The FIFA Congress, the most-critical gathering of international football's governing body, used to assemble every two years. But since 1998, this gathering of the global football family has taken place annually in an extraordinary meeting. The introduction of annual meetings allows ‘football’s parliament’ to influence decisions concerning an ever-growing number of issues.
The Congress makes decisions relating to FIFA's governing statutes and the method by which they are implemented and applied. It also approves the annual report, decides on the acceptance of new national associations and holds elections, most notably for the FIFA presidency. In the spirit of true democracy, each national association has one vote, regardless of its size or footballing strength.
The FIFA Statutes - football's constitution
The statutes and the regulations governing their
application represent the "constitution" of FIFA and
world football. These documents and the key values of authenticity,
integrity, performance and unity underpin FIFA's mission: to
develop the game, touch the world and build a better future.
According to the Statutes, FIFA's objectives are
- to improve the game of football constantly and promote it
- to organise its own international competitions
- to draw up regulations and provisions and ensure their
- to control every type of association football
- to safeguard the integrity of matches and competitions and
FIFA also vigorously combats racism or discrimination
of any kind, promotes friendly relations between every person and
organisation involved in the game and obliges them to observe the
Statutes, regulations and principles of fair play. FIFA also
provides the necessary institutional means to resolve disputes. The
Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes and the
Standing Orders of the Congress are an integral part of the
The FIFA Congress - football's parliament
According to the statutes, the FIFA Congress is the
organisation's supreme body. Numerous articles dictate which
items are to be discussed and which decisions are to be passed at
this forum. As the legislative body of world football -
football's parliament in other words - the Congress bears a
particular responsibility for developing the game, the nature of
which has been subject to increasingly rapid change over the past
few years. Each member has one vote at the Congress.
What decisions may the Congress take?
- decides whether to admit, suspend or expel a member
- the location of FIFA headquarters (in Zurich since 1932)
- may award the title of honorary president, honorary
vice-president or honorary member
- is responsible for amending the Statutes, the Regulations
Governing the Application of the Statutes and the Standing Orders
of the Congress
- may remove a FIFA Executive Committee member from office
- approves the balance sheet and income statement
- approves the Activity Report
- elects the president every four years
The FIFA President has an important function during
the Congress: he presides over it and ensures that the debates are
properly conducted. After the Congress, he is then responsible for
ensuring that the decisions passed are implemented.
Who may vote?
Article 23 of the FIFA Statutes: