleaning up football’s image | Insurance Business Canada

The Canadian insurance boss cleaning up football’s image
by Lucy Hook

The reputation of world football (soccer) has been obliterated in recent years, as a web of corruption and bribery involving many of the sport’s leading figures unravelled.

Now, a 50-year-old Canadian insurance risk manager who spent his career working for firms in Vancouver is heading up the task of rebuilding the sport’s tarnished image.

Vincent Montagliani is the new president of CONCACAF – the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football and the governing body for association football in the North America region.

At the height of the international scandal last year, which revealed corruption at the highest levels of the sport, CONCACAF’s Miami offices were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and a number of officials were indicted on counts of bribery, racketeering and corruption – including CONCACAF’s then-President Jeffrey Webb.

Montagliani, who was elected to become the new president in May last year and has also served as president of Canada Soccer since 2012, told The Guardian that cleaning up the confederation’s image is an ongoing process.

“Moving on doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It is daily, day-out and day-in. Eventually, you do come out of it but what we need to remember is that we don’t forget our history. We want to make sure that, from a confederation standpoint, history never repeats itself.”

The former insurance boss emphasised that he is working on changing the organisation from inside as well as out.
“The clean-up is not so much just governance,” he said. “That should be obvious to everybody. It is also a corporate clean up: how we do things; how we communicate; a lot of little things.

“I did a tour with our new general secretary last month to visit all our current sponsors and partners. More than one of them said to me that I was the first president to have ever gone to visit them. These are some of our sponsors that have been with us since the 1990s. A little thing like that makes a cultural change in the organization.”

Alongside making changes internally, Montagliani is working with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and football’s world body, FIFA, and said he hopes that there are no more skeletons in the confederation’s closet.

“Hopefully, there are no other crabs on the rocks for us. If there are we will deal with it and [the DOJ] will deal with it but we are going to do the right thing,” he remarked.

Ultimately, it’s passion that drives the executive to take on what many would see as an unappealing task.

“What motivates me more than anything is that it doesn’t matter if you are wearing a suit and are a sports executive or any of that,” Montagliani said.

“I still feel sometimes like a little 12-year-old boy, sitting in front of the TV screaming at his favorite team. I have to remind people of that, because this job is not always like the corporate world where you are doing things because of a bottom line and there are shareholders.”

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