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100 Most Influential People In Football: 60-41

Fri 31st Mar 2017 | Football Governance

To celebrate 100 issues of fcbusiness magazine, we’ve compiled a list of the 100 most influential people in the business of football since 2004.

fcbusiness launched in September 2004, and since then a lot has changed in football for better and worse. The game today is very different from what it was then, with new stadium technology, increased business and operational awareness and advances in player performance to changes in football governance and financial management.

But who have been the people behind these developments? We count down from 60 to 41.


60. Hans-Joachim Eckert

Elected to the FIFA Ethics Committee in 2011 but was widely criticised for his handling of the Garcia Report in 2014.


59. Jerome Valcke

Former General Secretary


Valcke was banned from football for 10 years in 2016 for his alleged involvement in a scheme to profit from World Cup ticket sales.


58. Vitaly Mutko

Minister for Sport


Mutko was chair of Russia’s successful World Cup 2018 bid and is president of the Russian Football Federation.


57. Loretta Lynch

U.S. Attorney General

United States Supreme Court

Lynch rose to prominence when she launched the US Department of Justice’s investigation into widespread corruption at FIFA.


56. Silvio Berlusconi


AC Milan

The Italian president owned AC Milan for over 30yrs before selling to Chinese investors in 2016.


55. Lennart Johansson

Former President


Johansson transformed UEFA from administrative body to modern business enterprise during his 17 years in charge, before making way for Michel Platini in 2007.


54. Damian Collins MP


Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Collins has consistently led the call for government intervention in the reform of The FA, largely (and perhaps frustratingly) to deaf ears of people from his own party.


53. Lydia Nsekera


Burundi Football Association

Already a pioneer in African football, Lydia became the first woman to be co-opted onto the FIFA Council in 2012, before being elected for a full four-year term in 2013, also the first woman to achieve this.


52. Peter Kay


Sporting Chance

Along with Tony Adams, Peter was responsible for founding/managing the clinic that has helped countless sports men and women cope with addictions and depression (creating crucial public dialogue on these issues), before his untimely death in 2013, at the age of
just 52.


51. Maurice Watkins



The former Manchester United director has served across football in its boom years, involved in high value deals and high profile cases, both as a legal practitioner and as a board/ committee member.


50. Andrew Jennings


Author and reporter best known for his dogged investigations into widespread corruption at both the IOC and FIFA.


49. Moya Dodd


Asian Football Confederation

In 2013, lawyer and ex-Australian international, Moya Dodd became the first woman to be elected to the FIFA Executive Committee and is chair of the women’s football task force.


48. Claudio Ranieri


Leicester City FC

Took Leicester City from 5000/1 outsiders to Premier League title winners in 2016. But there’s no room for sentiment in football and was sacked in Feb 2017 after a run of poor performances.


47. Miles Jacobson

Studio Director

SI Games

Studio manager at Sports Interactive Football Manager game (that brought data and scouting together), he became more widely known for outthinking the UK government over the potential impact of Brexit.


46. Geraint Williams



Geraint has been instrumental in shaping fan engagement and commercial platforms in stadia, having installed the first LED screen in UK football (Villa Park, 1997) and pioneered perimeter LED advertising. Also the brain behind stadium connectivity, which helped drive the value of Premier League broadcast rights.


45. Don Garber



Garber has driven the expansion of the MLS to 22 teams in 2017, with further growth expected.


44. Joyce Cook


Level Playing Field

A passionate advocate of equality and inclusion in sports with Level Playing Field, in November 2016 Joyce Cook took up the role of FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer.


43. Kia Joorabchian


Media Sports Investments

The man responsible for bringing Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to England in 2006. The arrangement was via 3rd party ownership, common in South America, but would be subsequently banned in the Premier League and FIFA.


42. Stan Kroenke

Majority Shareholder

Arsenal FC

The American has steadily increased his stake in the North London club which runs a stong economic model with cash reserves but fans are disgruntled at the lack of progress on the playing side.


41. Michael Garcia



Commissioned by FIFA in 2012 to investigate the bidding process of the World Cups in 2018 and 2022. His 350 page report was then blocked for publication for ‘legal reasons’.


Have your say on social media using #fcbusiness100

Top 100 people 40 to 21

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

If you have any football business related news stories you’d like to share then please contact us – agourley@fcbusiness.co.uk

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