By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – CONCACAF could change its name to create a new brand image and distance itself from a “toxic” past, the president of the body that governs soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean said on Wednesday.
“We’re going to go through an exhaustive process in terms of both brand, just the logo itself, and if you are going to look at the logo you might as well look at the name as well,” Victor Montagliani told Reuters.
“Is it (the name) conducive to the brand, do we need to change so it’s a little bit more slick?,” the Canadian said at the Leaders sport business conference at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground.
“Obviously there has been some toxic waste there,” he added. “But it’s more looking forward…”
Montagliani, elected in May, said the issue was on the agenda at CONCACAF’s last council meeting.
The Miami-based confederation has been at the center of a corruption scandal that has engulfed world soccer, during which 42 individuals and entities have been charged in the United States on a variety of graft-related offences.
Three past CONCACAF presidents, Trinidad and Tobago’s Jack Warner, Cayman Islander Jeffrey Webb and Honduran Alfredo Hawit, have been charged.
The body voted for wide-ranging reforms in February, including a new independent ethics committee.
Montagliani, also a vice-president of FIFA, said taking the helm had been eye-opening and the days when a president could do things “with a wink and a nod” were over.
CONCACAF last hosted a World Cup in 1994, in the United States, and Montagliani said it was time to bring the tournament back to the region in 2026.
Whether that should be a regional bid, or by one of the three big powers Mexico, the United States and Canada, remained open.
“The more I think of it the more it (a regional bid) makes a lot of sense…it would probably be consistent with how we govern soccer in our region,” he said.
Montagliani backed FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s suggestion that the tournament expand to 48 countries in 2026, with an initial knockout stage and then a 32 team group stage.
“I think it’s obvious it’s not going to stay at 32 for 2026,” said the Canadian.
“The reality is that we need to look from a global perspective…should we expand? I think the answer is probably yes and now it’s what’s the format and all that and it has to work from a numbers and a business standpoint.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)