FIFA says person 'from outside football' to head reforms body

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2015 2:29 PM

By Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - Scandal-plagued FIFA responded to criticism of its new reforms task force on Monday by saying an "independent person from outside of the game" should head the group.

FIFA's statement came after Domenico Scala, the Swiss businessman who had been approached by several confederations to chair the task force, said he would not take up the role unless independence was guaranteed.

Scala will be pleased however to see that the task force is being placed under the control of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, which he heads, effectively giving him an oversight position on the reforms.

The move will placate Scala, who had already been working on reform plans for FIFA before the creation of the task force last week.

The new body, to be made up of ten members chosen by FIFA's six continental confederations, was announced last Monday with the governing body saying the chair would be "neutral" while FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in a press conference, chose the phrase "independent personality".

Campaign groups and sponsors such as Coca Cola, had called for the reform process to be carried out by an entirely independent, third-party, commission and slammed the creation of the task force as another fudge.

FIFA said the heads of the confederations met with Blatter in St.Petersburg at the weekend to discuss the task force.

"It was decided that the Task Force Reforms should be chaired by an independent person from outside of the world of football.

"The work of the task force will be overseen by the independent bodies of FIFA, namely the Audit and Compliance, the Disciplinary and the Ethics Committee," added the statement.

FIFA also said that confederations had the option to appoint people from outside the game to represent them on the task force.

"The two representatives per confederation must not necessarily be members of the soccer community. This is completely at the discretion of the confederations," said FIFA.

Soccer's global governing body was plunged into crisis in May, when nine officials and five marketing executives were charged by the U.S. Justice Department with a series of offences including racketeering, money-laundering and fraud.

In the wake of the scandal, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he will stand down next February and his general secretary Jerome Valcke has indicated he will leave with him.

(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Andrew Hay)