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|
|Compliance and Control|
|Other Governance Reforms|
|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.