ZURICH: Critics of FIFA who thirst for revolutionary proposals to bring about drastic change within the structure of the world federation will be mightily disappointed by the agenda and documentation prepared for next month’s Congress in Budapest.
The proposals for changes to the statutes run to 53 pages but with comparatively minimal amendment.
The main items are changing the foundation of the ethics system to provide for greater change at some time down the line, the inclusion of a representative of women’s football on the executive committee and the expansion of the audit committee to include a ‘compliance’ role in vetting candidates for senior positions.
Hence the grandiose promises offered by president Sepp Blatter last year on the pace of change have not been fulfilled – though that is hardly surprising considering that a multiplicity of advisory ‘task forces’ was created only last October.
Of course it could be that this is merely an opaque statement of the strength of opposition confronting Blatter after his declaration last year of the need for speedy and wide-ranging change.
Mark Pieth, the Basel governance expert commissioned by FIFA to propose the structural rebuilding, is likely to be sorely disappointed at the snail’s pace of progress evident from the statutes changes which will go before Congress for a vote.
Far more intriguing are the draft proposals being produced for disussion only and which include suggestions about age limits of 72 for exco members and a limit of two terms only for the president and exco members. These proposals would also scrap the British vice-presidency as well as one of UEFA’s two vice-presidencies – currently held by UEFA president Michel Platini and Spain’s long-serving Angel Maria Villar.
This might be resolved by the next FIFA presidential election. Platini is favourite to succeed Blatter . . . and Villar is an early favourite to succeed Platini. Both would thus remain on the FIFA exco. albeit in different roles.
Of further interest to the four British associations – particularly the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish in view of the Olympic squabble – is the written acceptance of their continuing independence.
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