FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter spoke today as the two-day International Football Arena conference got underway in Zurich. Blatter discussed, among other topics, the success of FIFA’s competitions this year, the work of the organisation, the progression of women’s football, the battle against corruption in the sport and how it inspires supporters.
Sandro Rosell and Umberto Gandini, the Barcelona President and AC Milan director respectively, also addressed those present crowd, while Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s head of women’s competitions, also discussed the development of female football.
The FIFA President said: “The FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany was a huge success, with TV audience records all over the world, full stadiums, a fantastic atmosphere, excellent level of play and a new champion in Japan. We had two amazing FIFA youth competitions, the U-20s in Colombia, with a young generation of Brazilians lifting the trophy, and the U-17s in Mexico, where the home team won the final in front of 100,000 fans. There was also a fascinating FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna, Italy, where Russia won for the first time. And we still have the ‘tournament of champions’ for clubs, the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, to come in December, followed by the FIFA Ballon D’Or Gala in January.
“Football continues to inspire the fans with passion, joy, hope and emotions every day. There are 300 million people directly involved in the game, and many more who follow it."
"There is absolutely no doubt that football is hugely successful, with an impact that goes beyond the sportive to reach the financial, socio-cultural and political spheres. Of course, with this great success comes great responsibility. FIFA takes this responsibility very seriously. Besides the many efforts done by our organisation around the world to organise top-level competitions, develop the game and build a better future, FIFA has a responsibility to act according to the good governance principles of transparency and zero tolerance towards any wrongdoings. We acknowledge that mistakes have been made in the past and that they need to be corrected.
"The strong mandate given to me by the FIFA Congress on the 1st of June goes precisely in this direction, as they have asked that good governance measures be implemented and that the adequate structures are strengthened and created to be able to tackle any wrongdoings. FIFA has taken this mandate very seriously and has engaged in discussions with internationally renowned organisations such as Transparency International and experts in anti-corruption matters such as Prof. Mark Pieth. Their input has been acknowledged and incorporated into the reform process.
“The Executive Committee approved the new governance measures, structure and roadmap at the meeting on the 21st of October here in Zurich. Four task forces will work on the revision of the FIFA Statutes, the strengthening of the Ethics Committee, all football matters in the Football 2014 Task Force, and on Transparency and Compliance. The task forces will report to the new Good Governance Committee, which will be composed of various stakeholders inside and outside the football community. The Good Governance Committee will oversee the reforms and establish adequate anti-corruption measures. The clubs will be a very important part of this committee as well as of the Strategic Committee, which will renew its efforts.
"Please remember FIFA is not just the President and the Ex-Co. FIFA, above all, is its 208 member associations and its six confederations. Our organisation is also composed of a very dedicated team of over 350 women and men in Zurich who work hard for the good of the game and deserve our respect. We have an agenda, we have a roadmap where we have to go. But it's not to say it's all bad. We have to be transparent and go through this procedure so that in the 2013 Congress or 2014 we can say FIFA is here, in a better position than it is today. Then I would like to show what has been done in the 36 years since I started to work for FIFA and where we are today, and that FIFA is this organisation that gives the world hope that there is a better future. I need the support of the whole community and we have to go together, because we are working for the youth of the world."