PACE calls for an independent outside body to assess football governance

The Parliamentary Assembly has called on the EU to consider setting up an independent “observatory” to assess governance in football, following a series of scandals in the sport.

Such a body would be entrusted with assessing governance at FIFA, UEFA and other football governing bodies, including aspects such as the integrity of elections to their governing structures.

“The observatory would not have the power to govern the sport, but to ensure that the principles of good governance are being effectively implemented and shared,” the parliamentarians said in a resolution approved today, based on a report by Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE). “Too little money harms football, too much is killing it. We need to prevent football from self-destructing.”

The Assembly again called on FIFA to shed light on the latest procedures for awarding the World Cup, particularly the procedure for awarding the 2022 cup to Qatar, “which appears to be seriously flawed”.

While noting progress on some governance issues at FIFA and UEFA – especially on incorporating human rights into the criteria for selecting host countries and commercial partners – the parliamentarians said problems remain. They called on the two bodies and their partners to:

• guarantee the full independence of their ethical oversight bodies, notably through transparent procedures for the selection and removal of members and chairs
• introduce effective measures to combat corruption
• do more to insist that countries hosting their events respect basic civil and political rights
• put a stop to “forced transfers” of underage players
• ensure a minimum number of women on the boards of their member associations