The 66th FIFA Congress kicked off a new era for FIFA and global football with the announcement of a “step change” in FIFA’s investment in football development, new FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, progress on the implementation of the reforms, and the FIFA Legends programme.
FIFA Forward: a new, tailor-made development programme
To build on his manifesto pledges, FIFA President Gianni Infantino presented “FIFA Forward”, a complete overhaul of FIFA’s football development programmes. FIFA Forward provides 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development in each of FIFA’s member associations and the six confederations. FIFA will significantly increase its investment to USD 5 million for each member association per four-year cycle for football projects and support for running costs. The use of funds will be monitored closely through enhanced compliance, accountability and transparency, with all member associations required to publish independent audits of their finances as per the new “FIFA Forward” regulations.
UN official Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura appointed FIFA Secretary General
President Infantino announced the appointment by the FIFA Council of Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura (Senegal) as FIFA’s new secretary general, the first woman and African to hold this post. Ms Samoura is a 21-year veteran of United Nations programmes who is currently the UN’s Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria.
Reforms in action
FIFA updated its member associations on the progress in the implementation of the reform process since new measures were approved in February. Reforms are now operational within FIFA’s structures:
· Enhanced compliance for revenue and spending
· Eligibility checks for new members of committees and senior positions
· Publication of individual compensation of senior FIFA officials
· Appointment of first independent members on key committees
The president announced the creation of a women’s football division in the FIFA administration to further support the promotion and development of women’s football.
Regular “football summits” for member associations will start in the third quarter of 2016, with inter-confederation conferences involving about 20 associations designed to address important regional topics in football.
FIFA Legends programme
Clarence Seedorf and Sun Wen presented the “FIFA Legends programme” which will support the organisation’s goal of giving a stronger voice to people directly involved in football. The FIFA Legends Team is designed to bring together former top players from the men’s and women’s game to promote and support football and its wider mission around the world, and to give something back to the game.
Kosovo and Gibraltar admitted as FIFA members
The FIFA Congress followed the recommendation of the FIFA Council and confirmed the admission of Kosovo (141 "yes" to 23 "no" of valid votes cast) and Gibraltar (172 "yes" to 12 "no" of valid votes cast) as the 210th and 211th FIFA members. Both associations will be entitled to take part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with UEFA tasked to look into the best way to integrate Kosovo and Gibraltar in the preliminary competition.