With 198 votes (99%) in favour of the amendments to the FIFA Statutes presented today (under agendaitem 13.1.1), the 63rd FIFA Congress, chaired by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and convening today in Mauritius, confirmed its overwhelming support for the governance reform process started in 2011. Over a period of two years, and following a consultative process involving football bodies as well as personalities outside football – Congress, confederations, member associations, FIFA Executive Committee, FIFA Task Forces as well as the Independent Governance Committee, whose chairman Prof. Mark Pieth addressed today’s Congress –, a wide and comprehensive range of reforms has strengthened FIFA’s governance and transparency, thus setting world football’s governing body on a new course.
Amongst others, the following major decisions have been taken since June 2011:
- restructuring of the Ethics Committee with a new two-chamber system – investigatory and adjudicatory, each with an independent chairman
- creation of an Audit and Compliance Committee – which increased the scope of responsibility of the former Audit Committee by adding compliance to its activities – with an independent chairman
- adoption of a new Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct
- election of a woman and co-opting of two women to the FIFA Executive Committee
- Congress to decide on the venue for the final competition of the FIFA World Cup™ based on a shortlist consisting of up to three bids submitted by the FIFA Executive Committee, with the stipulation that Congress shall not award the hosting rights to more than one FIFA World Cup™ at the same meeting
- Per sons who hold or seek to hold an official FIFA position as President, vice-president, female member or other member of the FIFA Executive Committee, chairman, deputy chairman or member of the Audit and Compliance Committee, or chairman, deputy chairman or member of the judicial bodies shall undergo an integrity check prior to their election or re-election
- A candidature for the office of FIFA President shall only be valid if supported by a total of at least five member associations and if the candidate has played an active role in association football for two of the last five years before candidacy
- Stronger representation of key parties involved in football
- stronger and more detailed wording in the FIFA Statutes on the promotion of ethics and the fight against discrimination
- removal of the right of the four British associations to elect a FIFA Vice-President; the seat in question shall remain within UEFA
- IFAB (International Football Association Board) to reform itself
As no consensus has been reached among the member associations and their confederations on the agenda items “age limit” and “term of office”, the Congress decided to postpone both items until next year’s Congress so that they can be further analysed and concrete proposals can be submitted.
Another major decision taken by the Congress, following an address from FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb, chairman of the FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination, was the overwhelming approval of the FIFA resolution on the fight against racism and discrimination, thus following the Executive Committee’s support of this resolution this week. The resolution is based on three major principles: education, prevention, and sanctions, which include sporting sanctions, such as point deductions and relegation. The endorsement of the resolution was warmly welcomed by a standing ovation from the Congress delegates, as well as by South Africa’s Minister of Human Settlements and former Robben Island prisoner Tokyo Sexwale.
A new page was written in FIFA’s history when the Congress formally elected a woman to FIFA’s Executive Committee for the very first time. Co-opted a year ago, this time Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) was elected with 95 votes for a mandate of four years. Fellow candidates Moya Dodd, Australia (70 votes), and Sonia Bien-Aime, Turks and Caicos Islands (38 votes), were co-opted to the committee for one year.
In addition, the chairmen, deputy chairmen and members of the judicial bodies (Disciplinary Committee, Appeal Committee and Ethics Committee) and the Audit and Compliance Committee wereelected by the Congress.
“The overwhelming support of the Congress for our reforms, which I initiated, proves that our organisation is on the right track. This does not mean that we will stop adjusting our governance. We will continue. I’m especially glad that the worldwide football community has committed itself to fighting racism and discrimination by endorsing a resolution, sending a very strong message to the world. And very happy that – at last! – a woman has been elected to FIFA’s Executive Committee, and two more women co-opted,” said the FIFA President.
Regarding FIFA’s finances, and addressing the Congress for the first time in his capacity as independent chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee, Domenico Scala reported on FIFA’s consolidated financial statements for 2012, which, following his Committee’s recommendation, were unanimously approved. The 2014 FIFA budget was also approved. Furthermore, the Congress decided to remove the obligation for member associations to pay FIFA a levy for international matches (as of 1 January 2015).
Following an update from Chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee Michel D’Hooghe on FIFA’s activities in the field of medicine and health, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Jiří Dvořák, presented the new FIFA Medical Emergency Bag (FMEB), which will be issued to all of FIFA’s 209 member associations and includes an automated external defibrillator (AED), an instructional video and a medical emergency kit. Furthermore, FIFA’s “11 for Health” programme received unanimous approval for expansion until 2019.
The Congress supported the following approach on the revision process of the Players’ Agents Regulations: the current licensing system is to be abandoned; a set of minimum standards must be established; and, a registration system for intermediaries must be set up. A final draft of regulations on working with intermediaries shall be presented to the Executive Committee and to the 2014 FIFA Congress.
A thorough report on FIFA’s on-going fight against the scourge of match manipulation in order to protect the integrity of the game was given. FIFA’s integrity initiative is based on prevention, detection, information gathering, investigations, sanctions, and FIFA’s integrity team. The Congress fully backed the FIFA President in his renewed call for more help from the public and police authorities in order to combat match manipulation.
The FIFA President was given the mandate to try to improve the situation of football in Palestine, in particular so that FIFA can implement its mission of developing and promoting the game, in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.
The delegates received reports on FIFA’s football development programmes, including the new generalregulations for development programmes, as well as an update on FIFA’s initiatives in the area of refereeing and on the preparation of the prospective referees for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Football development was not only a topic on the agenda but a concrete activity too, as the delegates were welcomed by hundreds of enthusiastic children from Mauritius practicing exercises from the FIFA grassroots and “FIFA 11 for Health” programmes outside the Congress hall.
Acting CONMEBOL President Eugenio Figueredo (Uruguay), AFC President Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (Bahrain), Zhang Jilong (China), Lydia Nsekera (Burundi), Moya Dodd (Australia) and Sonia Bien-Aime (Turks and Caicos Islands) were officially installed on the FIFA Executive Committee.
The Congress paid tribute to The FA in honour of its 150th anniversary and to Marcel Mathier, former chairman of the Disciplinary Committee for 15 years.
All of FIFA’s member associations – except Bhutan, due to national elections in the country – participated in the 2013 Congress. In accordance with art. 14.4 of the FIFA Statutes, the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam was not entitled to vote.
The next Congresses will take place in São Paulo (10-11 June 2014) and Zurich (28-29 May 2015).