FIFA Legal

FIFA Legal & compliance

In line with The Vision 2020-2023, and as part of FIFA’s work to modernise the football regulatory framework, a number of milestones were delivered by the FIFA Legal & Compliance Division in 2022.

FIFA Clearing House

Wednesday, 16 November 2022 was a groundbreaking day for football as the FIFA Clearing House began operations.

As highlighted by FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the 71st FIFA Congress, there is still a significant imbalance in world football and insufficient rewards for training clubs. To help remedy this, the FIFA Clearing House will ensure that training compensation and solidarity payments are made to the clubs that are entitled to them. It is estimated that, under the FIFA Clearing House, close to USD 400 million will be distributed each year to training clubs, which currently only receive approximately USD 70-80 million.

With an initial focus on the centralisation, processing and automation of payments between clubs relating to training rewards (training compensation and solidarity contribution), as well as on the promotion of financial transparency and integrity within the international transfer system,the FIFA Clearing House represents a new era for the global transfer system.

For the first time in the history of football, training rewards will be automatically calculated and distributed by the newly established entity, thereby increasing solidarity, transparency and integrity in the football world.

All training rewards triggered by transfers or first professional registrations will now be automatically calculated by FIFA systems and then processed by the FIFA Clearing House, an independent entity established in Paris which has been granted a licence to operate as a payment institution by the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution, ACPR).

Educating key stakeholders

Prior to the FIFA Clearing House becoming operational, and in order to brief those who will be directly affected by the new regulation, FIFA hosted a series of seven webinars for more than 300 representatives from 160 member associations.

These interactive webinars focused on the key objectives of the FIFA Clearing House: the centralisation and processing of payments between clubs as well as the promotion of financial transparency and integrity within the international transfer system.

The FIFA Clearing House will work with member associations in the following areas:

  • Training reward triggers: (international and domestic transfers, as well as first professional registrations) are declared by member associations and processed by FIFA systems to identify any potential entitlements

  • Electronic player passport: when a training reward trigger is identified, an electronic player passport is created with the registration information of the relevant member associations. A review process then ensures that the electronic player passport is complete

  • Distribution of training rewards through the FIFA Clearing House: the FIFA Clearing House will conduct a compliance assessment of all parties, and once this has been accepted, the Clearing House processes the payments from the new club to the training club(s)

FIFA Legal Portal

In May 2022, as part of its ongoing commitment to modernising the football regulatory framework, FIFA launched the FIFA Legal Portal, an online platform through which proceedings before the FIFA Football Tribunal and FIFA judicial bodies are now conducted. This new portal enables football stakeholders, such as clubs, players, associations, intermediaries, law firms with a power of attorney, and anyone else involved in proceedings, to lodge a claim with the relevant FIFA decision- making or judicial body.

While the proceedings are still governed by the respective FIFA regulations, the notification of communications, submissions, decisions and other documents are handled through the FIFA Legal Portal, which aims to ensure simple, secure and transparent communication between FIFA and the parties involved, as well as a better understanding of the proceedings and heightened traceability.

The new platform also gives users the possibility to report conduct that is considered incompatible with the FIFA regulations, supplementing the existing whistleblower platform.

The FIFA Legal Portal is gradually replacing the current email communication system. After the transitional period, proceedings will only be initiated through the portal, and all correspondence concerning proceedings before the FIFA Football Tribunal and FIFA judicial bodies will solely be conducted via the portal.

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Update on World Football Remission Fund

In June, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) announced a further distribution of approximately USD 92 million in compensation for losses suffered by FIFA, Concacaf, CONMEBOL and various constituent national member associations as victims of decades-long football corruption schemes.

The announcement followed the DoJ’s August 2021 decision to award the initial sum of USD 201 million to the FIFA Foundation by way of compensation.

These funds will continue to be channelled into the World Football Remission Fund, established under the auspices of the FIFA Foundation to help finance football-related projects with a positive community impact across the globe.

Speaking upon the announcement of the first remittance, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “I want to sincerely thank the US justice authorities for their efforts in this respect, for their fast and effective approach in bringing these matters to a conclusion, and also for their trust in general.”

President Infantino continued: “The truth is that, thanks to their intervention back in 2015, we have been able to fundamentally change FIFA, from a toxic organisation at the time to a highly esteemed and trusted global sports governing body. Thankfully, we are well past that unfortunate period in history now and it’s great to see significant funding being put at the disposal of the FIFA Foundation, which can positively impact so many people across the football world, especially through youth and community programmes.”

Global Integrity Programme

In August 2022, FIFA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) completed the first instalment of the FIFA Global Integrity Programme. The first of its kind anywhere in the football world, the programme is designed to support all 211 member associations in their efforts to tackle match manipulation in football.

