Football’s global governing body needs a culture change.
Last year will likely go down as the worst in the 112-year history of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body.
Not surprisingly, the 2015 scandal has many—including employees, players and fans—calling for change. A reform committee put forth a number of new principles aimed at an organizational cultural transformation, including humility, candor and responsibility. In February, 179 of the 207 FIFA member associations present and eligible at the organization’s Extraordinary Congress in Zurich approved them.
“What you’re talking about here is culture change. That takes time.”
—Moya Dodd, a former player and current member of the Asian Football Confederation executive committee
“We stand united in our determination to put things right, so that the focus can return to football once again,” said Issa Hayatou, acting FIFA president. “The hard work of restoring trust and improving how we work begins now. Click To Tweet This will create a system of stronger governance and greater diversity that will give football a strong foundation on which to thrive. It will help to restore trust in our organization. And it will deter future wrongdoing.”
FIFA also elected Gianni Infantino as its new president at the Extraordinary Congress. Mr. Infantino spent seven years as general secretary at the Union of European Football Associations, European soccer’s governing body. “We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA. And everyone in the world will applaud us,” he said.
Australian Moya Dodd, a former player and current member of the Asian Football Confederation executive committee, led the charge to increase the number of women on FIFA’s top decision-making committee as part of the reform package. It currently has just one female voting member on its 25-person board. Now the association has committed to the “promotion of women as an explicit statutory objective of FIFA to create a more diverse decision-making environment and culture,” per the official language of the reforms.
Additional guidelines in FIFA’s new reform plan include term limits for the FIFA president as well as the members of the FIFA Council and judicial bodies, a shakeup of the governing board and other structural changes.
“It will be a very big step forward, but not the last,” Ms. Dodd told The Huffington Post. “What you’re talking about here is culture change. That takes time.”