KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Issa Hayatou cautioned today that the eyes of the world would be on FIFA tomorrow as the world football federation voted on reforms and a new president.
Hayatou, the Cameroonian who has been acting president of FIFA since the suspension and banning of Sepp Blatter, began a whistle-stop tour of confederations by addressing a conference of CONCACAF, the central and north American body.
CONCACAF and South America’s CONMEBOL have been the main focus of attention from the United States criminal investigators over the $200m FIFAGate corruption scandal.
The body’s last three presidents – Jack Warner, Jeffrey Webb and Alfredo Hawitt – have all been indicted by the US Department of Justice for fraud and money-laundering.
FIFA, senior officials and its army of lawyers are desperate for the reforms package to obtain the necessary three-quarters majority at congress tomorrow. Hayatou reflected a fear of failure in an exhortation which he was due to repeat at other conferences later in the day.
He said: “This promises to be one of the most important weeks in the history of FIFA, in the history of football. This week I’m confident we will make the right decisions to win back credibility as well as the confidence of those who love football.
“This spirit of collective responsibility has always been vital for our organisation and the development of football around the world. This spirit is needed now more than ever because we must do whatever is necessary to build a stronger FIFA.
“At congress you will vote on new statutes reflecting reforms designed to create a system of stronger governance and greater diversity in decision-making.
“These reforms are comprehensive and far-reaching in separating business decisions from political decisions and embedding greater accountability and responsibility in our work.
“Each of these measures is critical for the future of FIFA and global football . . . This will send a strong message that we have listened and are taking the action necessary to give football the protection it needs for the future.
“The eyes of the world are on us this week at one of the most challenging times in our shared history. This is our opportunity to show to the world that we are united in building a stronger FIFA.”
CONCACAF’s conference approved its own reforms package by a unanimous vote of all 41 members – no opposition and no abstentions.
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