News 26 February 2016

FIFA Congress votes through reform proposals

The football family approved FIFA’s reform package and its amended  Statues at the Extraordinary Congress in Zurich’s Hallenstadion today. A total of 179 votes were in favour of the reforms with 22 against and six abstentions, however, Liberia and Palestine spoke out against reform. “During the storm is perhaps not the best time to refurbish”, said Gonzalo Boye Tuset of the Palestine FA. “We should wait until things calm down”.

The main reforms outlined by FIFA include:

• Clear separation between ‘political’ and management functions: The enlarged FIFA Council (replacing the FIFA Executive Committee) is responsible for setting the organisation’s overall strategic direction, while the General Secretariat oversees the operational and commercial actions required to effectively execute that strategy.
• Term limits for the FIFA President, FIFA Council members and members of the Audit and Compliance Committee and of the judicial bodies (max. 12 years).
• Election of Council members supervised by FIFA and in accordance with FIFA’s own electoral regulations; all candidates subject to comprehensive eligibility and integrity checks conducted by an independent FIFA Review Committee.
• Greater recognition and promotion of women in football with a minimum of one female representative elected as a Council member per confederation; promotion of women as an explicit statutory objective of FIFA to create a more diverse decision-making environment and culture.
• Disclosure of individual compensation on an annual basis of the FIFA President, all FIFA Council members, the Secretary General and relevant chairpersons of independent standing and judicial committees.
• Enhanced control of money flows.
• Universal good governance principles for confederations and member associations.
• FIFA’s commitment to human rights to be enshrined in the FIFA Statutes.
• New Football Stakeholder Committee to ensure greater transparency and inclusion through broader stakeholder representation (including players, clubs and leagues).

A total of 207 of the 209 national associations are present in Zurich, as Indonesia and Kuwait are suspended. A decision on whether their suspensions – which have been imposed for political interference in football – should be lifted will be taken at the 206 FIFA Congress, which will take place in Mexico City on 12-13 May. As highlighted by the Sports Integrity Initiative earlier today, FIFA has budgeted US$36 million for that event.

“As you know, FIFA is in a difficult situation and the circumstances have been challenging”, said FIFA’s Acting General Secretary Markus Kattner. “We experience a high pressure from authorities, and there are various legal  proceedings and investigations that we have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Kattner (pictured) said that FIFA is $550 million behind its revenue projections for this 2015-2018 cycle and would report a negative financial result for 2015. He did not go into the reasons why, however he did mention “significant unforeseen costs”, which are understood to be in relation to the legal proceedings and investigations he outlined.

However, as reported this morning, FIFA welcomed journalists to a new CHF30 million Football Museum in Zurich just two days ago. A press release outlined how it had spent CHF140 million (€128 million) on renovating the building in which the museum will be housed.

The Congress continues live on FIFA’s YouTube channel. To stay up to date with developments, follow The Sports Integrity Initiative on Twitter.

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