FIFA Reaffirms Determination to End Corruption in Football

March 11, 2021
$1.5bn FIFA Relief

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has disclosed that it is constantly tackling the main threats to football including corruption and crime.

The president of the football governing body, Mr Gianni Infantino, made this known at the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, where he asserted that FIFA would not only protect “just football and its institutions, but also the very people that practise the sport”.

Mr Infantino said that, with a rock-solid commitment to good governance, the new FIFA has laid solid foundations to eliminate corruption from football.

“Through the FIFA Forward Programme, we provide each of our 211 member associations worldwide with up to five times more investment than they received before 2016. But the key difference is that each and every dollar of this investment is tied to specific contracts and external independent audits in each and every country. The new FIFA leaves no room for wrongdoing,” he said.

Referencing the body’s ground-breaking financial support scheme devised and rolled out last year, he noted: “During the pandemic, we have again put this into practice with the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, an unprecedented $1.5 billion fund to support football through difficult times. In football’s hour of need, funding only goes where it is needed.”

On other threats to the integrity of football, the FIFA President raised the issue of match manipulation, saying that, “with the financial strains of the recent pandemic, we will have to remain even more vigilant than ever to ensure that those involved in matches are not susceptible to match-fixing”.

He explained that the common elements to these agreements include good governance, the protection of the integrity of sport, and the safeguarding of children and through FIFA’s work to reform the transfer system, the organisation is striving to ensure the fair and correct distribution of money that is in compliance with national and international financial regulations, including applicable anti-money laundering laws.

Speaking on protecting the people that practise the sport, Mr Infantino explained that with the Guardians Programme with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Council of Europe and Safe Sport International to help prevent any risk of harm to children and those most vulnerable and to respond appropriately if concerns arise, FIFA is looking to do even more in the fight against one of the most serious crimes in society.

“FIFA is a proud ally of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), we are truly thankful for the partnership that we established with UNODC last year to tackle one of the toughest issues facing our sport, including child safeguarding, protecting sports integrity and preventing crime.

“We are currently discussing to potentially establish an independent, multi-sports, multi-government and multi-agency international centre for safe sports to help manage cases of abuse of children in sport.”

President Infantino asserted that FIFA’s strength in tacking these issues lay in its collaboration with specialised agencies.

“Recognising the natural limits of our experience and expertise, we are forming global alliances with international and regional organisations to fight malpractices and help bring about positive social change.

“Since 2018, we have entered into collaboration agreements with such globally recognised authorities as the UNODC, the World Health Organization, UN Women, UNESCO, the World Food Programme, the Council of Europe, the African Union, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“The common elements to these agreements include good governance, the protection of the integrity of sport, and the safeguarding of children.”

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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