KEIR RADNEDGE reporting from Port Louis
—- Governance adviser Mark Pieth stood up in front of FIFA Congress here in Mauritius and, dramatically, challenged president Sepp Blatter and members of his executive committee to say how much they are paid.
The issue of remuneration transparency is one which has dogged Blatter for much of his 15-year tenure and was one of the issues which Basel professor Pieth and his advisory panel had pressed FIFA to take on board – in vain.
Although the two-year reform process has led to the creation of an audit and compliance committee with a specific remuneration sub-committee Blatter and Co has resisted the opportunity to include total transparency in the proposals presented today for endorsement by congress.
Blatter had presented the reform proposals as a historic step and this congress vote as the conclusion of the process. Pieth, by contrast, insisted in a debate on the reform that the statutes changes before congress represented only the beginning, not the end.
Essential public gesture
Pieth presented the issue of clarity over pay as an essential gesture to the world at large – beyond football – that FIFA is serious about reform.
He said: “A worldwide sports governing body like FIFA has similarities to an inter-governmental organisation and transparency is a key requirement.
“A key remaining issue is transparency is the remuneration of key officials. These did not come overnight for other organisations either but here FIFA needs to catch up.
“I would like to invite the president and members of the executive committee to take this step as it would send a crucial message to their constituencies and to the wider public that they have nothing to hide.
“It is unfortunate that this congress may not be able to take a decision on age and term limits. These may not be the most fundamental of reform issues but they send a symbolic message.
“Overall a lot has been achieved [but] this last point illustrates that the reform process is not finished. It is unfortunate that some of the most essential reforms have been pushed aside for political reasons rather than the reform rationale.
“The major challenge for FIFA is to achieve a change of culture. Frankly, let’s not expect miracles immediately. This cannot happen from one day to the next. It will take time. But we are at the beginning rather than at the end of this process. We need a clear commitment by the senior officials that they really want to go down the road of reform.”
The package was approved by 198 in favour to two against with seven abstentions.