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FIFA rule change opens door to departure from Switzerland

A view of a large glass-paneled office building.
A view of FIFA's current headquarters in Zurich. Keystone/Ennio Leanza

On Friday, football’s international governing body laid the formal foundations for a theoretical departure from its headquarters in Zurich. However, FIFA is “happy” in Switzerland, the association said before the congress vote.  

According to an amendment to its statutes approved by Congress members in Bangkok on Friday, FIFA’s central office will continue to be located in the Swiss city of Zurich – until the Congress makes a decision to change this. There was no such clause until now.  

“Until our members decide otherwise, Zurich will remain our headquarters,” a FIFA spokesperson told the German news agency DPA, noting that there are many other sporting and international organisations based in Geneva and Lausanne. “In fact, we are currently considering opening branch offices in other locations in Switzerland and thus expanding our presence in the country.”

+ Read more: will FIFA leave Switzerland?

SFA would regret a move away  

The Swiss delegation had announced that it would abstain or not vote in favour of the amendment to the statutes. Dominique Blanc, President of the Swiss Football Association (SFA), said he would regret a move away from Zurich. “We have a very good working relationship with FIFA and would of course like the headquarters to remain here,” Blanc told the Keystone-SDA news agency.

The Zurich city government was informed of the proposed change to the statutes. However, it was not aware of any plans to move away, it said on Thursday. As FIFA is a private institution, the city government did not wish to comment further on the matter, it told Keystone-SDA.

+ FIFA: investigation of former Swiss attorney general to close

In Zurich for over 90 years  

FIFA has been based in Zurich since 1932. It is registered as an association in the cantonal commercial register. There have been various rumours of a move in the past, most recently last autumn, when it became public that FIFA was planning to outsource jobs to other cities.  

FIFA has recently increasingly opened offices abroad, including in Paris. Its legal department is based in Florida. “As we are a global governing body, it goes without saying that we have offices all over the world, including in Miami, Paris and Jakarta,” a spokesperson for the world football association told news agency DPA. 

Adapted from German by DeepL/kc,dos

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles. 

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