CAFE calls for disability and inclusion to be at the heart of FIFA reforms


CAFE calls for disability and inclusion to be at the heart of FIFA reforms

As the FIFA Reform Committee prepares its final proposals, CAFE’s David Bernstein and Joyce Cook call for searching reforms.


In a letter to the FIFA Reform Committee Chair, which supports Moya Dodd’s submission for more women in leadership, the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) also calls for more far-reaching reform. The letter spells out the need for more diverse and independent decision makers at the very top that truly represent the whole of the modern game.


“This is a unique moment for football and its stakeholders and we can no longer wait for organic reform from within. We call on FIFA, as the game’s governing body, to grasp the opportunities that will ensure meaningful and lasting change.”


“In making these changes, we must ensure a more diverse range of decision makers. FIFA cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of its forefathers with largely old white men or for that matter in the new order, old white women and men appointed to the top table. The women and men appointed to EXCO, must come from much more diverse backgrounds based on disability, ethnicity, gender and so on. Together, they must truly represent the whole of the modern game and its many diverse constituents.”


Cook said: “The Reform Committee has already set out its preliminary recommendations, but with not a single reference to disability and inclusion.”

With more than 1 billion disabled people globally – the world’s largest minority group – Bernstein and Cook also seek changes to FIFAs anti-discrimination policy to ensure that disability and inclusion are placed at the forefront of all future anti-discrimination and CSR policy and progress.


“CAFE calls for the appointment of disabled people to FIFAs decision-making bodies and committees to best represent this often forgotten, yet largest minority group. This should safeguard the best interests of the many disabled people who can still only aspire to take their rightful places as spectators, players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and indeed decision makers.”


“We call for the appointment of truly independent members (at least 30%) to the FIFA EXCO with representation from all the key stakeholders… more freely able to challenge the status quo when needed. Independent members will also bring additional expertise, ideas and knowledge from other sectors to the table. This should include disability and inclusion expertise.”


“Football is at a cross roads, it has failed disabled people and other minorities at every level of the game and for too long.”


“CAFE is certain that with disabled people at centre stage, diversity and inclusion will naturally become central while strengthening the integrity of the whole game.”


The full letter can be read here


Read more: Disability News Service - Football ‘has failed disabled people’, campaigners tell FIFA