Briefing on FIFA Presidency, 2016-2019 elections and reforms


Grant Jarvie

Facts as at 28 February 2016 


• FIFA still in a perilous position with on-going American and Swiss investigations into current and former officials. The extraordinary FIFA meeting in Zurich is an attempt to show the various legal authorities that FIFA can, with confidence and trust, regulate it’s own affairs.

• The Department of Justice if it does not believe FIFA is reforming could charge the organisation under US LAW with racketeering.

• The Swiss investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) competitions is still on going.

• 26 Feb 2016 FIFA elected the 9th President, the previous 8 have all been men and have reflected European power in world football. The new President will be the 7th President from Europe – excluding Switzerland- 8th if Switzerland included.

• The Presidential voting on the 26th February was by secret ballot. Many Candidates did not want to declare their hand for fear of affecting their countries opportunity to access FIFA resources.

• The Scottish and English FA backed the Gianni Infantino, the UEFA secretary general since 2009. Allegedly he had strong support from Europe, South America and the Caribbean and won after a second round of voting.

• The Presidential front-runner going into the elections was Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al- Khalifa of Bahrain and President of the Asian Football Confederation. Denies being involved in Human Rights violations and had to overcome the threat of this being the main story if elected. Had the backing of the Asian Confederation and Africa.

• The issues addressed by the FIFA Congress relate to reform, restoring trust, strengthening governance, and fostering diversity. Prior to the recent round of reforms only 2 of the 209 member organizations were led by women despite women’s football being one of the fastest growing games in the world.

• The package or reforms ratified involve the FIFA executive being replaced by a new FIFA Council that will include a minimum of 6 women, one from each of the 6 confederations.


  • FIFA is the main governing body of world football. An association governed by Swiss law with its headquarters in Zurich.
  • Founded in 1904 in Paris with the original 7 members, all being European, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • The English FA joined in 1905, Scotland and Wales in 1910 and Ireland in 1911. By 1914 FIFA had 24 members with 4 coming from outside of Europe, South Africa, Argentina, Chile and United States of America. Between 1950 and 1984 membership doubled from 73 to 150 and by 2014 FIFA had 209 member countries.
  • The previous 8 Presidents have all been men 3 from England, 2 from France, 1 from Belgium and Brazil and the outgoing President Sepp Blatter from Switzerland.
  • Friday 26th is a pivotal moment for FIFA with a new leader and a raft of new reforms.

Acting President- “ This is our opportunity to show we are united in building a stronger FIFA”


  • Gianni Infantino, Italian –Swiss, 45 UEFA General Secretary – has the backing of the Scottish and English FA.
    “ If we stop doing politics and start doing football, the world will admire us”
    Wants to expand the World Cup to 40 teams to ensure that a greater number of smaller countries can participate- he also wants to expand FIFA’S development plan by investing £860m and giving £3.6m to each member association.
  • Ist round votes gained 88.      2nd round votes gained 115.
  • Prince Ali of Jordan, age 40, called for a transparent ballot, possible a significant player in deciding the victor, the only candidate from a national association- Jordan.Wanted to quadruple the amount FIFA’S member associations receive but Wanted the money properly accounted for.
  • Ist round votes gained 27.       2nd round votes gained 4.
  • Jerome Champagne, age 57, former adviser to Sepp Blatter. Former FIFA executive from France.
    Wanted to modernise, introduce technology, rebalance inequality, help referee’s have women in key FIFA roles.
  • 1st round votes gained 7.        2nd round votes gained 0.
  • South Africa, Tokyo Sexwale’s, age 62, failed to win support from Confederation of Africa Football. Former political prisoner on Robben Island, not expected to win but crucial to where the votes go.
    Wanted to put sponsors on national team shirts to help raise money for football associations. Withdrew before the 1st round of votes.
  • Sheikh Salman, Bahrain, the favourite, is Asian Football Confederation President with support from Asia and most of Africa, age 50.

