FIFA urged to make reforms

Expert appointed by FIFA highlights lack of infrastructure to deal with corruption and inadequate financial reporting.

FIFA has been under pressure since corruption allegations surrounded this year’s presidential election and the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups [AFP]

FIFA should keep a close eye on its elected officials and limit their mandates, an independent report into football’s governing body said on Wednesday.

FIFA was also open to conflicts of interest in its relationship with its 208 member associations, said the report by Mark Pieth of the Swiss-based Basel Institute of Governance.

Pieth, appointed last week as head of FIFA’s newly-created governance committee, warned that his report might not go down well with all of leading members in football’s governing body.

“We are talking about serious stuff here,” he told reporters.

“Not everyone will like this.”

“The statutory bodies won’t like everything we are putting on the table, I’m not too worried about.”

Pieth’s committee is due to meet for the first time next month, although the other members have yet to be confirmed.

Its proposals would have to be approved by the FIFA Congress in June and would be implemented over the course of the following year.

Under pressure

FIFA has been under huge pressure to clean up its image and become more transparent after last year’s contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and this year’s presidential election were both marred by corruption.

Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fourth term as president after his opponent Mohamed bin Hammam pulled out over corruption allegations and later banned for life.

Pieth said he would look to the future rather than investigate allegations stemming from the past.

“It’s very difficult to do both and it needs a different type of knowhow,” he said.

“I think we would certainly fail if we did both.

Pieth’s report called for “regular due diligence checks” to be performed on elected members of its committees and there should be clear rules to determine whether they were suitable to hold office.

FIFA should consider limiting terms of office of its officials, the report added.

Members of FIFA’s various committees are elected by the continental confederations while the president is chosen by the Congress, where each member association holds one vote.


The report also said that the system under which FIFA distributes money to member associations for football development projects needed to be carefully watched.

“FIFA is answerable to its 208 member associations who in turn are recipients of funding from FIFA, and maybe financially dependent on these funds,” it said.

“Additional preventive measures ensuring transparency and accountability in its relations with members should be taken in the area of financial contributions for the development of football in countries and regions.”

“The challenge is that FIFA has a responsibility for the proper use of these funds.”

It added that FIFA could not simply wash its hands of what went on in the member associations.

“Democracy on the level of a global governing body does not necessarily imply democracy at grass roots level in the individual member associations,” said the report.

“One of the key challenges will be what influence FIFA can have in fostering good governance and democracy also in its member associations.”

Source: Reuters

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