From 12 August 2018 FIFA's new Code of Ethics (CoE) will come into force. This comes after a thorough review and marks a continued effort by FIFA Ethics Committee (EC) to ensure transparency and legal certainty in disciplinary procedures and, more broadly, safeguard the integrity and reputation of football.
These changes are set to affect all 211 members associations and six confederations, each bearing responsibility to uphold the core principles of FIFA and to ensure these changes are implemented.
Below is a summary of the key changes:
1. Articles 13 to 29
Member associations and confederations shall adopt within their regulations, the Rules of Conduct as detailed in articles 13 to 29 of the CoE so that all football stakeholders shall respond to inappropriate conduct using the same general principles.
2. Article 30
Provides that EC and ethics committees of the member associations will have exclusive competence power to give rulings on:
- Conduct committed by individuals elected, appointed or assigned by FIFA to exercise a function,
- Conduct concerning the individual's duties and responsibilities as a FIFA member, and
- Conduct linked to the use of FIFA funds.
3. Crack down on match fixing
FIFA are making a concerted effort to rid the sport of match manipulation. To ensure such cases are handled effectively the revised CoE shall take a more holistic approach to ensure there is no room for legal uncertainty.
4. Introduction of the 'plea bargain'
This amendment enables ethics committees to handle cases more quickly if the accused takes responsibility for their actions. The CoE provides a plea bargain mechanism through which the EC is entitled to make sanctions subject to mutual consent, in order to manage cases in a more flexible way.
5. Enforcement of compliance training
EC members can require football officials to undertake compliance training. Such disciplinary measures aim to assure the public that those found guilty will be forced to deepen their knowledge of FIFA rules and better understand how to perform their duties.
6. Challenging EC rulings
One of the most notable amendments concerns how EC decisions can be challenged. From 12 August 2018 the unsuccessful parties may appeal such decisions directly before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The only exception being manipulation cases which firstly will be appealed before the FIFA Appeal Committee and, if necessary progress to CAS.
In a time where organisations are increasingly in the spotlight the new CoE provisions demonstrate that not only are FIFA taking greater responsibility for their members' conduct but are more focused than ever on maintaining the reputation of football.
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