Portugal national team spokesman Onofre Costa will be the new Chief Communications Officer of FIFA, the world governing body for football.
In a statement, FIFA said: “We welcome Onofre on board, while expressing our heartfelt gratitude to Fabrice for his years of good services and wishing him success in his future endeavours.”
Costa has previously worked as the spokesman for current FIFA president Gianni Infantino during his election campaign for the presidency in 2016.
Costa has also been present at major football tournaments with the Portuguese national team. He has been in charge for media strategy for the ultimately unsuccessful Portugal-Spain joint bid for the 2018 World Cup.
A FIFA spokesperson, explaining the latest changing of the guard, has stated: “FIFA can confirm that Portuguese national Onofre Costa has been appointed as FIFA’s chief communications officer. A seasoned executive with extensive experience in the world of football administration, Onofre Costa will take up his position today, 1 April 2019.
“Costa’s predecessor Fabrice Jouhaud will conduct a comprehensive handover process with Onofre until mid-April, by when Fabrice has decided to leave FIFA after having been at the helm of the FIFA Communications Division since August 2016.
“We welcome Onofre on board, while expressing our heartfelt gratitude to Fabrice for his years of good services and wishing him success in his future endeavours.”
However, FIFA communication chief’s role is said to have a limited shelf life.
This may be connected to the fact that senior officials such as former president Sepp Blatter developed a strategy in which their own visibility was enmeshed in the way they wanted the world to view FIFA, keirradnedge.com has reported.
This led directly to the downfall of the long-serving Blatter. Even his own acknowledged media dexterity could not save him from the corruption tsunami which swept away most of FIFA’s senior directors and executives in 2015 and 2016.
In very different old days ‘press officer’ – as the job was then entitled– was merely one of the roles undertaken in the 1970s and early 1980s by assistant general secretary Rene Courte from Luxembourg. A full-time appointee was made in Swiss Guido Tognoni in 1984 and he was followed in 1995 by Englishman Keith Cooper.
Blatter replaced Cooper in 2002 with Swiss sports journalist Markus Siegler and then, in 2008, by Hans Klaus who had been head of crisis response at Swissair.
The sense of an operation paranoid about criticism was enhanced by the appointment of a former war correspondent in Walter De Gregorio, another Swiss journalist, in 2011. He was sacked after a joke in a Swiss TV interview about his bosses backfired spectacularly in the midst of the FIFAGate scandal in mid-2015