The FIFA Disciplinary and Ethics Committees Report

Captura de pantalla 2020-09-29 a la(s) 5.30.49 p.m.

FIFA has published for the first time[1] in history a report on the activities performed by both the Disciplinary and the Ethics Committees for the years of 2019 and 2020.

In the said years, the Disciplinary Committee has decided upon 703 cases. From these cases, most of them (417 cases; 59%) were originated by the failure to respect decisions, which is governed by art. 15 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code[2], from the Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC), the Players Status Committee (PSC) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Commonly, the debtor is imposed a fine and is granted a 30 days grace period to pay the amount due or to comply with the non-financial decision. If the decision is not complied with, the debtor can be subjected to additional disciplinary measures, such as transfer bans and exclusion of FIFA competitions, although the fines and warnings are more common as we will see later.

It is interesting to notice that the noncompliance to the Regulation on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), by failing to provide mandatory information and documents or by violating provisions on minors, the use of ITC (international transfer certificate), and Third Party Influence and Ownership violations, is the second most common origin of cases, with 74.

Another common origin of cases sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee is the match related issues, incidents taking place before, during or after a match under the FIFA umbrella, totalizing 67 decisions. Although FIFA has been acting on disciplinary against match related issues, this number should be bigger, because as well known, the Federation has left prejudiced insults unpunished.

The rest of the cases were originated by match fixing and doping. From July 1st 2019 until June 8th 2020, 8 people were sanctioned with bans on taking part of any football related activities for periods ranging from 10 years to lifetime.

The nature of the disciplinary measures taken by the Disciplinary Committee can range according to the degree of fault, the nature of the action and other criteria, such as the recidivism of the sanctioned party, and may be combined. Fines are the most common sanction, with 486 cases. It is important to notice that of the 703 cases sanctioned, 372 of them also carried additional measures, because the first decision was not respected. In these cases, the most common measure was a Transfer Ban, with 354 cases.

The sanctioned party after being convicted can appeal to the Appeal Committee, who can decide on appeals against decisions from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and, in a less extent, by the Ethics Committee. The Appeals Committee has had 27 cases between 2019/2020, while 15 of them were regarding Third Party Influence.

The Ethics Committee, on the other hand, is not as well-known as the Disciplinary Committee, and has as its first duty to investigate and judge possible infringements of the FIFA Code of Ethics[3].

The Ethics Committee is formed by two chambers: the Investigatory Chamber (IC) and the Adjudicatory Chamber (AC). The first’s job is, as one could imagine, the chamber in charge of the investigations; while the latter is the chamber responsible for analyzing and determining if the investigation has enough evidence of a possible breach.

According to the art. 58 of Code of Ethics[4], the IC is entitled to process complaints of any person, and between 2019/2020 it has received 135 cases. Eleven of them were from what they call “external sources”, any person/institution outside of FIFA.

FIFA claims 101 cases of the 135 have already been completed, which is a good number. Of those that have been completed, only three cases were passed to the AC, 28 were closed because no breach was found, 31 were dismissed because of insufficient evidence, and 39 were transferred for the lack of competence from the Committee.

As shown by the numbers, the AC does not receive many cases, and has received just 59 cases since January 1st 2017. Hearings were conducted only 16 times, and decisions took, on average, 23.8 weeks to be closed.

In 95% of the cases (56 out of 59) judge by the AC, the Committee decided to sanction the accused party. The most common sanction was a ban plus a fine, totaling for 53 cases.

It’s amazing to see how transparent FIFA seems to be getting, but the system of the Disciplinary and Ethics Committees can still get better.

By : Pedro Juncal

[1] https://www.fifa.com/who-we-are/news/fifa-publishes-first-reports-for-disciplinary-ethics-committees-and-on-anti-dopi

[2] https://resources.fifa.com/image/upload/fifa-disciplinary-code-2019-edition.pdf?cloudid=i8zsik8xws0pyl8uay9i

[3] https://resources.fifa.com/image/upload/fifa-code-of-ethics-2019-version.pdf?cloudid=la3f5yqsox5cns9oypkg

[4] “58 Right to submit complaints 1. Any person may file a complaint regarding potential breaches of this Code with the secretariat of the investigatory chamber. Complaints must be submitted in writing, including available evidence. The secretariat shall inform the chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the complaints and act upon his instructions.”

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