Sport

Concacaf steps up its game

...New HQ seen as symbol of refreshed, pragmatic administration

Friday, November 16, 2018

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THE official opening of Concacaf's new headquarters in downtown Miami is seen as emblematic of the confederation's ongoing efforts to improve efficiency and drive development across the game.

At an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new location in the heart of the city's business district on Wednesday, Fifa President Gianni Infantino joined Concacaf President Victor Montagliani, General Secretary Philippe Moggio and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in leading proceedings of the momentous occasion.

But as presidents of the 41-member sub-continental grouping, corporate partners and staff revelled in the inauguration of what will stand to be a monument of regional football's administration, it was Concacaf Chief Montagliani who was truly in proverbial “seventh heaven”.

“First of all, geographically it's a great location (Miami) as it is easy to get to by all our members from the Caribbean and Central America, and obviously us in North America… but also Miami is a city that represents that wonderful Caribbean spirit and the influence of the Caribbean here is great, coupled with the passion of Latin America and the entrepreneurial spirit of North America, so Miami captures all of this,” he said at the elegant early evening function.

The previous location in close by Miami Beach, Montagliani explained, was not in keeping with the new spirit that is being cultivated to drive the One Concacaf Vision.

“First of all the last office was not user-friendly, was not really functional, was not in an ideal location… but this new office has the look of football, smells like football and much more user-friendly, for not only our staff, but also for our members who can come in and use it… this new space really ticks all the boxes,” said a beaming Montagliani.

The confederation believes cornerstone initiatives like the Nations League, the expanded Gold Cup, the new Miami headquarters, the NextPlay programme stand as symbols of the changing face of Concacaf. So, too, its multicultural outlook, which is in tandem with the very heart of Miami.

“What you are seeing is that Concacaf has started to mirror itself, you see it in our administration and you see people from all our regions and in all facets of the organisation and this just personifies what we are.

“It's the way we treat people, and I think that is key as we are an organisation that has a high level of empathy... we are respectful, we demand respect, but we also give respect, and I think Concacaf is showing a different way of doing business, and our new office is a testimony to this,” Montagliani noted.

General Secretary Moggio says the new headquarters, acquired through a multi-year lease arrangement “is another step into our evolution”.

“The new office is a physical demonstration that we want to serve our members better… also it is great from an access perspective as our presidents can come in and they are welcome and they will know that it is their home,” said Moggio.

The French-Colombian agreed that the city of Miami is perfectly centralised for optimum service for a variety of reasons.

“When you look at multinationals from Latin America and the Caribbean, you have to ask yourself, what is the best hub? And ultimately when we have to focus and cover the entire Caribbean, Central America and North America, this ends up being a pretty central location, so I think from a commuting perspective a lot of our federations come through Miami… and as we continue to work with Fifa, there are a lot of direct flights into Europe, but beyond that with all of what is happening in Miami from a developmental and football perspective where we see an MLS franchise (Miami FC) coming here, teams coming to practice and develop here through different academies, then we want to be at the centre of that,” Moggio told the Jamaica Observer.

The general secretary says moving into a new office brings into focus some long-term goals, including a permanent home for the confederation.

“This multi-year lease gives us the right frame of mind to start thinking more strategic and more on a permanent location… we would love to have additional facilities where we can develop, whether it is a pitch, a place where we can bring in referees or even have competitions, so I think over time we will plan to develop that kind of footprint, but obviously we are not there yet,” said Moggio.

Fifa president, Infantino, in address, said: “It's a great honour to be in this global city and to be a part of (the official opening) of this new and modern headquarters of Concacaf, which says what Concacaf is about… it represents a new chapter of football in this wonderful region.”

Miami Mayor Francis thinks his city and Concacaf share similar characteristics, which make for symbiotic relationship.

“The City of Miami has established itself as a world-class global destination, as evidenced by the arrival of international organisations like Concacaf... Concacaf's mission to unite diverse cultures over the game of football aligns with Miami's position as a uniquely diverse and multicultural city,” he said shortly before handing Montagliani the key to the city in a ceremonial exchange of gifts.

“This is indeed a watershed moment for sport in Miami, and soccer in particular… there was a time when baseball, basketball and football dominated our city, but everywhere you go these days, the kids are playing soccer,” he added.

The office, which offers Concacaf's 41-member associations and key stakeholders a more centralised location and easier access to a major transit hub, houses over 50 employees across the general secretariat and multiple divisions of the operational structure.

– Sean Williams

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