The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Member Associations (MAs) on Wednesday voiced united support to reform the world football’s governing body FIFA.

The meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, offered a vital opportunity for the AFC MAs to widen their knowledge of the FIFA Reform Process, including a comprehensive question-and-answer session. The AFC Member Associations will vote on the reforms at the Extraordinary FIFA Congress next week.

AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “This was an important opportunity for the members to have an in-depth discussion ahead of next week’s FIFA Congress in Zurich. We were delighted with the level of engagement and the incisiveness of the questions and comments from our members.

“It is clear to me that Asia wants to play a leading role in the FIFA Reform Process and it was helpful that Sheikh Ahmad, Member of the FIFA Reform Committee, could be with us.”

To start the meeting, Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, FIFA Executive Committee Member and 2016 FIFA Reform Committee Member, presented an overview of the history of the FIFA Reform Process and underlined the need for reform in FIFA’s organisational structure. Oliver Jaberg, FIFA Head of Corporate Legal, was able to give detailed information to the AFC Member Associations on the proposed changes to FIFA statutes.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Khalifa has commented: “These reforms are vital to achieve a greater professional and more inclusive FIFA, and radical governance reform is the number one task. These are serious times for football and we will all need to work together to ensure that the FIFA of the future is reformed in the right way.”

“I consider these reforms only a basis, a starting point, as we look to build a new, deeper governance framework so that FIFA can become a model organisation for the global football community.”

The delegates, led by Mariano V. Araneta Jr. (Philippines), also expressed concern for the issues facing football in Kuwait and Indonesia, and the meeting joined him voicing strong support for the independence of Member Associations from third party interference.

Wednesday’s meeting followed on from the AFC Governance Reform Task Force’s first meeting in 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, which took place on Tuesday. The Task Force noted that many governance reforms already implemented by the AFC were now being proposed at FIFA.

Notably, the AFC already has term and age limits, as well as a minimum quota of female ExCo members: currently five out of 24 AFC ExCo members are female. FIFA is due to introduce a minimum quota of one in six female members. 

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