Launched in 2021 in collaboration with UNODC, the FIFA Global Integrity Programme aims to educate and buildintegrity capacity within member associations, and to share knowledge and resources with integrity officers in football.

Since the launch of the programme, some 400-plus representatives from governments and football associations across the globe have taken part in 29 workshops covering several key topics, including establishing an integrity initiative, reporting mechanisms, competition protection, and cooperation between and among member associations and law enforcement.

Executive Programme in Football Agency

In February 2022, and in line with Goal 1 of The Vision 2020-2023 to modernise the football regulatory framework, FIFA launched the Executive Programme in Football Agency.

FIFA first regulated the football agency industry in the 1990s, which required the use of highly qualified professionals who are able to adequately represent and protect the interests of their clients in the transfer market.

The Executive Programme in Football Agency is the first such educational programme in FIFA’s history, and it highlights the importance that FIFA places on the education of football stakeholders to further enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of the football industry.

The programme was launched following proposals and requests from various agents associations all around the world.

2022 Legal Handbook published

September 2022 saw the publication of the 2022 edition of the Legal Handbook, providing a unique overview of the latest regulations, statutory documents and circulars issued by world football’s governing body.

The 2022 edition includes all recent changes and amendments to the regulations and rules applicable to football organisations and matches, such as the FIFA Statutes, the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) and the Procedural Rules Governing the Football Tribunal.

Temporary rules regarding the movement of Ukrainian players

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, FIFA kept a close eye on the situation in order to be in the best possible position to assist Ukrainian clubs and players in any way, including by adopting temporary amendments to its regulations.

On 7 March 2022, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided to temporarily amend the RSTP
and provide urgent legal certainty and clarity on a number of regulatory matters, and an interpretative note was also enclosed with FIFA circular no. 1787 to provide guidance to member associations and their stakeholders.

On 7 March 2022, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided to temporarily amend the RSTP and provide urgent legal certainty and clarity on a number of regulatory matters, and an interpretative note was also enclosed with FIFA circular no. 1787 to provide guidance to member associations and their stakeholders.

On 2 July 2022, the Bureau of the FIFA Council approved further temporary amendments to the FIFA regulatory framework in order to extend the application of Annexe 7 to the RSTP until 30 June 2023.

Additionally, in relation to the protection of minors, it was clarified that minors fleeing Ukraine to other countries with their parents due to the armed conflict will be considered to have fulfilled the requirements of article 19 paragraph 2 a) of the RSTP, exempting them from the rule preventing the international transfer of players before the age of 18.

FIFA continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine to ensure that the regulatory framework reflects any further developments.

Football Law Annual Review – 4th edition

The fourth edition of the FIFA Football Law Annual Review was held in Buenos Aires on 10 and 11 March 2022. Attendance at the two-day event was free of charge and open to all representatives of member associations, confederations, leagues, clubs, and players’ and agents’ unions. All sessions were also streamed live on in English, French and Spanish.

FIFA organised the first-ever FIFA Football Law Annual Review in 2019 in order to present, on an annual basis, the regulatory work, case law and main decisions of its decision-making and judicial bodies, as well as the main Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) proceedings arising from FIFA’s decisions.

FIFA Diploma in Football Law – 2nd edition

In 2022, and following the success of the inaugural FIFA Diploma in Football Law, FIFA – in collaboration with the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) – launched the second edition with modules in Miami, Asunción and Cairo.

In line with The Vision 2020-2023, as laid out by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, to make football truly global, the FIFA Diploma in Football Law aims to provide sports legal executives working at FIFA member associations, leagues, clubs, players’ unions and private practices from all around the globe with a working knowledge of the latest and most relevant aspects in the legal field.

Reflecting the international dimension of football and subject to health and travel restrictions, the diploma comprises virtual and in-person lessons. It is delivered over the course of 13 months, during which renowned football experts, arbitrators and lawyers offer a full array of theoretical and practical insight across five modules.

FIFA Executive Programme in Sports Arbitration – 2nd edition

Throughout 2022, FIFA continued with the delivery of the second edition of the Executive Programme in Sports Arbitration, with sessions in Paris, Zurich and online.

The programme offers a practical, personalised learning method, backed up by theory and research that focuses primarily on proceedings and practical aspects before CAS as well as exploring arbitration at other sports bodies.

FIFA has long-standing and extensive practice before CAS, and no other international federation has as much experience of dealing with such procedures, with FIFA having been involved in thousands of cases before CAS, covering the whole spectrum of legal disputes.

