FIFA is one of the most recognisable and well-known sports institutions. Many of us know its function as the organisation responsible for upholding the Laws of the Game and, in doing so, providing a common, simple language to support the unique, unifying power of football.
FIFA’s open and democratic structure gives the beautiful game the foundation it needs to grow and thrive. Founded in 1904 and based in Zurich, it has developed a commitment over the years to delivering development projects and activities, competitions and events. With 211 member associations, it is a truly global organisation with its influence very much felt throughout the world.
What is not so well-known is who the people are that keep this extraordinary institution ticking over. Who are the 'Faces of FIFA'? Where are they from? What do their roles entail? Why did they choose to work there? What exactly does it mean to work for international football's governing body?
Find out what Jorge, Andreja and Guillermo do at FIFA:
Why did you want to work for FIFA? I am a huge football fan and I love playing (although I am no Maradona). Sport in general and football in particular are a great tool to promote development and to build bridges between communities, so FIFA is the perfect place to combine my passion for football and my passion for international development.
Which footballer (or person involved in football) would you like to meet and why? Raúl, in my opinion one of the best football players ever and a Spanish legend. He was a true gentleman of the game and represented some of the most important values of sport, such as respect for one’s rivals, making sacrifices to become better every day and leading by example. I was lucky to watch him play many times for Real Madrid and to watch him score some fantastic goals that are now part of the history of the game.
Who is your favourite football team of all time? It has to be the Spanish national team that dominated world football between 2008 and 2012. In Spain we grew up with the idea that it was impossible to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament (it was even called the “curse of the quarter finals”), but the example of this team shows that nothing is impossible in football. The penalty win against Italy in 2008 was the beginning of this remarkable journey, which was led by legendary players such as Casillas, Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Xavi, Iniesta and Torres.
Why did you want to work for FIFA? I had worked at five Olympic and Paralympic Games in a little over ten years and when I left the Olympic Movement, it was time to find a new sports family, so for me it felt so natural to want to work for FIFA. I imagined that working for FIFA would mean working with uniquely talented people from around the world, and I wanted to be part of the energy and passion that FIFA transmits to the global football community.
What exactly do you do at FIFA? I work as a Knowledge Transfer Manager in FIFA`s Project and Knowledge Management team. Together with FIFA’s Project Management office, we launched the FWC Handbook project, covering the 64 FIFA World Cup projects. Subsequently, a FWC Knowledge Capture Video/Photo project was also launched. As a result, FIFA now has, for the first time, a database of World Cup handbooks, videos and photos relating to the operations of the FIFA World Cup.
Who is your favourite football team of all time? As a Carinthian Slovenian from Austria, I grew up with SAK Celovec/Klagenfurt, an Austrian football club based in Klagenfurt (Celovec), Carinthia, an important symbol of identification for the minority group. My father was one of its founding members. It is truly a showcase of how football has helped shape change and how the power of football has helped overcome people’s social and cultural differences in the region.
Why did you want to work for FIFA? It was a coincidence, I was at crossroads between staying in Switzerland and pursuing my way abroad. Just before joining FIFA, I’d finished a mission for the UNDP in Eastern Europe but when FIFA’s job advert appeared, I quickly decided to go for it and I’ve never regretted it.
What exactly do you do at FIFA? Mostly I organise travel services (flight bookings, accommodation, local transport) for FIFA colleagues, external delegates and match officials, as well as teams travelling to meetings, events and tournaments.
Which footballer (or person involved in football) would you like to meet and why? Lionel Messi, in my eyes he is one of the greatest players of all time, and especially because he comes from “my” city Rosario in Argentina, and he supports the same team, but I also admire other players, so I would be happy to meet stars like Iniesta, Buffon, Xavi or Pirlo.
Who is your favourite football team of all time? Newell’s Old Boys from Rosario, Argentina. As far as top international clubs are concerned, I support mainly Barcelona and Juventus.
What has been the highlight of your time at FIFA to date? The final of the 2014 World Cup at the Maracanã in Brazil… it was awesome to be there after travelling such a long way. On the pitch it didn’t finish the way I wanted, but Germany had an amazing tournament.
FIFA’s monthly magazine, FIFA 1904, provides insight into working at FIFA. Each edition includes FIFA team member profiles under the titles ‘Faces of FIFA’ (short interviews with three team members) and ‘A day in the life of’ (a more complete look into a day with a selected team member).
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