Sports governing bodies play a fundamental role in society and therefore adherence to good governance principles is fundamental for the fulfilment of their statutory objectives and broader social mission. As football’s world governing body, FIFA is firmly committed to the principles of good governance, transparency and zero tolerance towards any wrongdoing – whether it is in sporting contests or any other context of association football. FIFA has adapted its structures and procedures in order to meet the evolving needs of the game’s governance and respond to the increasing complexity of its functions and operations.

Ever since 1998, FIFA has progressively been putting in place a series of measures, focusing, in particular, on internal controls and transparency (e.g. comprehensive annual financial reporting according to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS); annual audits by KPMG; the COSO concept for internal controls; a budgeting process; tender procedures for all major procurement contracts).

Furthermore, given the increasing scope of FIFA’s activities, at the request of FIFA President Blatter, an extensive governance reform process was launched in the context of the 61st FIFA Congress in Zurich on 1 June 2011.

A two-year road map outlining the stages and timelines of the governance reform process between October 2011 and the FIFA Congress in May 2013 was established and communicated transparently from the start and at all stages of the process.

A clear structure was put in place with representatives from the football community as well as experts in specialised areas such as governance, compliance and anti-corruption. The Independent Governance Committee (IGC) was set up – led by Professor Mark Pieth – with the support of four Task Forces (Task Force FIFA Ethics Committee; Task Force Transparency and Compliance; Task Force Revision of Statutes; and Task Force Football 2014) with the mandate to propose recommendations in the areas of governance, ethics, compliance and other amendments to the FIFA Statutes until the FIFA Congress 2013.

The FIFA governance reform process 2011-2013 resulted in enhanced measures and structures in the following areas:


Ethics and Integrity 
  • Two-chamber Ethics Committee (investigatory and adjudicatory chamber)
  • The investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee can investigate on its own initiative and ex officio at its full and independent discretion
  • The Ethics Committee has been given sufficient resources to discharge its purpose
  • Establishment of additional independence criteria for the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the Ethics Committee and the Audit and Compliance Committee
  • Implementation of mandatory integrity checks for key officials
  • New FIFA Code of Conduct which lays down eleven core principles for behaviour and conduct to which all members of the football community (e.g. officials, FIFA employees, players and associations) shall adhere
  • Revised FIFA Code of Ethics with an improved structure as well as a greater applicability in time and scope
  • Implementation of best-practice provisions with regards to conflicts of interest, offering and accepting gifts, as well as revised definitions for bribery and corruption fulfilling OECD standards
  • Implementation of a Code of Ethics e-learning tool to improve compliance through training
  • Implementation of a publicly accessible confidential reporting mechanism managed by an external provider, by means of which infringements of the pertinent regulations of FIFA as well suspected match manipulation incidents may be reported
  • Implementation of a stronger and more detailed wording in the FIFA Statutes on the promotion of ethics and the fight against discrimination


 Compliance and Control

  •   Strengthening of the role of the Audit and Compliance Committee by adding compliance as part of its activities
  • Implementation of a best-practice compliance system overseen by the Audit and Compliance Committee (e.g. review of the FIFA internal rules relating to compliance with regard to their effectiveness, guidelines regarding compliance matters, internal control system, e-learning tool for employees, etc.)
  • The independent chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee may attend any FIFA meetings he deems necessary as an independent observer
  • The Audit and Compliance Committee has been given sufficient resources to discharge its purpose
  • Creation of a Compensation Sub-Committee (under the Audit and Compliance Committee), composed of the chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee, the chairman of the Finance Committee and an independent member (in accordance with art. 12 of the Standing Orders of the Congress) responsible for determining the compensation of the President, the Executive Committee and the Secretary General
  • Enhanced control and public disclosure of funds for FIFA Development Programmes (e.g. establishment of a Development Committee; new regulations on audits and other requirements)


 Other Governance Reforms

  • Direct election by the FIFA Congress of all judicial bodies as well as of the Audit and Compliance Committee
  • Strengthening of opportunities for women to sit on FIFA’s Executive Committee (e.g. election of the first female member to the FIFA Executive Committee and co-optation of two additional female members)
  • Implementation of new provisions for candidatures for the office of FIFA President (e.g. a candidate must be supported by at least five FIFA member associations and must have played an active role in association football for two of the last five years before the candidature)
  • Revision of the host selection process for the FIFA World Cup™ with the decision being made in the future by the FIFA Congress instead of the Executive Committee
  • Stronger representation of football stakeholders at all levels of the game


 The International Football Association Board (The IFAB)

  • Improvement in the consultation process (two new advisory panels: Technical and Football)
  • Greater transparency in the decision-making process (own website, publication of documents, etc.)
  • Constitution of The IFAB as an association under the Swiss Civil Code


As no consensus had been reached among the FIFA member associations and the confederations on the reform item “age limit” / “term of office”, the 63rd FIFA Congress decided to postpone this issue until the 64th FIFA Congress in 2014 so that it could be further analysed and a concrete proposal could be submitted. In the meantime, Executive Committee member Dr Theo Zwanziger was mandated to further examine this item and submit a proposal to the FIFA Executive Committee. On 11 June 2014, the 64th FIFA Congress voted against the principle of introducing age limits and limits of terms of office.

On 2 June 2015, FIFA President Blatter announced that he would lay down his mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. The FIFA President also announced that a significant reform programme to be driven by the independent chairman of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee, Domenico Scala, would be voted upon at the same extraordinary Congress.

On 20 July 2015, The FIFA Executive Committee decided that the extraordinary elective FIFA Congress will take place in Zurich on 26 February 2016. Furthermore, the FIFA Executive Committee, supported by the confederations, reiterated its unity and stated its firm commitment to reforms. The reform topics proposed include the following:

• Enhanced centralised integrity checks for ExCo members
• Introduction of term limits
• Higher standards of governance at all levels of football structures, including confederations and member associations
• Individual disclosure of compensation

On 11 August 2015, the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee was established with the appointment of Dr François Carrard as the independent chairman as well as 12 committee members representing the six confederations. Two additional representatives of FIFA’s Commercial Partners will be appointed at a later stage

Over the upcoming months, the committee will develop a package of reform proposals that will be put before the extraordinary elective Congress in Zurich on 26 February 2016. The work of the committee will build on the reform work that FIFA has undertaken since 2011, including recent proposals developed by its Audit and Compliance Committee. The Reform Committee will provide a preliminary update to the FIFA Executive Committee at its regular quarterly meeting on 24 and 25 September 2015.

FIFA remains committed to the principles of good governance and transparency and will continue to adapt its structures and procedures where relevant and on the basis of the evolving needs of the organisation and the game.