Friday 22 September 2023, 09:15

FIFA and UNODC renew Memorandum of Understanding to kick crime out of football

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino and UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly extend agreement

  • Both bodies reiterate determination to combat corruption and develop safeguarding in football

FIFA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have reinforced their joint-commitment to kicking crime out of football by renewing their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. Signed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly while both are in New York alongside the world leaders and influential global figures gathered at the United Nations (UN), the MoU commits both parties to stepping up their efforts to protect the integrity of the game. Equally, safeguarding forms part of the MoU as it has become a core aspect of the joint-cooperation, and FIFA and UNODC will continue to work to ensure the football environment is protected for children, young adults, and vulnerable athletes, while also developing capacities and raise awareness of tackling corruption and crime in and through football. Additionally, both parties agreed to support the development of a new UNODC global network aimed at enhancing collaboration and coordination between law enforcement anti-corruption authorities and sports organisations.

"Football unites people from all corners of the world – young and old, boys and girls. It can promote healthy lifestyles, provide new opportunities, and inspire millions to achieve their goals both on and off the pitch,” said Ms Waly. “I am proud that UNODC and FIFA are renewing our commitment to ensure fair play for all and to defend football’s integrity for the millions of fans worldwide, the players, and the next generations still to come. With this new Memorandum of Understanding, we’re striving to put an end to match-fixing, bribery, and corruption, to preserve the game’s beauty for all," stated Ms Waly.

Mr Infantino said: “Through the renewal of this Memorandum of Understanding, I am pleased that UNODC and FIFA have reinforced our joint commitment to kicking crime out of football, and that both organisations remain committed to ensuring fair play and to defending football’s integrity. “FIFA has already done a lot of good work with the UNODC in making football cleaner and we will continue to work towards giving girls and boys around the world the chance to fulfil their dreams on the pitch.”

The two bodies initially combined to tackle corruption and crime in and through football under the auspices of an MoU signed at UNODC headquarters in Vienna in 2020. Since, FIFA and UNODC have collaborated to support the implementation of over 60 activities. Examples include a campaign encouraging those in the game to call out corruption using FIFA's reporting platforms, which ensures whistleblowers can act in strictest confidence. The Global Integrity Programme was also launched in March 2021, and provided all 211 FIFA member associations, as well as representatives of criminal justice authorities, with the knowledge and tools to prevent and combat match manipulation via a series of 30 workshops.