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FIFA tries again to clean itself up

21 July 2015, 10:58

Zurich - FIFA will set up a new taskforce to propose reforms aimed at cleaning itself up after a series of scandals over the past few years, soccer's governing body said on Monday.

The proposed reforms would include integrity checks for the all-powerful 25-member executive committee, term limits for top officials and public disclosure of their earnings.

Similar reforms were proposed by an earlier independent governance committee set up in 2011 but were quietly shelved three years later. However, Blatter said that "85 percent" of reforms initiated in the previous cycle had been carried out including a more powerful ethics committee.

FIFA said in a statement that the task force's job would be to present "concrete and comprehensive reform proposals" to the next executive committee meeting in late September.

This in turn would make recommendations to a FIFA Congress in February which has the power to alter the federation's statutes.

"My responsibility and mission is to make sure that when I come to the end of my career at the end of February, we can say that we have started to rebuild the reputation of FIFA," said outgoing president Sepp Blatter.

However, he declined to immediately declare his earnings after twice being challenged to do so during a media conference. "You can ask me that question all afternoon if you want," he said.

FIFA has been under pressure to carry out reforms following a series of scandals over the past few years.

Several executive committee members have either been banned for unethical behaviour or resigned while under investigation.

Soccer's governing body was thrown into further turmoil in May when 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including several from FIFA, were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.

Seven of those accused were arrested by Swiss police in a dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel two days before the FIFA Congress where Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president.

However, in a shock announcement four days later, Blatter said he would lay down his mandate and not stand again. That will happen at an extraordinary FIFA Congress on Feb 26 next year.

FIFA said the new task force would include two representatives each from the European, North and Central America and Caribbean, African and Asian regional confederations and once each from the South American and Oceania confederations.

The task force will be chaired "by a neutral chairman who should be appointed in consultation with the confederations' presidents," added FIFA.

FIFA said that one important change had already been made in May when it revised the bidding regulations for the hosting of future World Cups.

Potential host nations would have to meet a number of extra criteria, including the provisions of the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights.

- Reuters


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