FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and Lord George Foulkes of Cumnock (United Kingdom, SOC), PACE rapporteur on “Football governance: business and values” held on April 8 talks via videoconference, addressing a number of key issues for sport and for society.
“We had a very constructive discussion with the opportunity of Lord Foulkes’ upcoming report, and I was very pleased to see that FIFA and the Council of Europe can continue working hand in hand, with joint objectives, common challenges and a number of shared priorities, particularly with regard to the fight against corruption, the promotion of good governance and the protection of human rights,” the FIFA President said. “It is clear that football can play its part in tackling societal issues and be a force to bring about positive social change. Our two organisations have been working together since we signed a memorandum of understanding in 2018, and we both agreed that this collaboration should be reinforced under a renewed cooperation plan for the coming years.”
“FIFA has come a long way in recent years, with deep-rooted reforms,” said Lord Foulkes. “I value FIFA’s engagement and concrete action to strengthen the human rights dimension of football governance, their focus on child protection and in particular the initiative to create a Safe Sport Centre. There are still challenges ahead, of which FIFA is aware, for example in terms of gender equality in football. I trust in FIFA – and its President – regarding their commitment to keep on working towards enhanced governance and higher solidarity within the football world. It is a credible organisation and a reliable partner with whom we can work together to address some of the key issues that our society is facing.”
The talks focused in particular on the ongoing reform of the transfer system initiated by FIFA, for which Lord Foulkes expressed his support, especially on the principle and rationale of the new football agent regulations currently being developed, with the aim of bringing more transparency, accountability and a fairer distribution of money within the football pyramid.
The discussions also addressed the measures being implemented to improve labour rights in Qatar in connection with the upcoming FIFA World Cup, an acknowledgement of the major reforms already underway and support for FIFA’s commitment to continue working to further improve labour conditions beyond FIFA World Cup sites.
The FIFA President repeated his call for the creation of an international safe sport entity to effectively tackle the issue of abuse in sport, with Lord Foulkes offering his support to this initiative and agreeing that sports and public authorities need to join forces to make this important project happen as soon as possible.