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Council of Europe Secretary General Thørbjorn Jagland and FIFA President Gianni Infantino have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg to strengthen the co-operation between the two institutions and further develop synergies and partnerships in areas of shared interest.
This landmark agreement focuses on four main areas of co-operation: Human Rights, Integrity and Good Governance in sport; Safety and Security at Football Matches; Mutual dialogue and Co-operation in view of Major Sport Events; and Institutional Co-operation through regular exchanges of views, good practices and the development of joint initiatives and co-ordination of operational activities.
During the ceremony of signature of the Memorandum of Understanding, Council of Europe Secretary General Thørbjorn Jagland stated: “Sport plays a pivotal role in connecting people, favouring inclusion and enhancing the social fabric by promoting Council of Europe key values. We advocate fair play and respect in sport to be safe, ethical and accessible to all, in order to contribute towards building inclusive and democratic societies respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This includes the growing concern of safeguarding children from sexual abuse in sport. Council of Europe expertise will be very valuable in this context.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino added: “Following our initial meeting of last January, a new era of co-operation between FIFA and the Council of Europe has now started. With this Memorandum of Understanding and a concrete action plan for 2019, our collaboration is institutionalised and has become more concrete and measurable. It is a natural relationship, as we share common values and goals: transparency, accountability, integrity, safety in sport and respect for human rights, for children’s rights. It is in the best interest of football for all relevant entities to work together and enhance the power of the beautiful game to change lives.”
In the framework of this partnership, the two organisations will join forces, for instance, to address the issue of sexual violence against children in football, using Council of Europe standards (Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, known as the “Lanzarote Convention”). The Council of Europe is also a member of FIFA’s Child Protection Working Group. In addition, the two organisations will invigorate the fight against match-fixing and they will co-ordinate their efforts for the preparation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on the safety, security and services aspects of football matches. The collaboration will be detailed in the implementation of a Co-operation Plan for the Memorandum of Understanding (2018-2019).