Europe’s leading clubs, having been given no say in FIFA’s reform package, have issued a strongly worded rebuke of the Organisation’s attempt to clean itself up.
The European Club Association (ECA) is particularly annoyed that it was not informed of FIFA’s proposal to add eight teams to the World Cup starting in 2026, and say they “are not prepared to be further ignored.”
The ECA has been very critical of FIFA’s decision to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in winter, right in the middle of the traditional European domestic season. The Organisation has rebuked FIFA’s lack of consultation over a 40-team World Cup, a statement said: “The recommendation to enhance the number of participating teams in the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 40 without prior consultation with the clubs (in full knowledge of the impact this will have on the professional club game), is proof that the proposed reforms are not at the required standard allowing for a new and modern FIFA.”
ECA says that while it appreciates that “a number of recommendations are important and necessary steps which should lead to FIFA’s institutional structure becoming more transparent and accountable moving forward,” the non-inclusion of stakeholders, mainly the clubs, was a bad oversight.
“Proposals relating specifically to governance reform are missing the involvement and greater recognition of all stakeholders.”
“Clubs, in particular, have the legitimate right to play a decisive role in football governance and occupy a position reflective of their significant contribution to the game. The creation of a football stakeholders’ committee does not address the lack of proper and meaningful stakeholder participation in FIFA’s decision-making process.”
“ECA believes that rather than reduce the risk of tension within the football family, the proposed recommendations will only lead to increased frustration among stakeholders.”
“ECA had misgivings towards the manner in which FIFA managed this reform process, but agreed to give FIFA the benefit of the doubt, believing that it was serious in its attempt to modernise the governance of world football.”
“However, given the recommendations that have now been presented, ECA was right to believe that a reform process led from within is unable to deliver a sustainable governance model which is fit for the 21st century.”