ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has endorsed the introduction of term limits and tighter integrity checks for senior figures in the world football federation – now he is about to step down writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Blatter, who announced his departure under a weight of scandal only four days after being re-elected for a fifth term in May, set out his support in a FIFA Weekly e-magazine column for the reform proposals published by on Thursday audit chairman Domenico Scala.

Critics will find it deeply ironic that, in his support, he even quoted the Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli as having written: “The reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order.”

Reform will not be easy, Blatter cautioned. Indeed, critics may wonder why he even sought to tie a muddled reform process – with two sets of proposals, one from Scala and one from Francois Carrard’s formal committee – into the extraordinary elective congress next February 26.

Blatter continued: “The next steps in the reform process cannot be taken without those involved having a willingness to make sacrifices and concessions. As FIFA president I will lead by example but I am powerless on my own.

“The executive committee members and delegates of the national associations must also play their part. Football is a team sport.

Conflicts of interest

“Within this context I am confident that we have created a Reform Committee under the chairmanship of François Carrard that can operate independently and autonomously, free of constraints and conflicts of interest to drive forward the development that has already been undertaken.”

Blatter does not explain how he believes the committee can operate independently when all its 12 members have been specifically selected by the six regional confederations.

He added: “The road towards our objective will be long and challenging. We must establish new structures that both support democratic values and protect FIFA as an organisation, structures that will reaffirm our credibility and generate new trust.

“The introduction of limited terms of office in every position and the institutionalisation of integrity checks for all top officials should only be the first steps. The entire hierarchy must be reconsidered.”

Blatter also demanded that the confederations and national FAs should create their own ethics committees and noted “only the Asian continental association has met the requirement in this regard.”