ZURICH: European federation UEFA scored a victory in the Great FIFA Reform Battle when a proposal for integrity checks on new directors and officials was diluted significantly writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Mark Pieth, the governance expert commissioned to mastermind the reforms, had insisted that FIFA itself needed the right to undertake personal assessments to protect itself against high-level infiltration by dubious characters.

UEFA, however, had decided unanimously to oppose this measure. Unsurprisingly, this appealed to all the other confederations including Asia, Africa, Oceania and CONCACAF: all have had officials suspended or expelled from football in the last three years.

Now integrity checks, it is proposed, will be left to the confederations with FIFA’s audit and compliance committee holding only a supervisory brief.

Theo Zwanziger, the former German federation president now leading the reform process into its final stages, presented this setback as a victory.

Zwanziger, a lawyer who joined the exco only two years ago, said: “It was the will of all six confederations to accept this integrity check and undertake to carry them out.

“Any candidate must sign that he has no police record or record of some kind of behaviour that would be contrary to our critera and this must be taken into account by those who elect him.

“So we are de-cenrtalised and you cannot talk about refiorms at the top if you don’t accept it at a level of member associations. We need to trust the people who are competent and working in their confederations.

“Then this integrity check will have to be presented to FIFA and, if there is any doubt over whether it is correct and accurate then the ethics committee can look into that case.”

= = = = = = = =