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FIFA Statutes revised, President’s term extended

COURTESY FIFA.com: Doha/Qatar – It took the FIFA Extraordinary Congress less than an hour to unanimously approve the revised FIFA Statutes, the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes and the Standing Orders of the FIFA Congress today in Doha (Qatar).

The new FIFA Statutes, approved by the 197 associations present that were entitled to vote (out of a record total of 204 associations, cf. separate media release) will come into force on 1 January 2004, thus ensuring an historic start to the world governing body’s centennial year.

Before ratifying the Statutes as a whole, the associations also approved three amendments to the final draft, which had been proposed by the FIFA Executive Committee.

In Article 10 of the Statutes, the definition of the word “country” was amended to fall into line with the wording of the Olympic Charter, with the addendum reading: “In this context, the expression `country’ shall refer to an independent state recognised by the international community.” Furthermore, an additional paragraph was approved confirming that this article will not affect the status of existing members.

In relation to Article 20, it was agreed that the official name of CONCACAF would be given in its English form, namely, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.

Finally, a further proposal from the FIFA Executive Committee resulted in the deletion of the transitional rule in Article 80, which stated that the mandate of the current FIFA President would be extended until the 2007 Ordinary FIFA Congress. Delegates were reminded that Article 30, paragraph 2 already inherently provided for this extension of the President’s term of office in stating that the presidential election would always be held in the year following a FIFA World CupTM. Consequently, the Congress confirmed that the next presidential election would not take place until the 2007 FIFA Ordinary Congress and that the current President, Joseph S. Blatter, would remain in office until that time.

Regarding the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes, the new Article 15, which deals with the eligibility for national teams of players with dual nationality, was also amended to reflect the fact that “a player may exercise his right to change Associations only if he has not played at “A” international level for his country and if, at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition of any other category, he already had such nationalities.”. Moreover, in the English version, the word “nationality” would replace “citizenship” for the sake of clarity.

In the light of these decisions, the Congress approved the new Statutes by acclamation, before a formal and unanimous vote confirmed this move. FIFA President Blatter praised the work done by the Statutes Revision Committee and particularly the outstanding cooperation from associations and confederations during the drafting process, which had ultimately paved the way for unopposed approval in Doha.

The revised FIFA Statutes

A new constitution for world football

(FIFA.com) 20 Oct 2003

Even moderate amendments bring about many innovations. The following are the most important amendments:

Objectives of FIFA (art. 2 to 4): The new wording for the objectives of FIFA describes the aims of FIFA more succinctly and aptly in terms of its dual mission of improving the game and taking it to the world. Additionally, FIFA must monitor its sport and prevent any methods or practices likely to undermine the integrity of matches and competitions. Furthermore, greater emphasis has been placed on the unifying, educational, humanitarian and cultural effects of football. A separate article reinforces the fight against discrimination of any kind.

Code of ethics (art. 7): Every member of the FIFA family will be compelled to abide by the Code of Ethics under the new Statutes.

Members (art. 9 – 18) and Congress (art. 22 – 29): As members, the associations form the foundations of FIFA and, all together, the Congress, which is the supreme body of world football’s governing body. All of the articles concerning members have been put together at the beginning of the Statutes to take account of this fact. Henceforth, the FIFA Congress will be held every year.

Executive Committee (art. 30 and 31): The function and duties of the Executive Committee, the executive body of FIFA, basically remain unchanged. Oceania’s status has been enhanced to that of a vice-presidency.

President (art. 32): The role, duties and responsibilities of the President are clearly defined and distinctly delimited from those of the General Secretary. The mandate will, as before, last for four years but, in future, the election will be held in the year following the World Cup (art. 30). The next presidential election will therefore be in 2007, thus prolonging the mandate of the current President by one year.

Emergency Committee (art. 33): The composition of the Emergency Committee has been adapted to modern-day needs. Decisions passed by the body on matters which need immediate action between meetings of the executive are legally binding, but will be subsequently ratified by the Executive Committee.

Standing committees (art. 34 ff.): The duties of the various standing committees are more distinctly defined and described in detail in separate regulations. These committees help to bolster the Executive Committee’s decisions on a solid foundation while, at the same time, enabling the entire FIFA family to be involved in the decision-making process. Newcomers to the Statutes are the Internal Audit Committee and the FIFA Club World Championship Organising Committee. The suggestion was made that the Protocol Committee be dissolved.

General secretariat (art. 64 and 65): The duties of the general secretariat and General Secretary are clearly defined and distinctly separate from the decision-making of the Congress and the Executive and Emergency Committees. The general secretariat is responsible for carrying out administrative business. The General Secretary is responsible for the operative implementation of decisions passed by the Congress and the Executive Committee in compliance with directives from the President.

Finances of FIFA (art. 66 – 70): The Statutes stipulate that the revenue and expenditure of FIFA must be balanced over a four-year cycle. Moreover, sufficient reserves must be created. These provisions, and recent control mechanisms (such as the Internal Audit Committee), serve as a fundamental reinforcement of FIFA’s finances. Rules of this nature are unprecedented in the Statutes of sports organisations.

Commercial rights (art. 71): FIFA’s commercial rights have been more comprehensively and aptly defined. FIFA owns all of the rights connected with its activity as world football’s governing body.

International competitions (art. 73 – 77): The need to harmonise the international match calendar has now been laid down in a new article. In addition, the Executive Committee is empowered to issue guidelines for implementing the principle of rotation for FIFA’s final competitions.

Court of Arbitration for Sport (art. 59 – 61): CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) has replaced TAF and, as the supreme court, is recognised by FIFA as the last instance for settling any disputes between FIFA, the confederations, associations, leagues, clubs, players, officials and licensed players’ and match agents.

Eligibility to play for Association teams (art. 15 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes): The rule applicable so far, whereby a player with dual nationality was obliged to play for only one association if he had already taken part with a national team in an official match of any category, has been relaxed. Hencefor
th, a player may switch association teams once up to the age of 21 and under special circumstances.

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