FA hires PR chief to forge non-football media links

The Football Association has brought in Ruth Wicks – a former marketing adviser to the Scottish Executive and marketing head for the Millennium Dome – to the new role of head of PR.

The appointment comes as the FA reveals that it is using two agencies – Hill & Knowlton and Preston-based MTJ Associates – to encourage good behaviour among England supporters at the World Cup in Germany this summer.

Wicks started at the FA this week, reporting to  comms director Adrian Bevington. Her role has been created to 'identify opportunities with the non-football media' as the FA looks to 'make a greater impact with health, education, business, political and lifestyle correspondents'.

Wicks has spent the past year as a freelance working for Mastercard Europe, T-Mobile and sports nostalgia brand Nobok. She previously spent 18 months advising the Scottish Executive, including first minister Jack McConnell, on 'brand identity' for Scotland.

She has also worked for sports marketing agency Octagon Worldwide, Reebok (global marketing manager in Boston, US) and as head of marketing for the New Millennium Experience Company. She also held posts at Weber Shandwick (in London), Ketchum (in New York) and H&K (in London and Sydney).

Wicks will provide 'strategic support' across the FA and improve internal comms. Bevington started recruiting for the role last autumn (PRWeek, 30 September 2005).

Separately, H&K and MTJA will promote the FA's 'Alltogethernow 2006' campaign to encourage fans to behave themselves at England matches. The campaign began at England's friendly against Uruguay this Wednesday in Liverpool.

The Alltogethernow slogan was used to promote anti-hooligan activity around Euro 2004 in Portugal. No agency was used.

The FA is planning a media relations drive in England and Germany, plus events and 'ambassador visits' to Germany.

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