Delegates from the FIFA member associations are due to assemble for the 57th FIFA Congress at the end of May. This year’s Congress, the first to be held in Zurich since 2000, promises to be a special occasion, as in the run-up to the event, FIFA will also be celebrating the inauguration of its new headquarters, the Home of FIFA.
The nature of the Congress is regulated by numerous articles in the FIFA Statutes, which dictate which points are to be discussed and which decisions are to be passed at this forum. The Congress’s importance is also demonstrated by the fact that it has its own standing orders, which are part of the FIFA Statutes and are therefore among the governing body’s most important regulations.
At the 2007 Congress we will look back on the 2003-06 World Cup cycle, which has gone down as the most successful in the history of FIFA. However, while this is good news indeed, we must not allow financial success to conceal the problems our sport currently faces.
As world football’s highest body and the one that passes legislation – football’s parliament in other words – the Congress has a particular responsibility for the development of the game, the nature of which has undergone a profound transformation over the past few years. The decisions passed in Marrakech in 2005 and Munich in 2006 paved the way for football and FIFA to resolve current problems and to be primed to tackle future challenges. Further discussions and decisions are now pending, which will be of long-term significance for the game.
The Congress is also the body that elects the FIFA President. At the Munich Congress one year ago, I announced my intention to stand for a further term of office and by the March 2007 deadline for proposing candidates for the office of president, 69 associations from across all the confederations had nominated me for this position of immense responsibility, thus indicating their confidence in my work up to now. With this support, which is an expression of unity and solidarity, I intend to strengthen and broaden the role of football in society under FIFA’s leadership in the years to come.
Precisely because the Congress is FIFA’s highest body and the one that is responsible for passing legislation, I consider it very important for all members to take part in this annual general meeting. I am convinced that I will have the opportunity to greet representatives from all 207 of our current members, whose number is set to rise to 208 once Montenegro has been accepted. It is important to remember that only those who are present and exercise their right to vote can be seen to fulfill their democratic responsibilities and help to develop the game, touch the world and build a better future.