December 12 – FIFA and the European Parliament (EP) have not always sat cosily alongside each other with the EP having warned in the past that it would force regulation on football’s governing body across a host of commercial and social policy areas if it didn’t reform.
However, signs are that there is gently rapprochement taking place following a meeting between FIFA president Gianni Infantino (pictured left) and EP president David Sassoli (pictured right).
Opening in an area where common ground is both easy to find and non-confrontational, the two bodies “have agreed to organising a joint event next year with the objective to address critical social issues via football”, said a FIFA press release. The shape of that event is still to be determined.
“We started a path at FIFA some years ago to invest football into the social side of things because we have a social responsibility and we take it very seriously. But we cannot do that alone, and this is why I’m very happy to be here today to team up with the European institutions in order to make sure that we can use football as a tool for social cohesion, for inclusion, for discussions about topics such as equality, discrimination, women’s rights, opportunities, free movement, health and climate,” said Infantino.
“Those are all matters that concern football as well as general society, and this is why we have to work together. Next year we will work to organise an event to make sure that these messages can pass in a joint manner.”
The reform of the transfer system is an area where the European Parliament has expressed strong opinion and a regulatory interest if it concluded FIFA failed to make changes.
“We need to make sure the transfer system is transparent. We are working to implement the recommendations of the European Parliament and the European Commission and I am glad to feel the support of the European institution because this is something that we are doing together for the benefit of everyone, football and society,” said Infantino.
The theme of transparency was echoed by Sassolo who was slightly more watchful in his comment, saying: “Football is an important industry, especially in Europe, but like every economic activity it requires maximum transparency. The European Parliament has made important statements in the past about what needs to happen in the world of football and FIFA today is modernising, it is changing, it is looking to the future.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org