FIFA’s governance reform process: what has changed in the past two years?
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FIFA’s governance reform process was launched by President Joseph S. Blatter on 1 June 2011 at the 61st FIFA Congress in Zurich, shortly after being re-elected for a fourth mandate. That day, the Congress supported the proposals of President Blatter in relation to good governance, transparency and zero tolerance towards wrongdoing on and also off the pitch.

Some central elements were agreed, such as providing the Congress the final decision on the host of the FIFA World Cup™ and the power to elect the members of the FIFA Ethics Committee. Furthermore, it was approved to create a committee composed of respected personalities inside and outside football to evaluate and propose solutions to the challenges faced by the organisation, in particular in relation to the vote to decide the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups and the 2011 presidential elections.

Just a few months later, a two-year road map was established for the governance reform process, and by the end of 2011, the Independent Governance Committee (IGC) was set up and four Task Forces created to establish concrete recommendations.

In March 2012, the IGC presented its report with the recommendations to FIFA as part of this reform process. The recommendations included amendments to the judicial system, with a two-chamber Ethics Committee and a new Audit & Compliance Committee with independent chairmen as the main point. These key recommendations were adopted by the FIFA Congress in May 2012 in Budapest, Hungary.

Furthermore, following the suggestions of the Task Force FIFA Statutes, recommendations were made in relation to ten points . Amendments to the Statutes related to most of those points (confirmation of members of the FIFA Executive Committee, composition of this committee, election of the FIFA President, stronger representation of key parties involved in football, bidding process/decision on hosting of the FIFA World Cup™, various clarifications and specifications in the FIFA Statutes and regulations governing candidatures for the office of FIFA President) were approved by the FIFA Congress in Mauritius on 31 May 2013.

In addition, the FIFA Congress also elected for the first time a female member of the FIFA Executive Committee and agreed to co-opt two more women for one year to the Executive Committee.

The last two points relate to establishing age limits and/or terms of office for officials. The Congress in Mauritius agreed to postpone the decision on these items until the 2014 FIFA Congress, in order to allow further analysis and discussion on this topic before presenting concrete proposals to the 2014 Congress.

The extensive governance reform process undertaken by FIFA has taken two years, and while some work remains to be done, it is important to recognise the facts of what has been achieved. This document shows an overview of the proposals made by the IGC in March 2012 and the current status of implementation. Of a total of 25 points listed, 22 have been or are being implemented already, one has partially been implemented and two have not (yet) been implemented.

Furthermore, the two key issues which prompted the start of the reform process have been tackled; with the decision on hosting the FIFA World Cup (now in the hands of the Congress), and the reinforcement of the independence and powers of the judicial and financial controlling bodies (FIFA Ethics Committee and FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee).

Undoubtedly, in 24 months, FIFA has taken some very major steps on the road to good governance, not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch.