By Simon Evans
ZURICH (Reuters) - One of FIFA's top officials, charged with reforming the scandal-hit organization, has called for a rotating presidency - a move which could transform the politics of soccer's global governing body.
FIFA is set for an election on February 26 to decide on a replacement for the suspended outgoing president Sepp Blatter, who has ruled the body since 1998.
But Domenico Scala, head of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee and chair of the Election Committee and an official with a special remit for coming up with reform ideas, believes it is time to switch to a different system for the top job in world soccer.
"There are other governance entities that have the principle of rotation for their presidencies such as the European Union. Every confederation could appoint a president on a rotation of four or six years – I think four would be better," Scala told Reuters in an interview.
FIFA has six continental confederations and Scala's plan would ensure that each part of the world had a regular time at the top of the body.
"A system of a rotating president would reflect much better the diversity of football and would stop any individual from becoming too powerful," Scala added.
"It would be part of the checks and balances that are needed to avoid corruption and conflicts of interests of the kind that have affected FIFA in the past," he added.
FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May when the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives on a series of corruption charges.
Earlier this month Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini were both suspended for 90 days by FIFA's Ethics Committee after Swiss authorities opened a criminal investigation into a two million Swiss francs payment from Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both men have denied wrongdoing.
Scala hopes his proposal will be welcomed by FIFA's Reform Committee and the ruling executive committee.
"I have the freedom to propose to anyone – it is up to the Reform Committee to pick up this idea if they like it and the Executive Committee also have that option. I think it's a valid idea for reforming the FIFA presidency compared to what we have had up to now," he said.
"It would be a more mature system and also a more diverse one. Why should there be a European president for the next 12 years, or why should any particular region have a FIFA president lasting for next 12 years?"
FIFA's Reform Committee, headed by former International Olympic Committee director general Francois Carrard, on Thursday proposed a 12-year term limit for presidents along with an age-limit of 74.
The deadline for nominations for FIFA president is October 26 and so far Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder David Nakhid have submitted nominations and announced their candidacy.
Platini has also submitted his papers but on Tuesday FIFA said he would not be accepted as a candidate while he remained under suspension. Platini could re-enter the race should he win an appeal against his ban, FIFA said.
Asian soccer chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain has said he is taking soundings about a possible run.
(Reporting By Simon Evans, Editing by Angus MacSwan)