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Infantino lauds governance reforms as FIFA Compliance Summit begins

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FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said football’s governing body “stands here as a credible, accountable, modern, professional and transparent organisation” as the third FIFA Compliance Summit began.

Infantino was among the speakers during the opening session of the five-day event dedicated to good governance and compliance.

The FIFA Compliance Summit is being staged as a virtual event this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event will also feature working meetings and sessions dedicated to the first-ever FIFA Compliance Handbook, which the organisation insists offers members a template to introduce an effective compliance programme.

Former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Tomaž Vesel – chair of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee – FIFA director of compliance Patrick Trépanier and Elia Yi Armstrong, the director of the United Nations Ethics Office, also spoke during the opening session.

Infantino looked to highlight the governance and compliance reforms FIFA has made since he became President in the wake of numerous corruption scandals.

“Since my election in 2016, FIFA has worked tirelessly to successfully implement reforms in the fields of governance and compliance,” Infantino said.

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“Today, the new FIFA now stands here as a credible, accountable, modern, professional and transparent organisation – one which aims to be at the service of football and aims to ensure that football makes an active and positive impact on society.

“All of this would not have been done without embracing compliance and good governance.

“In 2016, we brought in transparency and accountability at every level – including mandatory auditing, term limits for senior officials, transparent bidding processes for FIFA competitions as well as establishing a dedicated compliance subdivision and internal function within FIFA.

“As we look to continue our efforts to make football truly global, it is now more important than ever, particularly in these difficult times, for football to continue to move in the right direction by working together and ensuring that the right governance and compliance structures and processes are in place at all levels.”

Despite this, Infantino’s tenure has not been without controversy and he found himself having to defend meetings with Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber at FIFA’s Congress last month.

Criminal proceedings were opened against Infantino in Switzerland in July over his dealings with Lauber, although FIFA’s Ethics Commission cleared the President of any wrongdoing.

Keynote speaker Lynch said praised how “FIFA is an organisation that has made great efforts to educate, train and promote a culture of compliance”.

Lynch supervised the US corruption investigations which effectively brought Sepp Blatter’s reign as FIFA President to an end and saw a number of officials jailed.

She added that she was “heartened to hear of FIFA’s renewed commitment to transparency and ethical behaviour and its desire to improve the compliance environment throughout all of football with the important objective of safeguarding this sport”.

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