Saturday, April 12, 2008

FIFA Meeting this week on Club Licensing

The FIFA Club Licensing Regulations are the subject of a special meeting this week on Wednesday, April 16th, in Zurich at the Home of FIFA where the Confederations have been invited to a seminar on their responsibility in the roll-out of the European clone imposed on FIFA members around the world.

This is a topic I felt was jammed through the Executive Committee without the proper legal review and analysis of its relevance to the membership in general. The mandates to the National Associations and the Confederations are growing exponentially due to a fear in FIFA of governmental interference from the European Union. As a consequence, we have rushed to create worldwide rulings to demonstrate to the Ministers of Sport in European countries (or states of the EU) that further legislation on their part wasn't necessary to control sport.

Let there be no doubt in your mind that I do view many of the issues raised by various Working Groups as important and requiring action, but I found it all too simplistic to try and apply the rules of UEFA to the world as a method of showing the EU that FIFA is doing things just like its European brothers.

The fact is that the rest of the world isn't like Europe. We are making a serious mistake in trying to replicate those solutions by imposing them in countries in which those rules have absolutely no relevance. Yet, they quickly become the rule of the World. When asked to have the Legal Affairs Committee review those, the members of that Committee were told that there was no need since it was mandated by the Congress.

Even though the panel found support at Congress, we were given the direct responsibility to author the appropriate regulations. I for one do not view abdicating responsibility as the solution. Despite the opinions of many colleagues, I do not accept copying the UEFA regulations as good legislation for the members of my region and those of Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America.

This week may be critical since for the first time those faced with implementing these regulations will face the challenge to see how they fit in their region. I have no problem with UEFA having its own structures which suit its purposes and needs; to the contrary I support it. I just don't know why we are expected to be like them?

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