AMSTERDAM: Michael Van Praag, president of the Dutch federation, has echoed calls from Germany for a new world football governing body writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Van Praag, 67-year-old former chairman of Ajax Amsterdam, made his own statement of preference in an interview with the magazine Voetbal International.
He made the comments even before the shock resignation of Michael Garcia as ethics investigator but the decision of the American attorney will increase the clamour against the current governance culture of the world federation.
Earlier this autumn he had been the subject of speculation as a possible challenger to incumbent Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential election next May. Van Praag criticised Blatter to his face on the eve of the World Cup finals in Brazil for reversing a promise, in 2011, that this would be his last term in office.
After that confrontation, at a conference of European federation leaders in Sao Paulo, Van Praag said: “I said to Mr Blatter that I liked him very much so this was nothing personal but the reputation FIFA had built in the last seven or eight years meant people linked FIFA to corruption, bribery, old boys network and such things.
“I told him: ‘FIFA has an executive president and having an executive president means that at the end you are responsible . . . so people tend not to take you seriously any more. That is not good for FIFA, not good for the game, not good for the world.
“You are leading reforms but all [FIFA’s] problems occurred in the period before that when you were also the president and responsible so I believe you should not run any more.’”
In his latest utterance Van Praag said he feared that FIFA Congress was unlikely to undertake any significant changes to the world federation and a new international governing body might be the only solution to the game’s crisis of governance.
Van Pragg acknowledged this was possibly an impractical project but it was important to set the debate under way.
Earlier this month Reinhard Rauball, president of the German league, suggested European federations should consider walking out of FIFA.