PACE/FIFA: “If you want to be credible, you have to be transparent”

Strasbourg, 18.07.2013 – On behalf of the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which she headed on 16 July 2013 in an exchange of views at FIFA headquarters in Zürich, Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE) welcomed the direct, open dialogue initiated with the FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter on the issues raised in a resolution adopted by the PACE in April 2012 on good governance and ethics in sport, which called on FIFA to “fully investigate the facts underlying the various scandals which, in recent years, have tarnished its image and that of international football”.

Anne Brasseur said “the reforms initiated by FIFA and the spirit of openness omnipresent in our talks are a sign for us that FIFA is taking our guidelines on good governance and ethics in sport seriously. These guidelines are aimed at all international and national sports bodies as well as the governments. It is important for the political authorities to have a right of inspection vis-à-vis the conduct of sports bodies, whilst fully respecting for their independence”.

“If you want to be credible, you have to be transparent, and we must set up structures capable of acting completely independently in order to note and sanction any breaches of ethical principles. In this connection, we welcome the fact that the FIFA Ethics Committee can launch internal inquiries, of its own accord and at any time, and also the introduction of a system for collecting information supplied on-line by whistle-blowers and transmitting them unfiltered to the Chairs of the supervisory bodies. Nevertheless, more progress is still needed, and we would encourage FIFA to press on with its reforms”, Ms Brasseur concluded.

Mr Blatter said the reform process had to continue as an organisation must constantly adapt its governance in order not to regress. PACE and FIFA therefore decided to continue their dialogue. The PACE was still expecting a number of advances in terms of financial transparency and limits on the number of concurrent offices held. In this context, Mark Pieth, Chair of the FIFA Governance Committee, will be heard by the PACE Ad hoc Sub-Committee on the Reform of International Football Sub-Committee in Strasbourg at the beginning of October.

The Ad hoc Sub-Committee will also be meeting with other football personalities, starting with the UEFA President, Michel Platini (on 9 September in Nyon) and the President of the European Club Association (ECA), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (date and place to be decided).

The PACE delegation included Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE), Chair of the Ad hoc Sub-Committee on the Reform of International Football; Michael Connarty (United Kingdom, SOC); Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC); Maximilian Reimann (Switzerland, ALDE); and André Schneider (France, EPP/CD).