English soccer’s governing Football Association has begun the recruitment process for a new head of commercial partnerships, to replace incumbent Dan Kiddle, who is leaving that role to join the Pitch International sports agency. 

In a job advert posted earlier this week, the English FA has given the key accountabilities for the role: partnerships; retail and licensing; taking charge of the Wembley Stadium tour process; and operating stadium events. 

Kiddle had been in the role since March 2014, having previously worked as head of partnerships and marketing at Premiership Rugby, and before that as head of sponsorship at Barclays Bank. No timeline or details of his role at Pitch have yet been announced.

The FA has listed the essential qualifications for the role as prior experience within a similar environment in the sports industry; experience of negotiating and concluding deals; proven experience in “identifying and exploiting revenue opportunities”; and the ability to work in a “cross-functional delivery model.”

An understanding of sponsorship measurement techniques and experience in planning and delivering activation campaigns are listed as desirable qualifications.

The chosen candidate will be responsible for “the active management of commercial partnerships, ensuring delivery of rights and supporting partners’ key activation programmes” across the FA’s sponsorship portfolio. 

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In terms of retail and licensing, the new head will be responsible for “the revenues and strategic management of the FA’s retail and licensing operations”, with the FA’s partnership with sportswear giant NIKE specifically mentioned as one of the key areas of activity in this sector.

Aside from Nike, the FA’s top-tier partners include telecoms giant BT (the organisation’s main sponsor), the Emirates airline, energy provider EE, the Budweiser beer brand, and fast food giant McDonalds. 

These partnerships span a range of competitions and teams organised by the FA, including the England men’s, women’s and age-group national teams, both men’s and women’s historic FA Cups, and the Women’s Super League, which is directly controlled by the governing body. 

Barclays, the UK-based bank, became the WSL’s first title sponsor in June 2019. 

In terms of Wembley Stadium events meanwhile, the chosen candidate will be expected to “build relationships with key concert promoters”, in order to ensure the FA can continue to receive revenue from other sources than just the handful of top-tier soccer matches which take place each year.

Kiddle has called the head of commercial partnerships job “a great opportunity to lead a fantastic team who are passionate and dedicated.”

Last month, the FA appointed James Ralley, presently head of marketing, commercial and hospitality at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the organiser of the Wimbledon championships, as its new head of broadcast and media rights.

Ralley, who has been with the AELTC for 10 years, succeeds Tom Gracey who left the organisation earlier this year, and is now head of broadcast and media rights at the W Series, the international women’s motor racing series.

The FA launched the recruitment process in February, seeking an individual to handle its domestic and international rights tenders, manage relationships with broadcasters and lead the delivery of the FA Player, the over-the-top streaming platform, as key responsibilities.

The governing body’s rights portfolio includes friendly matches of England’s men’s and women’s national teams, the men’s and women’s FA Cup and the WSL.