Reaction to FIFA election
February 26, 2016
#NewFIFANow congratulates Gianni Infantino on his election as FIFA President and notes the adoption by FIFA Congress of changes to the FIFA Statutes recommended by the Carrard Committee.
Notwithstanding that some reforms are inarguable and welcome, #NewFIFANow believes that they do not address the fundamental structural flaws within football nor, importantly, its culture.
The reforms fail to make football accountable to the two most important stakeholders in the game – players and fans, as well as the clubs and leagues in which they play and that they support.
We are of the view that expanding the membership of the FIFA Council and potentially the World Cup, does not address what it is designed to do, but entrench a larger power elite.
While noting the principle behind handing more power to an appointed independent official through various committees, #NewFIFANow also notes that this is vested in one official only. These include important functions of governance, finance and audit that should be shared and managed transparently. The operation of these functions to date by the incumbent has been, in our view, with little regard to transparency and accountability, including around issues related to the FIFA Presidential election. Further, the definition of independence is not consistent with community standards.
Of concern is the lack of checks and balances required of the 209 football associations and six confederations. These entities are not representative of the game’s stakeholders, hold significant influence at the grassroots and professional level in their countries and regions, and yet remain unaccountable. Significant cultural and systemic change are required at this level if the modest reforms agreed today are to have any real and lasting impact.
We are disappointed that the FIFA Executive Committee failed to agree to an independent advisory group to oversee reform. While this would not be as far reaching as an independent FIFA Reform Commission led by an eminent person that we have been recommending, it would have been an encouraging step in the right direction.
#NewFIFANow will continue its advocacy to ensure that the game’s forgotten stakeholders get the world football administration that they want and deserve.