FIFA has worked tirelessly since 2016 to become a leading exponent of best practices by redesigning its audit and control environment. The year 2020 was a test of this system but thanks to the efforts of all concerned, the various mechanisms proved to be workable and efficient.
Although at the beginning it was challenging, the Audit and Compliance Committee continued its supervisory activities with the same high level of quality, in particular for the Forward funding. The judicial bodies showed no decrease in their level of scrutiny, the Governance Committee discussed pending issues, and the Review Committee carried out eligibility tests without delay. The standing committees also proved that their functions were well embedded in the organisation. At the same time, Internal Audit as well as the statutory auditor contributed further to the effectiveness of this robust system.
However, the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on football necessitated an unprecedented response from FIFA. Due to its sound financial results, FIFA was in a position to react to COVID-19 by rapidly coming to the aid of its member associations in need, which took the form of a comprehensive USD 1.5 billion support package. Addressing many of the most pressing needs of the member associations entailed a huge responsibility – to ensure that the funds are spent wisely and properly and that a structure is in place to control the various steps of the process in distributing funds under the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan. A steering committee was set up to oversee and supervise the administration of this plan and its impact on beneficiaries and football in general. The final control will bring everything full circle with the Audit and Compliance Committee.
In addition, FIFA has continued to lead the way in the fields of governance and compliance in sports by holding the third edition of its Compliance Summit and by publishing the Compliance Handbook, a practical guide for member associations to support them in building and strengthening their own compliance structure.
FIFA continues to set the bar high not just for its members, but also for other sports organisations. We must not forget that the funds that FIFA has entrusted the member associations with will always belong to football and we do not want to see any misuse; that would be an own goal for the game, which we all hope will soon be back to full strength worldwide.
Chairperson of the Audit & Compliance Committee