Profile: Football's Social Conscience - Eelco Van der Noll Global Marketing Director, FIFA

Article excerpt

FIFA's jovial global marketing director Eelco van der Noll has plenty to smile about, not least an idyllic lifestyle at his lakeside home in Zurich, where he resides with his wife and two children.

'We live in a beautiful country,' he says. 'In the winter it's skiing. It's great to see your five-year-old son skiing and I think he'll be better than me in two years' time. In the summer, we rent a little motorboat and take it out on the lake.'

Having begun his career with Canon in his native Holland, the 41-year-old's subsequent roles have taken him to London, Paris, New York and Zurich, where he has worked on the Olympic Games, Formula One World Championships, and football's UEFA European Championships and Champions League. Next up is the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - the fifth on which he has worked and his second while at the governing body.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter described 2006 as an exceptional year for the organisation financially, but van der Noll, who is fluent in three languages, is not about to rest on his laurels. 'It was the end of a successful four-year cycle. Everybody wants to improve and everybody wants to grow,' he says.

Van der Noll hopes further growth will be achieved through a remodelled sponsorship structure, which comprises three strands: FIFA partners, FIFA World Cup partners and national supporters. He explains that the model was created by paying close attention to the wishes of FIFA's existing partners and meeting the demands of the sponsorship market.

Having accepted that sponsors wanted to operate in a less cluttered space, van der Noll says that is exactly what he has given them. 'Brands such as Coca-Cola and Sony indicated that the fewer partners there were, the better. They don't compete directly, but they do compete for space.'

The overhauled structure bears some resemblance to that for the Olympic Games, which has numerous partners at both a global and domestic level. Six FIFA partner deals are in place, but van der Noll is now seeking between three and five more FIFA World Cup sponsors to join McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch and South African telecoms company MTN. …