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Zvonimir Boban leaving FIFA to become AC Milan’s Chief Football Officer

FIFA Management Board Portraits, Zvonimir Boban
© FIFA via Getty Images

FIFA Deputy Secretary General (Football) Zvonimir Boban has decided to join AC Milan as the club’s Chief Football Officer and will therefore leave FIFA in the coming days.

The 50-year-old Croatian has been working as FIFA’s Deputy Secretary General (Football) and as an advisor to the FIFA President on strategic football matters since 2016. As he prepares to leave his position at the Home of FIFA, Zvonimir reflected on his time at world football’s governing body:

“I will always be grateful to FIFA President Gianni Infantino for the opportunity he gave me after his election in 2016. True to his manifesto pledge to ‘bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football’, he had the courage to entrust a former footballer with such a far reaching role within the organisation.”

During his spell at FIFA, Zvonimir has been involved in many reforms that are set to leave a mark on football history and that have helped to restore the organisation’s image. 

“I feel really honoured and privileged to have worked on such important projects to take FIFA back to its rightful place, far away from past scandals and a tarnished image. Looking back, I feel a real sense of accomplishment about my contribution to these big changes over the last three years.

"I have been entrusted with leading important projects such as the revamp of the FIFA Club World Cup and the successful bidding process for the FIFA World Cup 2026™, as well as the revolutionary VAR project, which has managed to make the beautiful game fairer and protect its integrity.

"None of this could have been achieved without the support of the President and amazing colleagues who are dedicated to serving the game of football across the globe. There may have been some debates along the way, but we have always upheld our motto of ‘Living Football’ and I will be eternally thankful to everyone.”

FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban shoots and scores
© Getty Images

Following three years in Zurich, Zvonimir is returning to Milan and the club where he spent most of his playing career, winning four Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League.

“It is extremely difficult to leave FIFA, but I followed my heart and my passion when making this decision, as was the case when I accepted the challenge of joining FIFA. 

"The people at AC Milan are my family and the city of Milan and Italy are my home. I have a burning desire to help this glorious club, which means so much to me, to return where it belongs. Zurich now also has a special place in my heart after three wonderful years in Switzerland.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino paid tribute to Zvonimir as a person and professional, noting that his departure represents a great loss:

“I cannot thank Zvonimir enough for everything he has done for FIFA and football over the last three years by our side. His dedication to football and enthusiasm are incredible and he has been an invaluable asset for FIFA. Nobody embodies football better than he does and he has always worked for the good of the game.” 

“Many of the positive changes that we have made over the last three years could not have been achieved without Zvone. He has shown the same commitment, heart and passion at FIFA that characterised his attitude on the pitch. We will miss him a lot at FIFA, but I wish him the same success in his new challenge at his beloved club,” said the FIFA President.

Zvonimir will attend the FIFA U-20 World Cup final in Poland on Saturday together with President Infantino. This appearance at the U-20 World Cup will be rife with symbolism, as an 18-year-old Boban won the FIFA World Youth Championship – the predecessor to the current tournament – with the former Yugoslavian national team in 1987. Moreover, Zvonimir had a decisive role in the victory over Germany in the final, scoring with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box in the 85th minute and then converting the winning penalty in the subsequent shoot-out.