LAUSANNE: Thomas Bach has urged world football federation FIFA to breathe life back into the reform process launched in 2011 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
A double scandal over World Cup bidding and the presidential eletion four years ago prompted FIFA to engage with change but only half the work judged essential by advisers was undertaken.
Sepp Blatter then committed himself to continuing the work before he steps down in between six and nine months’ time.
Blatter is not present at an International Olympic Committee conference week in Lausanne after which IOC president Thomas Bach was pressed on whether he had any advice for football, which is one of the traditional Olympic sports.
Recalling the IOC’s own Salt Lake City scandal fall-out, he said: “It’s not up to the IOC to give advice. It’s just to remember that we had this kind of problems 15 years ago.
“We can’t give detailed suggestion of what to do, but we appreciate there is a readiness for reforms. We also know from our experience that putting everything on the desk can be a painful experience, but it is absolutely necessary to do this as we have seen from our own history.”
In 1998, the IOC hit its own bribes-for-votes scandal involving the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, which led to the exit of 10 IOC members. It then undertook structural reforms which included the introduction of term and age limits for members.
Bach added: “The structure of FIFA is very different from the IOC and the difference in magnitude is enormous. There is almost no comparison of what happened with Salt Lake City and what is now at stake with regards to FIFA.
“It’s hard to compare – perhaps on the principle, but not on the scale.
“We had this kind of problem. We addressed it by introducing term limits, reducing the age limits, by having term limits not only for members but also members of the executive board and president.
“One of the major steps in this reform was to have athletes electing their own representatives for the IOC executive board; we had the representatives of the international federations and of the national Olympic Committees.
“It means giving all the stakeholders in the Olympic movement the chance to express themselves.”
Other IOC-linked events included the official opening of the new headquarters in Lausanne of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
President of ANOC is Kuwait Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah who joined the FIFA executive committee last week. One of the guests at the opening was Michel Platini, president of European federation UEFA. Both are considered possible contenders for the Blatter succession in Zurich.
IOC members this week are hearing 2022 Winter Olympic bid presentations from Beijing and Almaty.