How to pressurize FIFA towards change?


The #newFIFAnow campaign is a great example of collective action. Any suggestions on how to increase their reach and/or create new initiatives?


Amnesty International issued a new report called Qatar World Cup: The ugly side of the beautiful game.
Over one year, until February 2016, Amnesty has collected 234 testimonials of workers on the side which will host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, of which 100 stated to have been victim of abused going from threats about ending their contract, to delayed salaries and passports which have been confiscated and not given back.

All this is not new and these aspects are known thanks to various investigations that have been run autonomously over the past years. Football is generating sufferance, deaths whilst FIFA is standing still.
Is that too much to ask to FIFA to make pressure on the Committee of Organization of the 2022 World Cup to make sure that the human rights are being respected during the building of facilities for the host of their most famous football tournament and from which they will make huge profits?

Well, the answer arrived on the 1st December 2015: “FIFA is fully aware of the situation with regards to labour standards in Qatar and of the opportunity that FIFA, together with other stakeholders, has to improve working conditions in the country. We are convinced that the unique attraction and visibility of the FIFA World Cup™ globally is a strong catalyst for significant change”.

In other words, no measures are going to be taken to better the rights of the workers and the 2022 World Cup is still six year away.

So how can we make changes? Can we rely on sponsors, organizations affiliated to FIFA, FAs to make pressure on the FIFA that would lead to any kind of changes?

Where do we start?


This morning I came across an article from the Independent about the Panama Papers scandal: FIFA cannot been cleaned up, rip it up and start again.
I think that the title stresses well the fact that FIFA has no intention at all to reform itself and the NewFIFANow campaign launched last year is an example of how still the FIFA stands. The campaign has been putting pressure on the FIFA itself, its sponsors and affiliated football associations without any concrete positive outcome.

FIFA has reached a state which is negative for entire communities. The host of the last World Cups have devastated territories to build multi functional stadiums and facilities which have had a huge impact on the public finances of irresponsible governments.

FIFA cannot reform itself and is unlikely that the reform will come from an external independent organization, just as it is unlikely that a state or an intergovernmental institution will commission the FIFA.

Football belongs to people, and I have the growing feeling that change will never happen unless we decide to get together and work towards changes of the international football.

Here I would like to explore the possibility of creating a new international football organization from the scratch. There are many international sport federations not affiliated to the IOC and some sports have two or more international federations.

FIFA is not a state, it doesn’t have to be reformed and it doesn’t have to be the only international football federation.

Does anyone know if it has already been attempted to create a parallel international football federation?

Any input on this topic?


Do you think FIFA is actually listening on changes in Governance in Football?


A report made by professor of Harward University, John Ruggie went out today, Ruggie report, stating advice on how to safeguard human rights around FIFA’s operations.

Whilst it is desirable that FIFA takes in consideration this advice, I am wondering until when we will have to wait for it to be put in place? When will FIFA end its criminal behaviour?


This interesting discussion with I Trust Sport covers the topic of Sport Governance and FIFA.


During the second half of October, we will focus on FIFA, its governance and its impact on human rights with a serie of events that will be an opportunity to try to find synergies between different actor and start a concrete discussion about this issue.

In details:

  • We will attend the event of Play Fair Qatar on the 15th October Weekend of Action
  • 20th October: Podcast with Michel Zen-Ruffinen, former general secretary of FIFA from 1998 to 2002 Link to the podcast
  • 27th October: Podcast with Jamil Chade, European correspondent of O Estado de S.Paulo and author of “A Copa como ela e’”, a book on the inside stories about the ten years of preparations of Brazil to host the World Cup. Link to the podcast

Feel free to add any comments or questions to be asked to our hosts


This weekend we are backing the PlayFair Qatar Weekend of Action and I am happy to share this article by Liverpool FC Supporters Trust that summarizes very well the conditions that workers are facing on the sites of the 2022 World Cup stadiums. You can be part of the event too by taking a picture of yourself with one of the signs you can download HERE and share it through social media to @PlayFairQatar and using the hashtags #playfairqatar


It was a pleasure for us to take part to the PlayFair Qatar weekend of Action that hopefully will help bring to light furthermore the situation of migrants workers on the site of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

The situation is critic as the numbers reported by the PlayFair Qatar website shows:

  • 1200 confirmed deaths of workers from just Nepal, India and Bangladesh in 2012-2014. That was almost 40 deaths a month. The true figure is much higher.

  • 7000 the estimated worker death toll by the time the Qatar World Cup starts in 2022 – if nothing is done to stop it.

  • 6 the daily rate in GBP (£) of some construction workers. Others have reported not being paid anything for months at a time.

  • 90 percentage of low-income migrants, in Qatar, that have reported having their passports confiscated.

On Thursday we will be hosting Michel Zen Ruffinen, former general secretary of FIFA and sports lawyer with whom we’ll have the opportunity to ask about the responsibility of FIFA and of the power of Swiss authorities and jurisdiction to make changes happen.


This Thursday 20th October at 7pm UK time, we will be chatting with Michel Zen-Ruffinen, former general secretary of FIFA. During the 45minutes of the podcast we will merely talk about the global football governance and the reforms of FIFA.

Do not hesitate to use this space to ask him your questions in preparation of the interview


Very interesting contributions from Michel Zen-Ruffinen on the FIFA topic. Listen to the podcast and make your own conclusions.


To get to know more about the current management issues at FIFA and understand how we got to this point, I’ll suggest watching Planet FIFA (2016), “an easy way to trace 40 years of corruption in 94 minutes”



We will be back discussing on FIFA issues this Thursday 8th December as we will be talking with Fabien Goa from Amnesty International about human rights violations on the sites of Qatar2022.

Ask your questions now and follow the podcast on Rabble TV