KEIR RADNEDGE in Budapest: Governance expert Mark Pieth warned world football delegates today that they should not¬† “cherry-pick” his reform proposals and thus waste a one-off opportunity to enact significant change to FIFA’s structures and systems.

This did not go down particularly well, it appeared at FIFA Congress in the Hungarian capital, with president Sepp Blatter.

Pieth was hired by FIFA last autumn to lead a reform process after a series of scandals had brought the organisation to its knees and made its leaders a target for worldwide derision.

Congress last year in Zurich marked the start of an attempt to clean up the organisation’s act with a clutch of so-called ‘task forces’ entrusted to come up with proposals for change in various different legal and administartive areas.

Pieth leads an independent governance committee which haas been overseeing the entire process and he in record as having expressed his frustration at the slow rate of progress. This particular Congress in Budapest has seen the approval of ‘only’ a¬†sharpened up ethics system, the co-option of a woman on to the executive committee and appointment of Swiss-Italian businessman Domenico Scala as chairman of a reorganised audit and compliance committee.

Issues such as term of office time and age limits, composition of the executive committee (including the contentious British vice-presidency), reform of the International Board and publication of remuneration packages all remain in the ‘discussion’ phase.

However Pieth warned delegates: “It is crucial that you recognise your ability to regulate yourself. I would enrourage you to make use of this singular chance to go down the reform route.

“If you do not act you will have wasted a brilliant opportunity. It will not repeat itself easily. Do something really courageous and generations of football fans will remember you for it. Live up to your ambitions and promises like your programme, football for hope. This is crucial, make it real. You can make a real difference.”

Pieth said FIFA Congres should not “cherry-pick” particular items for change while ignoring others.

Blatter, in thanking Pieth for his work but with a hint of disagreement behind the scenes, responded: “We cannot take the whole cheery tree. We need to consult on what is possible at a particular time.”

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