BASEL: Mark Pieth has insisted that he will stuck by the FIFA reform project even if FIFA Congress in Mauritius snubs the latest diluted batch of proposals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Basel professor leads the independent governance committee whose original strictures were mostly struck down the sieve effect of various FIFA and regional confederation committees.
He had threatened to walk away if his minimum demands were not met but has now backed down – unlike IGC colleagues Alexandra Wrage who resigned earlier this year in frustration at her perception of a lack of progress.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has talked of wrapping up the reform process at congress in Mauritius but Pieth is resigned to a need to carry on working beyond the end of the conference on May 30 and 31.
In his latest interview with the Swiss media Pieth repeated a favourite insistence of his that further reforms may only be achieved if the Swiss government tightens the laws applicable to the international bodies headquartered in the country.
These include around 60 sports federations including FIFA, the International Olympic Committee and the embattled international cycling federation.
Pieth said: “The government should require more transparency from sports federations, clean and open integrity checks and the publication of wages and emoluments. If FIFA had another ‘mentality’ that would already have been self-evidently essential.”
He did not think FIFA would move to another country if such measures were threatened. The world football federation still had too much to gain from remaining in Zurich.
Pieth was aware that congress might shoot down proposals for regulations such as age and term limits and a centralised integrity check by independent advisers on possible new officials and directors.
He said: “I will look at the situation after the congress and then decide whether it is worthwhile to continue.” He understood why Wrage had quit but preferred, personally, “to insist that FIFA’s implements the reforms so far but also allow it further time.”
Pieth was emollient about Blatter’s role in the reform process which the FIFA president kicked off after his re-election at the 2011 congress in Zurich.
“Blatter himself probably would have had some of our proposals waved through if he had not been blocked within FIFA. Many people have not understood that you cannot turn a super tanker round so quickly.
“People who think that the removal of Blatter will solve all the problems miss the point. Reforming FIFA is not only a task for another president but for the next 15 to 20 years.”
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