Lennart Johansson

Lennart Johansson, who has died in June 2019, had a Vision that had he become FIFA president could have made world football a better place to be. See his manifesto for the FIFA presidential bid in 1998, based on his core Swedish principles of transparency and democracy

Adapted from Alan Tomlinson, FIFA: The Men, the Myths and the Money (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), pp. 182-185.

VISION for the Future Governance of Football

Lennart Johansson

Preface

“Football can only maintain its leading role if our world-wide movement retains its spirit of solidarity”

It is my firm belief that, in the future, football will be challenged in several different ways. Many steps have to be taken to guide the world- wide football movement towards modern structures. Football has a glorious past and a wonderful present, but the success stories of the past are of little relevance to the problems of tomorrow. The challenges that lie ahead cannot be tackled by one person alone, in his capacity as FIFA president. What is needed is an international, democratic network based on trust, transparency, loyalty and solidarity. These fundamental elements will lead our sport successfully into the next century.

The world football movement is a community. For this reason, FIFA has to further strengthen its democratic governance, as the United Nations of world football. In order to strengthen the democratic spirit and establish a fair system of balance between FIFA, the confederations and the associations, a revised structure must be openly discussed and then implemented.

Besides democratic governance, the professional management of the world-wide football movement is also of paramount importance.

It is for this reason that I am presenting this VISION paper, with the following five fields of action and the key objectives:

  1. Football at Grassroots Level
: Strengthen the entire world-wide football movement
  2. Football at Professional Level
: Define clear objectives and monitor the development of top-class football
  3. Football at Management Level: Involve the representatives of the national associations and the confederations in all FIFA activities
  4. FIFA and the Confederations
: Redefine the role and functions of the confederations in the FIFA statutes
  5. FIFA and the National Associations
: Strengthen the national associations politically, financially and structurally

In this VISION paper, FIFA’s tasks are defined as those of a global nature, whereas the Confederations would assume all functions which can be better dealt with at a continental level, taking into account the growing importance of the Confederations since their foundation, and the associations would assume all functions which can be better dealt with at national or even regional level.

This VISION paper describes the most important criteria to which I intend to lead world football’s governing body FIFA into the next century. I will be able to fulfil this task with the help of all those who support the ideals of solidarity and democracy within the family of football.

Lennart Johansson, 1998

VISION for the Future Governance of Football

  1. Football at Grassroots Level

Strengthen the entire world-wide football movement

  • Increase participation in every country and in all sectors and levels
  • Facilitate access to football for everyone, regardless of sex, ability and age
  • Launch world-wide grassroots programmes in co-operation with the 
associations, clubs, schools, communities, sponsors and media
  • Improve educational standards of coaches, referees and officials at all levels
  • Increase awareness of the social importance and responsibility of 
football in every single country
  1. Football at Professional Level

Define clear objectives and monitor the development of top-class football

  • Establish, promote and enforce a detailed code of conduct for all participants in the game
  • Define the legal structure of professional clubs and leagues and their relationship with the national associations, confederations and FIFA
  • Ensure a fair share for the confederations in organizing final rounds of FIFA competitions
  • Implement a fixed match calendar for qualifying competitions in co- operation with the confederations. The present World Cup format remains unchanged, i.e. 32 teams
  • Ensure co-operation with the Olympic Movement
  • Create an Under-20 competition for women at world level
  • Create the logistical and financial base to permit inter-continental 
competitions for national and club teams
  • Football at Management Level
  • Involve the representatives of the national associations and the confederations in all FIFA activities
  • Ensure a fair share of leadership within FIFA. The number of presidential terms to be limited by a statutory amendment. The maximum duration of the presidency to be set by the FIFA congress
  • Meetings between the FIFA president and the presidents of the confederations will take place at least four times per year
  • The presidents of the confederations will automatically become members of the FIFA Executive Committee and vice-presidents of FIFA
  • FIFA Executive Committee members will chair a FIFA committee in 
accordance with their specific capacities
  • Members of FIFA committees will be proposed by the national associations to their confederation, which will then propose them to FIFA
  • All committee member appointments will be approved by the FIFA 
Executive Committee
  • The chairmen of committees within the confederations should automatically be members of the respective FIFA committees
  • Development of a long-term financial and marketing plan for FIFA 
by the Executive Committee
  • The general secretaries of the confederations will attend FIFA 
Executive Committee meetings in a consultative capacity
    • FIFA and the Confederations
    • Redefine the role and functions of the confederations in the FIFA statutes
  • FIFA president to have regular meetings with the Confederations
  • Allocate an appropriate contribution from the World Cup to the confederations, to strengthen each of them in their aim to promote football by investing in sporting, technical and administrative matters
  • Support the confederations to complete and train their full-time staff 
in the following sectors:
  • management
  • technical development/coaching
  • development programmes
  • marketing/PR
  • medical services

◦ competitions  ◦ refereeing
   ◦ legal matters
◦ media services

  • FIFA to delegate all areas where the confederations can act independently, namely in all continental-related business matters
  • FIFA to support the confederations to set up their own development programmes
  • FIFA to entrust the confederations with the task of ensuring that the higher income from the World Cup will be used by the national associations for increased investment in grassroots and other development programmes
  1. FIFA and the National Associations
  • Strengthen the national associations politically, financially and structurally
  • FIFA to maintain the “one country-one vote system”
  • Defend the integrity, authority and independence of national associations from external interference
  • Strengthen the position of the national teams of the member associations
  • Defend the principles of ethics and fair play in the game, and 
strengthen the social importance of football within society
  • Reserve a substantial part of World Cup income for distribution in equal parts to all member associations. This allocation will not be less than one million US dollars per association and is to be used for concrete projects, grassroots programmes, participation in competitions, education and technical equipment. The projects will be defined in co-operation with the confederations according to the 
needs of each association.