Thursday 16 March 2023, 18:30

2019-2022: four years of record-breaking achievements

  • Massive strides made by FIFA in terms of good governance and transparency

  • FIFA organises best-ever editions of the FIFA World Cup™ and the FIFA Women’s World Cup™

  • Sevenfold increase in football development investment

During the 2019-2022 cycle, FIFA has further transformed and become a solid and well-respected organisation that develops football across the world. Above all, world football’s governing body has made massive strides to improve governance, transparency, in particular financial transparency, and business performance, thus fulfilling its statutory objectives and setting new standards in the sports industry. In his address to the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, FIFA President Gianni Infantino took the opportunity to reflect upon four years of record-breaking developments across world football. 1. The best FIFA World Cup™ ever – Qatar 2022 The first FIFA World Cup to take place in the Arab world was as record-breaking as it was ground-breaking.

An estimated 5 billion people around the globe followed the action on various platforms, while over one million visitors travelled to Qatar to watch matches in person in a spirit of friendship and togetherness. On the pitch, Argentina’s Lionel Messi stole the show, an African team reached the semi-finals for the first time thanks to Morocco’s performances, and teams from three different confederations reached the semi-finals, making it a truly global celebration. ““We organised the best FIFA World Cup ever...(where) we also took on board our responsibility to deal with human rights matters and to deal with the legacy of this World Cup – the first in the Middle East,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. 2. The best FIFA Women’s World Cup™ ever – France 2019 The FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019 was a real turning point, with over 1.1 million spectators in the stadiums and more than 1 billion TV viewers around the globe. Not only a sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™ was also a cultural phenomenon, supported by the outstanding performances of several stars that left a legacy and paved the way to the enlargement of the tournament to 32 teams.

3. COVID-19 Relief Plan In July 2020, FIFA launched an unprecedented FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan to provide security and support to all 211 FIFA member associations as they faced extensive disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, FIFA made USD 1.5 billion available to protect football and footballers in their country and to secure a safe future for the sport.

4. All-time record revenues USD 7.5 billion generated: FIFA’s record-breaking revenue of USD 7.5 billion during the 2019-2022 cycle has resulted in an unprecedented investment in football. This has been the result of FIFA’s solid financial transparency and is a testament to how the organisation is making football truly global. “Our revenues have gone up to a record USD 7.5 billion, and this was 1 billion more than what was budgeted in a period which was beset by COVID,” the FIFA President said. “You cannot do this if you are not strong, if you are not a strong and solid organisation which is trusted by everyone.” 5. Record for solidarity investment Sevenfold increase: FIFA has achieved a sevenfold increase in football development investment, with each member association entitled to receive approximately USD 8 million during the 2023-2026 cycle. The increased investment is the result of FIFA’s solid financial transparency. “Every single dollar that is being invested in the projects and the associations will undergo an independent audit,” the FIFA President added. “Money doesn’t just get lost anymore, and that is why we are so optimistic and positive.” Through FIFA Forward, FIFA’s member associations have received tailor-made support to ensure that football reaches its full potential in every single country.

6. Good governance and transparency FIFA’s fundamental change has been acknowledged by several external organisations, including the United States Department of Justice, which awarded the sum of USD 201 million to the FIFA Foundation as compensation for the losses suffered by FIFA, Concacaf and CONMEBOL as victims of decades of football corruption schemes. Furthermore, in the past seven years, FIFA has built strong alliances with different organisations, including the G20, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Caribbean Community, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Council of Europe, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UN Women, the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, among others.

7. Transfer system reform FIFA has taken key steps to better regulate the transfer system and bring about much-needed financial transparency, including the creation of the FIFA Clearing House, the approval of the Football Agent Regulations, the limitation on the number of loans and specific initiatives to protect female players, among other key measures. The reforms, which follow an extensive consultation process and have been backed by key political stakeholders, are aimed at countering a series of worrying trends that FIFA has identified in recent years, including a growing number of abusive practices, widespread conflicts of interest, and a market driven by speculation rather than solidarity and redistribution across the football pyramid.

8. Revision of the International Match Calendar The approval of the new International Match Calendars (IMCs) by the FIFA Council in March 2023 was the result of extensive consultation with key stakeholders and confirmed that FIFA is open to rethinking how global football is structured while also ensuring player well-being. The FIFA Council took an additional key step by approving the establishment of a dedicated task force on player welfare to ensure the smooth implementation of the IMCs. “We created a task force to study how, for each of these cases, we would protect (the players') welfare so they would have a certain block period for holidays, that they would rest after the matches,” the FIFA President told the 73rd FIFA Congress. “And we want everything to go smoothly for everyone.”

9. Changes to the Laws of the Game Use of video assistant referee (VAR) clips: FIFA has made massive strides in the use of technology, with The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) confirming in March 2023 the decision to trial the broadcasting of the announcement of VAR review decisions in-stadium and to a live television audience. Both the 2022 and 2018 editions of the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 showcased how VAR has brought more fairness to football.

10. Social impact FIFA has launched several initiatives that showcase the power of football to improve lives around the world. This includes Football for Schools, which is an ambitious programme that aims to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of millions of children. Likewise, since 2018 the FIFA Foundation has implemented several activities to tackle social issues affecting young people, while empowering women and girls to play football and realise their full potential. Additionally, in June 2022, FIFA President Gianni Infantino delivered a video message raising a “Green Card for the Planet” to highlight awareness on the protection of the environment.

11. Global campaign “Football Unites the World” Ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022™, FIFA launched “Football Unites the World”, a global movement to inspire, unite and develop through football. Qatar’s showpiece seized a unique opportunity in history to harness all that football is to connect the world, with several football stars promoting a strong message to a huge audience. “We always need to remember that football is a synonym of joy, happiness, peace,” the FIFA President concluded. “Football unites the world,” the FIFA President concluded, “this is what we have achieved in the last four years.”