FIFA is relocating over 100 positions from Zurich to Florida as part of the legal department’s transition to the 2026 World Cup base

FIFA is relocating over 100 positions from its headquarters in Switzerland to Florida, where an expanding workforce is already engaged in preparations for the 2026 World Cup.

On Tuesday, FIFA communicated to its employees that the entire legal department, along with the audit, compliance, and risk management teams, will be transferred from Zurich to Coral Gables, located near Miami. This move is occurring at a time when Coral Gables is gaining prominence on the global soccer stage, notably with Lionel Messi’s decision to play in Major League Soccer for Inter Miami.

According to an email obtained by The Associated Press, FIFA informed its staff that the relocation is scheduled to become fully operational in August 2024.

The email, attributed to Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who is set to depart from the world governing body at the end of the year, stated, “The FIFA office is a permanent establishment that will initially share space with the (FIFA 2026 World Cup) team at the Coral Gables facility in Florida.”

FIFA had previously required a larger workforce situated in the United States when it decided to manage the organization of World Cups internally, rather than depending on host nations to staff and oversee local organizing committees.

In a statement regarding Tuesday’s email, FIFA explained, “This aligns with the global perspective of an organization that comprises 211 member associations,” emphasizing that its headquarters remain in Zurich.

The expanded 48-team men’s World Cup in 2026 will primarily take place in the United States, with additional matches being held in Canada and Mexico. FIFA President Gianni Infantino, while overseeing preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar last year, expressed his anticipation of spending more time in the United States in the future.

Furthermore, the United States will host the expanded 32-team Club World Cup tournament in June-July 2025, featuring prominent teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Flamengo, and Palmeiras, who have already qualified as recent European and Brazilian champions.

The email sent to staff stated, “Being in closer physical proximity to our colleagues at FIFA26 and FIFA Club World Cup 2025 in Miami and the U.S. will enhance our collaboration.”

Despite Switzerland’s status as a prominent hub for global sports law, where hundreds of FIFA cases, including contract disputes and certain disciplinary and ethics cases, are heard each year at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, FIFA’s decision to relocate its legal department may appear unexpected.

FIFA emphasized that their move is in line with their vision of “making football truly global” and strengthening their ties with member associations. In 2021, FIFA had already established a base in Paris to serve as a liaison with member federations in Europe and Africa, and they are currently preparing a regional office in Singapore.

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