ZURICH: FIFA has been told, by Hans-Joachim Eckert and Michael Garcia, that it should impose a limit of two four-year terms of service for all members of its executive committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The recommendation was set out in ethics judge Eckert’s report on the 2018-2022 World Cup bid scandal and handed president Sepp Blatter the responsibility of reopening a contentious issue rejected by FIFA Congress in June.
Eckert, reacting to investigator Michael Garcia recommendation, pointed the finger of blame at two of the “most senior members of the ethics committee” who had opposed the investigation.
One is understood to have been Julio Grondona, long-serving president of the Argentina federation and FIFA senior vice-president at the time of his death in July. The only individuals who were vice-presidents in both 2010 and now are Spain’s Angel Villar and France’s Michel Platini – and UEFA president Platini has insisted he has cooperated fully with the investigation.
Eckert said: “The [investigation] noted unfortunate patterns in the history of the 24-member 2010 [exco] . . . two veteran [exco] members resisted efforts to hold them to the same rules as bid teams.
“Similarly . . . two of the most senior members challenged the ethics committee’s independence and authority [to] conduct the inquiry.
“In the light of these circumstances, the investigatory chamber of hte FIFA ethics committee recommended a maximum of two four-year terms for all officials on the FIFA executive committee, without exception of possibility of renewal.”
Other recommendations included a prohibition of exco members participating in “venue-selection votes” involving their own nation as well as a “more open and transparent” host rotation system between the continental confederations.
In a recommendation which echoed Olympic procedure, exco members should be barred from visiting bid nations and bid teams should be prohibited from visiting committee members.
Other proposals included tighter control on gifts and greater transparency on the arrangement and financing of friendly matches between the national teams of bidding nations and those of exco members.
Finally the report recommended far stricter efforts to ensure that development projects “are not used to improperly influence the bidding process.”