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FIFA hires former Champions League exec as commercial chief

September 2, 2019

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has hired a former Champions League marketing executive to run its commercial department.

The governing body said Monday it recruited Simon Thomas as chief commercial officer to replace Philippe Le Floc’h, who oversaw World Cup sponsor sales since 2016.

Thomas has been CEO of Switzerland-based agency TEAM Marketing, which has exclusive rights from UEFA to sell Champions League broadcast and sponsorship deals.

His move to FIFA reunites a working relationship with FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Thomas’ two-year spell as TEAM CEO was during Infantino’s six-year stint as UEFA general secretary.

Thomas’ career includes spells working for Nike in Australia and with the local organizing committee in Sydney ahead of the 2000 Olympics. He was also global head of sport for the international Fox Sports Channel.

FIFA said Le Floc’h, also a former UEFA executive, chose to leave for personal reasons and will continue his career in Asia.

Thomas will be expected to shape a commercial strategy for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. FIFA currently has eight 2022 sponsors in the top two tiers, which have typically included 12 to 14 deals. No third-tier sponsors have yet been signed.

FIFA has also considered creating a separate, stand-alone strategy for the 2023 edition of the Women’s World Cup.

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