CANADIAN soccer boss Victor Montagliani was elected president of CONCACAF North and Central America and the Caribbean’s ruling soccer authority on Thursday May 12.
A day later FIFA, the world’s most powerful sporting body, named its first ever woman secretary general.
Montagliani already had a hand in helping clean up FIFA and will continue to wield a big shovel in his new role as president reports the CP news agency.
The 50-year-old from Vancouver beat Bermuda Football Association president Larry Mussenden 25-16 in a vote to oversee the scandal-ridden soccer confederation.
“Our members have voted in favor of reform, and I am committed to ensuring CONCACAF rebuilds its credibility with the football world and to position and ready the organization to deal effectively with the evolving global game,” said Montagliani
Of CONCACAF’s three previous presidents, two are awaiting sentencing and a third is fighting extradition on charges arising from the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into corruption in world football.
Montagliani, acclaimed the previous Saturday for a second four-year term as president of the Canadian Soccer Association, already had good ties with FIFA and Thursday’s election win moves him further into world soccer’s inner circle.
CONCACAF’s president is automatically a FIFA vice-president and member of FIFA’s ruling executive committee, which is being renamed the FIFA council.
He confirmed that he will not see out his term as CSA president, as CONCACAF statutes mandate he must step down as association head within a year.
Montagliani served as the CONCACAF representative on the FIFA reform panel that helped rewrite the governing body’s rules. He was also part of a special committee tasked with going over the confederation’s business operations in the wake of the worldwide scandal.
Montagliani, who speaks English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, says he met with 33 or 34 of the 41 CONCACAF members during his election campaign.
Tricia Smith, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, welcomed Montagliani’s appointment saying the “well-deserved” election victory was the result of his “multi-layered platform of reform.”
Canadian women’s captain Christine Sinclair Twitted “Moving the game in the right direction,”.
The new CONCACAF president wants to bring the 2026 World Cup to the region, with Canada looking to be part of a “collaborative strategy,” likely with Mexico and the U.S.
“I think it’s very realistic,” he said of a CONCACAF bid.
Montagliani’s immediate priority is ensuring the Centennial Copa America runs smoothly in the United States next month. Montagliani has also pledged to resurrect a Caribbean league and tackle infrastructure challenges in Central America.
CONCACAF, along with the South American confederation, had US$10 million of funding from FIFA halted.
FIFA has agreed to free the funds but Montagliani now has to get it released by convincing the global body that CONCACAF has completely cleaned up its act and won’t be charged as an entity by U.S. authorities.
Jeffrey Webb, a Cayman Islands banker, was thrown out of office after being arrested last May and his interim successor, Honduran lawyer Alfredo Hawit, was also indicted in December. They have both pleaded guilty in the U.S. and are awaiting sentencing.
Jack Warner, the president from 1990 to 2011, has also been indicted but is fighting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago