Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Disfunctional Family now Works...

With Jerome Valcke as the new head of the family, the group of Confederations' General Secretaries now takes on a new functional character by contrast to previous administrations where this body achieved very little.

Other than the original activity of designing the International Calendar (which ended up being a replica of the European Champions schedule), this group had been pressed into service by previous General Secretaries but with little accomplished. Linsi would preside over the group by simply running through the Exco Agenda topics and trying to justify each item, without ever listening to the cumulative experience in the room.

Michelle Zen Ruffinen was restricted in his application of the group since it had become perceived as a political counterbalance to the President as the General Secretary tried to maintain some identity for his office which was rapidly disappearing during his administration. During Blatter's days as GS, the body was non-functional due to the ongoing Swiss Wars, the street warfare fought between buildings in Zurich and Bern (the earlier home of UEFA) then Nyon, and little was done other than deal with the deluge of snipping between Aigner and Blatter.

The General Secretaries of the six Confederations visited FIFA on Tuesday 29 April 2008 for a meeting with FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke. Besides Valcke from left to right are: Tai Nicholas (OFC), Eduardo Deluca (CONMEBOL), Paul Mony Samuel (AFC), David Taylor (UEFA), Chuck Blazer (CONCACAF), Mustapha Fahmy (CAF).

Today was something else. Jerome was in a room where he found a friendly supportive environment. For the first time in memory, the UEFA General Secretary was there with the intent to be constructive and collaborating. David Taylor is a welcome change and enables the body to refocus its attention on macro issues and better understanding. David joins three elder statesmen with Fahmy, Deluca and myself each serving for almost two decades in their respective roles and enjoying a true friendship that time alone can establish. Tai Nicholas representing a unique territory of island nations who without Australia is now working on reconciling the impact of that departure to Asia on their competitions and place in the world of football. The missing figure of Peter Vellapan, the 30 year General Secretary of Asia and wonderful resource and friend has been replaced by his well experienced colleague Paul Mony Samuel.

I am happy to say that there was a true dialog. With that dialog comes better understanding and I offer my full compliments to Jerome Valcke in making his colleagues feel relevant and consequently assure himself of the support that he and FIFA needs to accomplish their worldwide objectives.

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