At its extraordinary session in Zurich yesterday, the FIFA Executive Committee approved a set of important measures to further strengthen its governance and increase the transparency of Ethics Committee proceedings while reiterating its commitment to necessary reforms already underway. The Executive Committee also confirmed 26 February 2016 as the date for the elective extraordinary congress.
The committee agreed to an important change to the rules governing investigations and decisions made by the independent Ethics Committee. Article 36 of FIFA’s Code of Ethics will be amended to allow the Ethics Committee, at its discretion, to publish more information about its ongoing proceedings. The independent chairmen of the committee’s two chambers, Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbély, had strongly advocated such an amendment, which will increase the transparency and understanding of their work.
Domenico Scala, in his capacity as chairman of the FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee, provided information to the Executive Committee regarding the ongoing process for the FIFA presidential election. He explained that candidacies for the FIFA Presidency that are submitted in due time and form, but which relate to candidates who are subject to a (provisional or definite) ban from taking part in any football-related activity, will not be processed by the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee as long as such ban is valid and in force. The chairman also told the Executive Committee that, should such a ban be lifted or expire before the FIFA presidential election, scheduled for 26 February 2016, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee would decide, depending on the respective exact point in time, on how to proceed with the candidacy concerned. Furthermore, Domenico Scala explained that the Appeal Committee Chairman Larry Mussenden has withdrawn from his position on the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee to avoid any appearance of a potential conflict of interest. Larry Mussenden’s deputy, Fernando Mitjans, will assume the role.
The Executive Committee also welcomed the preliminary recommendations developed by the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee and presented by its chairman, François Carrard, in an interim report. The Reform Committee will submit the final set of reform proposals to the FIFA Executive Committee at its next session in December 2015. The final proposals will be submitted to the FIFA Congress for consideration at the extraordinary congress in February 2016.
The Executive Committee stated its commitment to working on a roadmap to rebuild FIFA’s reputation and trust with a key focus on implementing the reforms. “I was pleased to see unity among the Executive Committee members during our discussions of reform and its critical importance to our organisation and world football. Increasing the transparency of ethics investigations is just one example of our firm commitment to change,” said Acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou. “It was also significant that we set the course for the upcoming presidential election.”