GENEVA (AP) — FIFA on Wednesday announced the hiring of its fourth different chief marketing executive in less than four years.
Former Juventus and United Arab Emirates league executive Romy Gai will take over as Chief Business Officer, soccer’s governing body said. Gai is taking over from Kay Madati, who is stepping down for personal reasons but will stay on during a transition period through June, FIFA said.
Madati, a former executive with Twitter and Facebook, will leave after less than a year in the role and just months before the World Cup in Qatar, which is worth more than $6 billion in commercial revenue to FIFA.
“This personal decision to focus on my family has not come lightly,” Madati said in a FIFA statement, “and I remain committed to collaborating closely with Romy to set him, our partners, and the entire FIFA team up for success as we collectively head towards a very special FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”
Madati’s exit was announced the day after he oversaw the launch of FIFA+, a new streaming service including live and World Cup archive games that is initially free to fans worldwide.
Gai’s role will include shaping a commercial strategy for the 2026 World Cup in North America that should earn huge revenues for FIFA and set records for average game attendance.
The expanded 48-team tournament will give FIFA 80 games to market instead of the current 64, with many being played in state-of-the-art NFL stadiums. Host cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico are being picked in the coming weeks.
FIFA currently has few commercial partners for the 2026 tournament and broad scope to innovate.
Long-term World Cup sponsors Adidas and Coca-Cola, plus Chinese firm Wanda, are signed up through the 2030 World Cup.
FIFA has now hired and let go two commercial chiefs since the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Former Champions League marketing head Simon Thomas was hired in 2019 and was replaced last year by Madati.
FIFA’s commercial operation for the 2018 tournament was managed by former UEFA executive Philippe Le Floc’h, whose departure for personal reasons was announced in 2019.
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