FIFA’s decision-making bodies have become more representative than ever, with a recent major restructuring ensuring that all 208 member associations have at least one delegate on a FIFA committee.
There were plenty of introductions being made at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters in February and March as a host of new faces reported for the first meetings of the 2012-2015 administrative cycle. Almost half of the 500 seats on FIFA’s various standing committees have been attributed to new members, with the aim of bringing new blood and fresh ideas to the decision-making process.
In addition, the shake-up was designed to ensure an even greater geographical spread of knowledge and experience among the committee members, with all 208 member associations now having at least one member serving on a FIFA committee.
“The new structure is intended to ensure a more balanced and fair representation of each confederation and member association, with the number of committee members from each confederation also shared out on as even a basis as possible, according roughly to the size of those confederations,” FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke told FIFA World as the newly-appointed committee members headed to their first meetings.
As a result of the changes, no fewer than 33 associations are now represented on a FIFA committee for the first time in their history – something which comes as a great source of pride, it seems, to the newcomers in question.
“Being the first Ugandan to sit on a FIFA committee is a great recognition for my country and shows that, in football at least, every country is taken on an equal footing,” said long-standing CAF Sports Medical Committee member Dr James Sekajugo as he arrived in Zurich for his first FIFA Medical Committee meeting in March.
“It’s very important to have the smaller associations represented at FIFA because it brings out the feeling that this is truly a world sport,” added the former Uganda national team doctor. “It’s also a great motivation for the younger generation, because it shows that if they work hard, Ugandans can achieve great things.”
Learn from experience
Having herself achieved great things as a former national team captain who has since risen to become General Secretary of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association, Sonia Bien-Aime also spoke of her excitement at being invited onto the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, not only to learn from the experiences of others but also to pass on my own experiences,” Bien-Aime told FIFA World. “I’m a former chairman of the Turks and Caicos Sports Commission and have served on several event management and sports management committees, as well as still acting as a consultant to our women’s committee – so I’m sure I will have a valuable contribution to make even if my country is not on the same scale as some of the others.”