Interview with Anja Zumkeller, Head of Compliance Advisory at FIFA

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Ms Anja Zumkeller will be speaking at Corporate Parity’s upcoming 4thAnnual Global Anti-corruption and Compliance Summit. In her keynote presentation she will explore the evolution of compliance in international sports organizations.

Anja Zumkeller is Head of Compliance Advisory at FIFA and has been working for FIFA since August, 2015. She is building and leading a team of FIFA’s Compliance Division, focusing on embedding an innovative and world-class ethics and compliance programme, including such key components as anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies, employee training on key policies, monitoring the internal whistleblower hotline, carrying out compliance risk assessments and advising and supporting FIFA employees. Further, she actively collaborates with FIFA’s 211 member associations and 6 confederations to assist them in their compliance questions, concerns and setting up their compliance programme.

Previously, Anja was working at PwC’s Compliance and Risk Management Solutions practice and gained expertise in leading organizations through transformational challenges. She has been working on a number of projects implementing organizational change strategies, process improvements, evaluating risk and delivering tailored and actionable advice to address the specific risks facing an organization. Anja graduated with a Master’s degree in economics and business from universities in Switzerland and Germany.

We spoke with Anja about the corruption and compliance matters behind the international sports scenes, and her vision for FIFA. Read the full interview below.

Do you agree that major international sports organisations should play active roles in promoting ethics, integrity and compliance?

Wherever private and public interests are so strongly interwoven there is a potential to clash, and there must be a solid set of norms to secure integrity. The game must be treated like a serious public matter that shows no tolerance for wrongdoing. Because it is not an organisation that is at stake, it is the passion of millions. We are working tirelessly to create a best-in-class transparent and accountable organization.

 

One of FIFA’s core pillars is to protect the integrity of the game. It will be great if you could share how FIFA is taking actions to achieve this?

To promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bringing the game to all – that is FIFA’s vision. We develop the overarching compliance programme. The FIFA Code of Conduct for example is a navigation tool specifically designed to guide daily decisions. The code conveys FIFA’s and its employees’ responsibilities for compliance via a number of rules and policies, but it also goes well beyond that by placing those obligations within the context of FIFA’s values and commitment to conducting business with integrity.

 

We have seen several emerging trends in compliance and an evolvement of compliance functions. What is FIFA doing to build the compliance function of the future?

 Modern compliance functions are expected to act as trusted advisors closely collaborating with the various business units in an organization so that the compliance function can appropriately identify and minimize the risk for the overall organization. We started this transformative journey towards the compliance function of the future and I will give some insights at Corporate Parity’s upcoming 4th Annual Global Anti-corruption and Compliance Summit.

 

There are reports on FIFA looking into recruiting whistleblowers. Could you give us more insights to the whistleblowing program FIFA has in mind?

FIFA is determined that anyone who suspects wrongdoing with regard to its activities, both from within and outside the organisation, should be able to report their suspicions quickly, easily and confidentially. As part of our sound governance structure and ambition to build a stronger institution, we have put in place a number of reporting tools including a whistleblower reporting mechanism to allow individuals to report and escalate possible issues.

 

What is FIFA’s outlook for the future, and goals for World Cup 2022?

We developed a comprehensive compliance programme for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 to build transparency, foster ethical behaviour, create procedures and implement prompt corrective measures where necessary. We also supported teams and member associations before and during the tournament with any potential compliance questions, concerns or operational requests. This will continue and further strengthened for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

 

What do you look forward to discussing at the 4thAnnual Global Anti-Corruption and Compliance Summit? What is the desired outcome of the event for you?

I am looking forward to meet with experienced professionals from other industries and countries with varied backgrounds, to exchange ideas. Further, I am happy to share my experience and give an insight what we achieved at FIFA with our Compliance programme.

 

When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?

To recharge batteries in my free time, I enjoy sports and culture and I spend time with family and friends. I believe, to balance my professional and personal life is very important.This keeps me focused and I approach my workday in an efficient manner.

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