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Second edition of FIFA Executive Programme in Anti-Doping planned for 2023

The FIFA Executive Programme in Anti-Doping will return for a second edition in 2023 – with modules scheduled to take place in Zurich (March) and Paris (April) – before returning to Zurich for the third and final module in May.

The programme provides an in-depth analysis of the main regulatory, institutional and scientific aspects of anti-doping in sport. Since the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999, the fight against doping in sport has evolved dramatically, and the interaction between WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code and sports governing bodies’ regulations and national legislation has led to considerable complexity in this field.

New regulations on the loan system come into play

Following the decision passed by the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee in May 2021, the new regulations concerning player loans came into force on 1 July 2022.

The introduction of a new regulatory framework for loans is another important step in the context of the wider reform of the transfer system, a process that began in 2017. Initially planned to come into force in July 2020, the implementation of the new rules had to be delayed as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussions with various stakeholder groups laid the foundations for this new framework and ensured that the new rules are firmly anchored on the following core objectives:

• Developing young players

• Promoting competitive balance

• Preventing the hoarding of players

At domestic level, FIFA’s member associations will be granted a period of three years to implement rules for a loan system that is in line with the principles established at international level.

FIFA World Cup Integrity Task Force

The Integrity Task Force, established by FIFA to monitor the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, was able to successfully monitor all 64 matches and to subsequently report that there were no signs of betting or match manipulation.

The establishment of the task force was in line with FIFA’s core objective of safeguarding and promoting the integrity of football across all of its competitions, and it followed similar initiatives implemented within the scope of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™. With the support of the task force, Qatar 2022 was the first time that FIFA was able to monitor both the betting markets and in-game action in real time at every FIFA World Cup™ match.

To ensure that integrity matters were handled in a coordinated and timely manner by experienced officers, FIFA joined forces with key organisations, including the Qatar Safety & Security Operations Committee, the Council of Europe and its Group of Copenhagen, INTERPOL, the Global Lottery Monitoring System, Sportradar and the International Betting Integrity Association. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the principal law enforcement and investigative service of the United States, will join the group to provide its experience and expertise in preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2026™.

In addition to setting up the Integrity Task Force, FIFA organised seminars with the integrity officers of all 32 participating member associations, as well as with the appointed referees.

FIFA Football Agent Regulations approved

On 16 December 2022, the FIFA Council took a major step towards establishing a fairer and more transparent football transfer system by approving the FIFA Football Agent Regulations, which seek to introduce basic service standards for football agents and their clients, including a mandatory licensing system, the prohibition of multiple representation to avoid conflicts of interest, and the introduction of a cap on commissions. The overall objectives are to reinforce contractual stability, to protect the integrity of the transfer system and to achieve greater financial transparency.

Also published in 2022

• Disciplinary and ethics

• Players’ Status Department

• Anti-Doping

• Transfers

• Annual International Transfers


4th Compliance Summit in Costa Rica

In September, the 4th FIFA Compliance Summit took place in Costa Rica and for the first time since the start of the pandemic, more than 200 representatives from FIFA’s member associations, as well as governance and compliance experts from the world of football gathered the majority in person to expand on the issues discussed at the previous summit held in 2020.

The summit was opened via videoconference technology by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. In his opening remarks, Mr Infantino encouraged member associations “go beyond good practice and approach compliance in a different way”, citing the transformation that FIFA has been executing on compliance since 2016, based on “credibility, transparency and accountability”.

President Infantino added: “We had to make some fast and radical changes and reforms, via the new Legal and Compliance Division, and when it comes to compliance matters, it is like a referee in a game. When you don’t notice the referee, this means that they are doing a pretty good job. This is because (at FIFA) we installed some very important good governance principles, and it’s important that we remind all of us, always, of what we did. The new FIFA is a credible, trustworthy organisation, which is, and has to be at the service of football, not the other way around. There are three words that sum up this transformation: credibility, transparency, accountability.”

Collaborating on the event was the president of the Costa Rican Football Association, Rodolfo Villalobos, who echoed the words of President Infantino by reaffirming to the attendees that “this is why FIFA invited you here, to help you, prepare you, and give you the necessary tools.”

FIFA Director of Compliance, Patrick Trépanier was also in attendance, as was FIFA's Director of Legal Affairs and Compliance, Emilio García Silvero, who opened the general session.

Agenda items

• Building privacy and trust

• Speak-up culture

• Conflicts of interest

• Digital privacy

FIFA Deputy Secretary General (Administration), Alasdair Bell, and Chris Mihm, Chairperson of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Working Group closed the summit.

In his closing remarks, the FIFA Deputy Secretary General said: “We have seen the commitment of our member associations to continuous growth and improvement in the sphere of compliance. A commitment, not only to establishing and maintaining ‘good’ compliance, but to taking those programmes above and beyond best practice.”

