The FIFA Governance Committee held its first meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 26 January 2017 under the chairmanship of former European Court of Justice Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro. FIFA President Gianni Infantino opened the meeting, which was also attended by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.
During the meeting, the committee discussed critical issues, including the implementation of the governance reforms. The members also addressed the monitoring of elections of FIFA Council members at confederation congresses and agreed to put in place the necessary procedures and documents to properly exercise its supervisory powers and support confederations in fully complying with the principles enshrined in FIFA Statutes.
Further key points of discussion were:
Sustainability and diversity: The committee members received an update about FIFA’s concrete measures in the areas of anti-discrimination, environmental protection, social development and sustainability, in particular in the context of the upcoming FIFA World Cups™.
Human rights: In line with FIFA’s commitment towards human rights enshrined in the FIFA Statutes and FIFA’s 2.0 vision, the committee discussed FIFA’s responsibilities in this area, as well as the key aspects of a FIFA human rights policy, which will eventually be submitted to the FIFA Council for approval.
Compliance training for FIFA committee members: In accordance with FIFA’s Governance Regulations, all members of FIFA’s standing committees will be required to complete compliance training within six months of assuming their positions and every two years thereafter.
Integrity in football: While the Governance Committee does not intervene in sports regulatory matters, it was agreed that it would conduct an analysis of the economic and social dimensions of football regulation that intersect with questions of human rights, transparency and conflicts of interest and that may impact on the integrity of the game and public trust.
Female participation on FIFA committees: The Governance Committee stressed the importance of ensuring appropriate female representation on FIFA’s committees. In particular, the committee considers it essential that the rules requiring a minimum female representation on the FIFA Council are properly applied and agreed to discuss possible additional proposals to further promote female participation in football at all levels. It also recognises the important steps that have recently been taken at FIFA administration level to increase female representation.
Preventing government interference: The committee discussed the various ways in which government interference may arise in football and the tools available to assess and prevent it.
Eligibility *c*hecks: The committee received an overview of the way eligibility checks are conducted by the FIFA Review Committee and discussed the general standards to be applied. The discussion will inform an updated version of the informative note issued by the Review Committee on such standards. In addition, the Governance Committee will discuss and adopt a proposal for amendments to the rules on eligibility checks, based on a draft to be presented by the Review Committee, in order to streamline their application and render them even more effective and clear.
FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future: The committee received a general update on the key objectives of FIFA’s vision and the fundamental role to be played by the Forward programme in achieving these. It commented positively on the document and will support the administration in developing some of its aims, including in the setting up of an impact investment fund.
Following the meeting, the chairman set up two working groups to work on the human rights policy and the electoral guidelines, to be coordinated by committee members Justice Navi Pillay (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and Joseph Weiler (Professor at New York University Law School and former President of the European University Institute) respectively.
The FIFA Governance Committee was set up following the reforms approved by the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in February 2016 and its main role is to deal with, and advise and assist the Council on, all FIFA governance matters.