Governance principles key to FIFA’s development programmes

ZURICH / PR: Concluding a momentous year, FIFA recently wrapped up a two-day seminar in December in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, with representatives of 18 east-African national associations. The event, organised with the participation of KPMG Zürich, FIFA’s central auditor, capped a two-year commitment by FIFA to support its member associations in their adaptation to new governance principles, and to FIFA’s new general regulations for development programmes.

At the 2012 and 2013 congresses, when FIFA officially announced to its 209 member associations the new governing framework for its development activities, it also pledged to accompany its members with dedicated information and support.

FIFA then went on to organize 12 information seminars – which concluded this year – and proposed specific activities for those members for which the transition would be the most challenging.

“The reforms and the new requirements by FIFA are not about control for the sake of controlling,” said Thierry Regenass, FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development. “It’s about making sure that FIFA’s investments, which are the national association’s investments, are optimised.”

Among the new initiatives proposed by FIFA were the regional seminars on financial governance, including the latest in Addis-Ababa for eastern Africa. Another seminar has also been organized for the English-speaking countries in CONCACAF. Future seminars will be organized in western Africa, the Spanish-speaking countries in CONCACAF, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia. The seminars focused on discussing financial management best practices for federations, current challenges, as well as the road towards full compliance to FIFA’s new requirements.

Fredy Luthiger, from KPMG Zürich, attended the seminar as a financial governance expert: “Direct contact is very valuable for us to better understand the situation of the member associations and their challenges. What the member associations have to understand is that it is important for FIFA, and for themselves, that FIFA funds are used in accordance with the FIFA Code of Ethics and all other FIFA regulations. These funds should help reach FIFA’s goals of development, and we all need to make sure that they are not used incorrectly, as in the end, incorrect use of development funds can damage the reputation of FIFA and its members – and this is not good for anyone involved.”

KPMG is also involved with FIFA for financial management support missions, to support some of its member associations in revising their financial structure when needed. The two-phase support first looks to assess the general financial structure of the association, identifying procedures, processes, structure, human resources, systems and software, and possible areas of weaknesses that need to be addressed. Then, in a second phase, an action plan is defined to correct the identified weaknesses.

A total 25 member associations received support in 2014.

FIFA’s development investment for the past cycle 2011-2014 amounted to $800 million USD. For the new cycle 2015-2018, the FIFA Congress approved a $900 million USD budget for Development activities; however, as of 1 January 2015, full compliance to all provisions of the general regulations for FIFA’s development programmes will be enforced. The main changes introduced by the general regulations of FIFA’s development programmes concern the member associations’ general governance and their financial management. In particular, FIFA now requires three crucial documents to be provided every year by all federations to be eligible for development programmes: the FIFA account’s – used for development programmes – audit report; the global annual accounts audit; the minutes of the association’s general assembly.

In 2014, FIFA approved 60 Goal projects, 27 Challenger projects for the less privileged associations, 17 Win-Win projects for income generation, involved 163 associations in its PERFORMANCE programme, and conducted close to 600 education activities (coaching, refereeing, women’s football, grassroots, beach soccer, futsal).

During the year, FIFA’s total investment for the development of football since 1999 reached the $2 billion USD mark.