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FIFA President Gianni Infantino has briefed the FIFA Council this week on the concrete steps the FIFA administration has taken to address pre-existing concerns regarding governance and financial controls at the organisation.
President Infantino said that a number of initiatives have been completed, while others are underway, in three areas related to the FIFA World Cups – ticketing, the local organising committee structure for the delivery of events, and the bidding process for host countries – as well as the processes by which FIFA contracts its commercial partners and distributes football development funds to member associations.
President Infantino also discussed steps that have been taken to address two internal areas of concern – abuses related to salaries and compensation, and abuses in administration expenses more broadly.
“This is swift and effective action with demonstrable results to tackle serious issues,” said the FIFA President. “More work needs to be done as we make FIFA a stronger organisation and implement reforms approved by Congress, but we are proud of the achievements to date.”
President Infantino said the steps taken include ensuring that financial and operational decision-making rests with the administration, not the FIFA Council; instituting stronger financial controls and more sophisticated benchmarking of existing financial control processes; enhancing the monitoring of money flows; and streamlining internal structures to enable greater transparency.
He further detailed the work that the FIFA administration had carried out on football matters, notably increasing the amount of development money being invested in the member associations to grow the game around the world, an increased commitment to the women’s game, new leadership in the areas of football and technical development, and continued discussion concerning the role of technology in the game’s future.
The Council was briefed on the following work:
FIFA World Cup ticketing
• Strengthening of FIFA’s control, approval and audit rights with the external ticketing agency already contracted for the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
*• A new transparent ticketing model to be finalised with much greater in-house control and, potentially, operations for after the 2018 FIFA World Cup (by the end of 2018).
• Discussions on a proposed new ticketing model and more cooperation with the confederations to create economies of scale and increase efficiency.
FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC)
*• Streamlining of FIFA’s internal structure to ensure that the FIFA administration has a final and full overview of all FIFA World Cup-related expenses.
• Benchmarking of operational costs, including comparisons with UEFA and other global sports governing bodies.
*• Fully centralised control and transparency on money flows related to LOC contributions and expenses, as well as on FIFA expenses for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
• New structure being analysed for future World Cups as of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, guaranteeing full control of all money flows by FIFA.
• Discussion of potentially adopting a new operational model for events and more cooperation with the confederations, creating economies of scale.
FIFA World Cup bidding process
*• The FIFA Congress, and not the FIFA Council, will decide on the host(s).
*• Transparent bidding process under development, involving a broad consultation process (ready for 2017).
• Bidders that do not fulfil the technical requirements, based on objective criteria, will be excluded by the FIFA administration and not the FIFA Council.
Distribution of football development money
*• A new football development programme (“FIFA Forward”) is underway: all development funds will be distributed/invested through one programme with a single set of clear and transparent regulations, including clear conditions to fulfil in order to receive any money.
- Previously, ten different programmes and six different sets of regulations existed for development programmes, making it extremely difficult to keep a transparent overview of the different money flows to the member associations.
- Much more demanding requirements, as well as control mechanisms, than in the past to monitor the use of funds by the member associations.
Decisions on the distribution of money are made by the Development Committee, which is composed of a minimum of 50% independent members, for amounts over USD 300,000, and the FIFA administration for lower amounts, and not by the FIFA Council.
*• Decisions on all commercial contracts are taken by the FIFA administration and not the FIFA Council.
*• Systematic tender process for all broadcasting contracts.
• Analysis on whether a model involving the outsourcing of sales activities to “external” agencies offers a greater guarantee of transparency compared to an in-house model (strategic decision by 2017).
• Modernising the overall commercial model with the aim of also boosting cooperation with the confederations and creating economies of scale.
Salaries, bonuses and other advantages
*• Publication of real salaries and other details for senior leadership.
*• Definition of a new compensation policy that will prevent abuses.
• Redefinition of benefits for FIFA Council and standing committee members.
General administration expenses
*• Hiring of a new Chief Compliance Officer
• Hiring of a new Chief Financial Officer
• New Audit and Compliance Committee chairman
• New Compensation Sub-Committee established
• Finance Committee composed of at least 50% independent members
• Hiring of a new external auditing firm
*• Ongoing forensic and financial audit
• Definition of clear and transparent budgeting and accounting processes
• Requirement for systematic tenders for all service providers
• Systematic checks for conflicts of interest
President Infantino also detailed the work that has already been completed, or is ongoing, to strengthen the game:
Football and development of the game
*• Direct investment during the current four-year cycle of more than USD 1.4 billion in football development projects – more than four times greater than in the past.
• Increased focus on women’s football with the creation of a Women’s Football Division.
• Increased diversity in both gender and regional representation in the standing committees and the FIFA administration.
• Creation of an appropriate football structure within the FIFA administration with the appointments of Zvonimir Boban as Deputy Secretary General (Football) and Marco van Basten as Chief Technical Development Officer.
• Increased involvement of the member associations and stakeholders through the upcoming Football Executive Summits and the Stakeholders Committee.
*• Continued discussion on the use of technology and the modernisation of the game with the approval of the trial of video assistant refereeing.
• The ongoing involvement of legends of the game to help promote and increase awareness through the FIFA Legends Team project.