The European Parliament regrets that recent corruption allegations against the international football federation FIFA have seriously damaged the credibility and the integrity of global football. In a resolution voted on Thursday, MEPs call for a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in football, underlining that in-depth structural reforms within the organisation are now urgently needed.
Parliament welcomes Joseph Blatter’s resignation as FIFA president and calls on the federation to select an interim leader to replace him. FIFA should put in place a transparent, balanced and democratic decision-making process, including for the election of the new president, adds the resolution, which was passed by a show of hands.
2018 and 2022 World Cup decisions invalid if corruption is proven
The resolution stresses that all officials involved in financial misconduct should be dismissed and any decisions that are linked to corrupt or criminal activities should be reviewed.
MEPs underline the importance of the investigation by Swiss and US authorities into the award of the 1998, 2010, 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to France, South Africa, Russia and Qatar. They welcome the statement by the head of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee that the award of the World Cup for 2018 and 2022 could be invalidated if evidence emerges that the awards only came about as a result of corrupt activities.
Ethical standards should be monitored by an independent body
MEPs consider that since corruption within FIFA is “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted”, the football federation should undertake wide-ranging reforms, including a review of its statutes, structure, code and operational policies. The federation should improve its transparency and accountability, in particular with regard to the decision-making process and the remuneration of its executive and senior management. It should also establish term limits and independent due diligence for members of FIFA’s Executive Committee, the text underlines.
MEPs urge FIFA to implement strict ethical standards and a code of conduct for its management and Executive Committee, to be supervised by an independent monitoring body.
EU and member states should cooperate fully with investigations
MEPs urge the EU and its member states to cooperate fully with all ongoing and future investigations on corrupt practices within FIFA. They should enhance law enforcement cooperation through joint investigation teams and cooperation between prosecution authorities and take all appropriate measures to tackle any possible indication of corruption of FIFA officials on EU territory, says the text.
Baku Games and Azerbaijan’s political prisoners
The holding of the 2015 European Games in Baku (Azerbaijan) at a time when most of Azerbaijan’s human rights defenders are in prison, was debated by MEPs on Wednesday evening. They asked the EU Council of Ministers to urge Olympic committees and large sports federations to include respect for human rights, a core EU value, in criteria for decisions on who hosts international sporting events. Most MEPs stressed that large sporting events have important economic and political implications and expressed concern that authoritarian regimes may use these events to boost their countries’ reputations.
Procedure: non legislative resolution