KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Olympic president Thomas Bach told FIFA Congress that he hoped it would take all decisions essential to score “winning goals” for world football in terms of good governance.
The extraordinary congress had been summoned to approve a package of structural and political reforms as well as elect a new president in succession to banned and disgraced Sepp Blatter.
Bach said: “Today you have this great chance to turn the page, to start a new chapter for football that we all love so much.
“In all areas of society we need to give new answers to questions regarding credibility and governance.
“This is particularly true for sport because the credibility of sports organisations and sporting competitions is the foundation of our mission.
“The FIFA acting president [Issa Hayatou] and the executive committee made this very clear by urging all FIFA’s member associations to approve the proposed reforms to strengthen governance and transparency.
“If you follow their advice your new president will have a solid foundation to build on and implement these reforms.”
Bach recalled the International Olympic Committee’s own corruptions problems in the past in encouraging FIFA to take the first steps towards a better future.
He said: “We in the IOC know from our own bitter experience that this is not an easy process. We know from our own history what it takes to rebuild credibility but today we see very clearly how right these reforms have been. We also see that this needs a continuous effort.
“You cannot compare the standards of good governance from yesterday with the requirements of today. These standards are ever evolving.
“We all know football is about scoring goals. Today you are electing your new team leader and deciding your new game strategy. I hope that in the game that follows you will score the winning goals for world football.”
Earlier Hayatou, the Cameroonian head of African football who has stood in at FIFA, had welcomed all 209 members to congress and undertaken a brief review of the need for the congress.
He said: “Nobody can deny we have had to face very tough challenges that shook the foundations of our organisation. The world has its eyes on us today.
“Unfortunately FIFA has too often been at the centre of the world’s attention for all the wrong reasons but today we have the opportunity to change this and show that the vast majority of FIFA members are involved in football for all the right reasons.
“The difficult mission before us is to restore trust and improve our way of working and that task begins here today as we launch a series of reforms that are far reaching and will help us build a better FIFA.”
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