Goals and achievements in 2022

To play its part in helping FIFA to realise The Vision 2020-2023, the FIFA Compliance Subdivision launched, undertook and delivered a wide range of activities, initiatives and programmes throughout 2022. Here are some of the highlights of a very busy year:

Modernise the football regulatory framework

Worked closely with the Member Associations Division to provide recommendations on amendments to the Forward 3.0 Regulations

Grow revenues sustainably for further reinvestment in football

Participated in evaluation meetings for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Legacy Fund, seeking and receiving clarification on revenue reinvested into football

Increase FIFA’s efficiency and efficacy

Launched a third-party due diligence screening module to simplify and centralise FIFA-wide onboarding and screening

Ensure the success of FIFA’s iconic competitions

Supported the establishment of robust local compliance programmes for the tier 1 tournaments in 2022 and 2023, and proactively put compliance on the agenda for the FIFA World Cup 2026

Globalise FIFA’s competitions

Provided dedicated support to the local compliance team for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with ongoing capacity-building and knowledge-sharing on a global scale

Increase global competitiveness

Helped to launch the FIFA Clearing House to process payments related to training rewards. The Director of Compliance also sits on a Supervisory Board to guide the Clearing House operations

Maximise FIFA’s impact on global football development

Supported member associations on-site and remotely with training, development and implementation of compliance programmes

Accelerate the growth of women’s football

Contributed to the assessment and amendment of regulations on preparation funds for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023, enshrining proper use and transparency

Harness technology in football

Assisted member associations and FIFA Football Technology & Innovation on opportunities and restrictions for implementing VAR technology in key focus areas

Protect positive values in football

Assessed the impact of economic sanctions on football and the continuation of development programmes

Impact society through the power of football

Collaborated across both football and non-football related fields, including with the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC), the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) and the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

Internal audit

The internal audit function supports FIFA in achieving its objectives by applying a systematic and disciplined approach to evaluating and improving the effectiveness of FIFA’s governance, risk management and control processes. Internal audits enhance organisational value by ensuring that FIFA’s operations, programmes and processes are fit for purpose, effectively performed and efficiently delivered. They also provide core assurance, advise the business, help the business anticipate risk and serve as a proactive champion of strong governance standards and ethical culture within FIFA and its broader community.

The Audit, Risk & Advisory Subdivision adds value to FIFA and its senior management by providing objective assurance and advice to support the adoption of strong governance and best practices, thereby protecting FIFA’s assets, reputation and sustainability. This includes recommending improvements to eliminate errors, reduce inefficiencies and/or to mature processes as well as monitoring the implementation of recommendations via FIFA’s internal audit portal. Through its reporting and monitoring services, the internal audit function also has an important role to play in helping the Governance, Audit and Compliance Committee to discharge its oversight responsibilities.

Internal audits at FIFA are risk-based, which means that FIFA’s annual internal audit plan is developed and approved based on key risk areas identified by senior management and other risk owners during FIFA’s risk management process. FIFA’s internal audit framework is aligned with the good-practice elements of The Institute of Internal Auditors’ International Professional Practice Framework, including the Core Principles for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, the Internal Audit Code of Ethics, the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) and the Definition of Internal Auditing.

Risk management

The purpose of risk management is to create and protect value. It improves performance, encourages innovation and supports the achievement of FIFA’s objectives.

FIFA operates a modern risk management system aligned with ISO 31000:2018, providing guidance to identify, measure, manage, monitor and report significant risks to the achievement of FIFA’s objectives and to identify opportunities to pursue. The Audit, Risk & Advisory Subdivision provides senior management as well as the Governance, Audit and Compliance Committee with objective and independent information on FIFA’s key risks and measures to address them.

The risk management framework ensures that this information is reported via FIFA’s risk management portal and used as a basis for decision-making and accountability at all relevant organisational levels. Changes in the risk environment, based on new information, may result in changing strategies employed to treat risk and exploit opportunities. Risks at FIFA are therefore continuously monitored and reassessed when required.

Risk management is not a one-time “project”, but rather a continuous discipline that evolves over time as risks and opportunities change. The introduction of risk management and ensuring its ongoing effectiveness require strong and sustained commitment from FIFA’s senior management, as well as strategic and rigorous planning at all levels.

Risk management and other functions

Risks identified in the risk management process may require the risk owners to define adequate controls in collaboration with FIFA’s internal control system managed by the Finance Division.

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ risk management

The Audit, Risk & Advisory Subdivision ensures that risk management at FIFA’s subsidiary in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, which is responsible for organising the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023TM, is in line with FIFA’s overall risk management framework and methodology.