How Fifa works: From the Congress to the executive committee

  • AP, Zurich
  • Updated: May 28, 2015 12:10 IST

From its sleek headquarters in Zurich, FIFA has become a financial giant under Sepp Blatter. During his 17-year presidency, FIFA has generated more than $13 billion in revenue, according to an Associated Press review of the governing body's accounts.

Organizing the showpiece 32-nation World Cup, which is attractive to blue-chip sponsors and broadcasters alike, has provided FIFA with the cash to spread across its 209 member nations, while Blatter's power base is strengthened further by the ability to hand out coveted jobs across the globe's most popular sport.

Within FIFA, each of the 209 countries has an equal voice when it comes to the biggest decisions at the annual congress when changes to the statutes are made: from new sanctions for racism, to beefed up ethics procedures.

Often there isn't even a vote to secure a three-quarters majority, with the consensus-seeking Blatter just working to ensure decisions go through with acclamation and applause rather than a vote. When there is vote, a tiny soccer association such as the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean carries the same weight as one from World Cup holder Germany. The islands, with a population of around 30,000, are even represented on FIFA's executive committee through Sonia Bien Aime.

At a FIFA Congress, it doesn't matter that the Turks and Caicos Islands have played only 11 games in the last decade that count toward FIFA rankings. In that time, Germany has played 131 but still has just one of 209 votes.

Changes to the rules of soccer, though, come from a far smaller institution, which was created 18 years before the founding of FIFA in 1904. The International Football Association Board is formed of the four UK associations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - and FIFA, which has four votes.

To change the rules, such as the introduction of goal-line technology in recent years, six votes are required. It also means Blatter's approval is required. Like everything in FIFA, power revolves around the 79-year-old Swiss, who is seeking a fifth, four-year term in power on Friday.

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