Blatter to reform FIFA
SEPP Blatter will reveal his proposed reforms to how Fifa is governed in a final attempt to restore credibility to an organisation he has led for the last 13 years. The depth of reform will depend on whether he can secure the backing of the Executive Committee (ExCo), a body that has been plagued by allegations of corruption.
The Fifa president is under pressure both from within the game - Michel Platini is marshalling the eight Uefa members on the ExCo to press for change - and from external bodies. "He has the power to do it [instigate change]," said Damian Collins, MP and a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. "He is a roadblock to reform and I think everything he has done over the last year has demonstrated that. Someone who was a real reformer, a leader of an organisation who really wants to sort things out, would have made a lot more progress."
Platini, Uefa's president, will present his body's suggested proposals to the ExCo during the two-day meeting, which began yesterday after legal discussions over how any such reform could be instigated. Some changes may require the backing of Fifa's congress, which does not meet until next summer. Platini said: "We hope that what Mr Blatter promised us this time becomes fact and not just ideas."
Blatter is believed to be recommending changes to the make-up of the ExCo to include club and league representation (it currently consists of members chosen via national associations and federations), a fit and proper person test for the ExCo and an independent ethics committee.
Blatter is also reported to want to end Fifa's attempts to block the publication of court papers relating to the collapse of the marketing company ISL a decade ago. The papers are said to allege bribes were paid to Fifa members, including Nicolas Leoz, a current ExCo member. Ricardo Teixeira, the man in charge of the 2014 World Cup and another ExCo member, was named by BBC Panorama documentary in relation to taking payments from ISL. Both deny the accusations. Teixeira is the subject of two investigations by Brazilian police.
Twenty of the 23-strong ExCo are in Zurich to discuss Blatter's proposals with the European and African members, 11 in all, understood to be broadly backing the 75-year-old Swiss, who is in his fourth and final term as president.
The meeting is scheduled to conclude this afternoon, after which Blatter will outline his reforms and how they will be implemented. Platini said: "We hope we can bring transparency to Fifa. The mood is the same for all of us in Europe. I get the impression Mr Blatter is really motivated to change something - we'll see."
Over the last year, two ExCo members, Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu, have been suspended; Mohamed Bin Hammam banned for life; and Jack Warner, like Bin Hammam a vice-president, resigned. Collins is part of an international group of politicians who have called for reform. He added: "There's got to be transparency."