“ We want someone who is responsible and can deliver the promises”

Wanted to split FIFA in two with a business side handling commercial issues and a           football side organising World Cups and developing the game- believes the 2 sections apart will stop executives making self- interested decisions.

  • 1st round of votes gained 85.       2nd round votes gained 88.


Governance and diminishing levels of trust are at the heart of FIFA’s problems and are at the heart of the reforms. They have been criticised on the grounds of a lack of diversity.

Disclosure of salaries
This will happen on an annual basis for the FIFA president, all FIFA council members, the secretary general and relevant chairpersons of independent standing and judicial committees.

Presidents limited to three terms of four years
This applies to the FIFA president, FIFA council members and members of the audit and compliance committee and of the judicial bodies. Sepp Blatter served five terms as FIFA president dating back to 1998.

Separation of political and managerial functions
The elected FIFA council will replace the executive committee and will be responsible for setting the organization’s overall strategic direction. The general secretariat will oversee the operational and commercial actions needed to implement the strategy.

Promotion of women in football
A minimum of one female representative will be elected as a council member per confederation.

Human rights enshrined in FIFA statutes


• FIFA Executive, 6 Confederations and 209 members.
• FIFA Executive of 24 members replaced by a FIFA Council of 36 members + President with a minimum of 6 seats for women representatives.
• New FIFA Council seen as strategic and supervisory, no direct influence over FIFA business, Non-Executive President with no casting vote, minimum of 6 female council members.
• FIFA confederations must a minimum elect one female member per confederation.
• FIFA Council separation of powers from Secretary general (CEO), FIFA compliance officer and FIFA Administration.
• Term limits 3-4 years.
• Annual compensation, disclosure and review of remuneration.
• FIFA council sets commercial strategy and FIFA congress budget. FIFA council sets strategy for development and governance of competitions. Development spending allocated by a further independent committee.


• FIFA standing committees cut from 26 to 9 to promote streamlining.
• Key committees to have at least 50% independent members covering finance, governance and development.
• New footballers stakeholders committee representing clubs, players, referees, coaches and leagues.
• Annual football conference for top executives of member associations.
• Promotion of women in football and more women in leadership.
• FIFA, confederations, and members associations to have a commitment – statutory obligation- to empower women in football.


• FIFA, contractors, competition organisers, member associations.
• Labour laws
• Children’s rights
• Justice
• Men and women
• Para athletes.

22 countries voted against the reforms . The reforms were carried on an 89% vote for.


Different regulations for different rounds of voting for the President.

Required 75% approval for the reforms to be passed. The reforms received unanimous support.

207 of 209 members vote with Kuwait and Indonesia suspended.

The winner required 138 votes in the 1st round; 105 votes in the second round.

Africa has 54 votes; Europe (UEFA) 53 votes; Asia 46 votes; North and Central America 35 votes; Oceania 11 votes; South America- 10 votes.

1st, 2nd and 3rd round voting options existed until a President was elected.

Different regulations for different rounds of voting for the President.


The new President’s incoming speech:

  • “ Desire that FIFA is fully respected again”
  • “ FIFA will be restored … and proud of what we will do together”
  • “We have just had a competition for Presidency but also a sign of our democracy”
  • “ I want to be the President of all of you”
  • “ The moment of crisis is over, we will implement reforms and new governance arrangements- but also win respect fro football”


Questions remain for the new President.

• Finance and sponsors, will they support FIFA or will FIFA have the same issues as the IAAF? FIFA estimated to be more than $US 250 billion dollar operation.

• The bidding process for 2018 and 2022 – will the new President review the situation and publish the full copy of the Garcia report?

• Trust in the new arrangements and people will be hard won and will the new reforms solve the problems facing FIFA?

• What is the first thing FIFA or the new President should do?

• Women are vastly under-represented in the decision making process. Globally just 2 of the current 2009 Member Association Presidents are women and the reforms are a long way from equality.

• Few fans or players recognise these individuals let alone know about or trust their policies.

• Too many it may not feel like change. All of the men running for President were/are from the football establishment.

The reforms need to be seen to be lived out on a daily basis might being more important than who is the actual President.