Congress to address ethics, governance and transparency
The 56th FIFA Congress in Munich will decide whether to amend the FIFA Statutes to add an Ethics Committee to the world governing body's two existing judiciary bodies when it convenes in Munich on 7-8 June, after a proposal submitted by the Swiss football association gained the unanimous support of the FIFA Executive Committee during a meeting chaired by Joseph S. Blatter in the Bavarian capital on 4 June.
The setting up of an Ethics Committee as a judicial body is just one of the many challenges currently facing football that were identified by the 2005 FIFA Congress in Marrakech, Morocco, last September. The three working groups of the Task Force for the Good of the Game, a body that the last year's Congress agreed to create upon the proposal of President Blatter, have since drawn up the following concrete proposals, which will be presented to the Munich Congress in 13 motions, in order to raise standards of governance and increase transparency throughout football: (Proposals from the Working Group for Political Matters) - Drafting and approval of a standard partnership agreement between football associations and public authorities by the end of 2006. - Drafting and approval of a standard electoral code for the member associations by the end of 2006. - Establishment of arbitration at national level within the member associations (circular letter to be approved by the end of 2006). - Creation of dispute resolution chambers at national level within the member associations on the basis of parity between employers and employees (circular letter to be approved by the end of 2006). (Proposals from the Working Group for Financial Matters) - Implementation of a worldwide information gathering process on ownership, control and influence of clubs. - Creation and implementation of a computerised "transfer contract matching system" as from the 2008-2009 season at the latest. - Improvement of the regulations monitoring the activities of players' agents in order to increase transparency to be implemented as from the 2007-2008 season. - Establishment of a worldwide information network (early warning system) with the confederations, member associations and betting organisations and the amendment of disciplinary codes with regard to betting issues. - Establishment of a worldwide club licensing system with the confederations and member associations within the next 5 years. (Proposals from the Working Group for Competitions) - Maximum of 18 clubs in professional domestic football leagues. - Coordination of confederations' competitions. - Study of an insurance mechanism for players participating in international competitions involving clubs, associations, confederations and FIFA. - Study of a proposal to allow a choice of days for back-to-back international matches (currently Saturday and Wednesday, extra option for Saturday and Tuesday).
The Executive Committee also endorsed for submission to the Congress a number of crucial amendments to the FIFA Statutes, the FIFA Disciplinary Code and the FIFA Doping Regulations, which have been agreed with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to take account of the legal opinion recently issued by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In order to complete the agreed revision to article 55 of the Disciplinary Code so as to take a firmer stance against discrimination and comply with the accepted legal principle regarding extent of guilt, the executive supported the addition of a fifth paragraph to the article that allows for sanctions to be reduced if a transgression has been wilfully provoked in order to cause detriment to an individual, a club or an association. In March this year, it was decided that article 55 would be rewritten to allow incidents of racism to be punished with points deductions or even disqualification from a tournament.
In connection with the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, the Executive Committee agreed that the "Win in Africa - with Africa" initiative would have two key objectives: firstly to create a lasting legacy for African football and secondly to use football to support general development projects across the African continent. The initiative will be explained in detail during the Congress in Munich and a media event in Berlin on 7 July.
Other key decisions reached by the executive included the following: - The investigations currently underway in Italy will be monitored closely. - The Cambodian Football Federation must revise its statutes to fall in line with FIFA requirements and convene an elective congress within 90 days or face suspension from world football's governing body. - The agreement reached between FIFA, the Nigerian government and the Nigeria Football Association on 24 May 2006 guaranteeing the association's independence must be respected and implemented. - The Football Association of Indonesia must revise its statutes and convene elections in the next two months. - The format used for last year's FIFA Club World Championship will be retained when the tournament returns to Japan in 2006. The six-team field will therefore be composed of the champions of each of the six confederations. - The dates for the continental national team championships in 2007 and 2008 were ratified. - Both the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be held in Africa in 2009, with the bidding procedure and the requirements for the host nation remaining unchanged.
Finally, the Executive Committee welcomed news that government authorities in Greece, Poland and Portugal had agreed to amend their respective sports laws to restore the independence of their football associations and thus comply with the regulations and Statutes of FIFA. Last year, the committee had set a deadline of 15 July 2006 for these amendments to be made.