Being a power player in the landscape of world football is arguably the most prosperous position one can have. The sport not only generates billions in revenue year after year, but also has a global reach that can seamlessly cross cultural and socio-economic boundaries.
As the game continues to evolve at a rapid pace, both on and off the field, the men at the top hold a heavy responsibility to ensure that the spirit and integrity of the game is upheld, and simultaneously making sure it remains a commercially viable entity. These are the five most powerful people in world football.
Since Scudamore was appointed as CEO of the Premier League in 1999, he has been responsible for negotiating broadcasting and sponsorship contracts worth in excess of €5.87 billion. The League's matches were available to watch in over 200 countries as a result of the broadcast agreements put in place by Scudamore and his colleagues
Scudamore has also been progressive in expanding the Premier League’s reach, at one point even proposing to play one additional league match per season overseas. Now, Scudamore is leading an effort to save clubs from accumulating debt, and is looking to keep the world’s most popular league on solid footing.
Love him or hate him, Sepp Blatter is the boss of world football. Since Blatter took over in 1998, he has applied many initiatives, including the ‘silver-goal’ rule, the automatic yellow for shirt removal, and the removal of the automatic World Cup berth for the defending champion.
But Blatter’s power seemingly stems more from his near-complete autonomy, and the recent allegations of bribery and corruption have tainted his legacy . His credibility with many seems to be lost, but because of his position Blatter still has the ability to punish those who are too forceful in their objections. Blatter has stated that he will step down in 2015, and more than a few people are hoping that he is true to his word.
In January 2007, Platini rose to the post of President of UEFA. Platini has been known to hold a lot of credibility in the football boardroom, particularly because of his playing background.
But Platini may be undertaking his biggest initiative yet with the implementation of Financial Fair Play. The objective of Financial Fair Play is to encourage long-term investment, and essentially protect clubs from themselves when it comes to spending and keeping up with the biggest clubs. The latest benchmark report indicates that 46 teams would have needed to improve their finances in order to avoid penalties, but Platini hopes that by 2014 all UEFA teams will be within €30 million of breaking even, and teams seem to be responding positively.
Messi is the first football player in history to win four Ballons d’Or, all of which he won consecutively. He also has five La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, five Supercopas de Espana, three Champions League, two Super Cups and two Club World Cups on his mantle.
At just 25, the sky is the limit for Messi. Although he is not one for the media spotlight, Messi is the most popular player in the world, and when it’s all said and done could end up being the best player ever. If he can manage to find international success in the form of a World Cup trophy, then Messi could end up at the top of this list.
Even though the recent reports about the Qatar Dream League turned out to be false, it certainly never seemed like an outrageous idea based on the seemingly limitless resources of the small nation. Whether the plan was feasible or not, it’s hard to believe that an idea like this has not crossed the mind of the Qatar’s football leaders, nor is it hard to believe it’s the last we’ll hear of something like it.
Specifically within Qatar, the royal family already bought Spanish side Malaga in 2010, and in December 2010 after being awarded the World Cup in 2022, the Qatar Foundation reached a five-year €150 million shirt deal with Barcelona. There were even reports in 2011 of the family offering the Glazers €1.89 billion for Manchester United.