KEIR RADNEDGE in MONACO —- Gianni Infantino is adopting a ‘Yes we can!’ mindset for his work on the new FIFA reform committee which sits down for the first time in Bern today and tomorrow.
The general secretary of UEFA is one of two European federation representatives on the 12-strong panel commanded by former International Olympic Committee director-general Francois Carrard.
Two delegates selected by each of the other five regional confederation complete the committee which was created at the diktat of world federation president Sepp Blatter after he announced an intention to step down only four days after being re-elected in May for a fifth term.
Infantino will be journeying into the reformist unknown in the company of legal director Alasdair Bell. He will also, indirectly, be seen as working to prepare for the ground for European federation president Michel Platini, who is favourite to take over as president of FIFA next February 26.
He revealed his enthusiasm for the task in Monte Carlo after he had overseen the draws for the Champions League and Europa League.
“I’m very honoured to be part of this reform commission,” said the 45-year-old Swiss who has held the operational reins in Nyon for the last eight years.
“I’m very much looking forward to [starting the work] and we all agree that there are some reforms needed. We will see what will be presented.
“We have heard some of the presentations. The points are the same: term limits, financial transparency of money in and out. Once you can secure all these things this will be a very important step.”
Membership selection by the confederations has deprived the committee of any claim to be independent. Even chairman Carrard has expressed an intention to appoint an advisory board of his own in a damage limitation exercise.
However Infantino considered that confederation representation ensured a pragmatic consensus on the nature of reform proposals which could be recommended to the FIFA executive committee and to congress.
He said: “It’s important that the reform committee is composed of representatives of all the confederations because it will not help anyone if the proposals have no chance of being passed at the congress. Also it is important that people from all over the world buy into this process.
“So I go with a very positive spirit – as I think is everyone – so we can achieve some important results.
“It’s not a question of the past but of looking forward to seeing what can be done. It is a good opportunity to provide some change to make sure that everything is open and transparent and clean.”
A first report on the work of the committee will be presented by Carrard to FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on September 24 and 25.
The contents of that report will not come as a surprise to Platini, with Infantino having already reported back to his current boss . . . and (who knows?) maybe his future boss.
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