London, February 21
World soccer’s governing body, FIFA, is expected to pass wide-ranging reforms at a Congress in Zurich next Friday, when a new president will also be elected.
The organisation has been making global headlines since last May, when authorities arrested FIFA officials and others in Zurich on corruption charges. Since then, its president, Sepp Blatter, has been banned from the sport for eight years, along with European soccer chief Michel Platini.
The main reform proposals, which need the approval of three-quarters of the 207 voting national soccer associations, will be incorporated into a new set of FIFA Statutes and come into force on April 26. Kuwait and Indonesia are suspended and cannot vote.
Separation of Powers
- FIFA’s 24-member Executive Committee is to be abolished and replaced by a 36-member FIFA Council and a General Secretariat, separating FIFA’s political functions from day-to-day management.
- The new FIFA Council, elected by member associations, will be responsible for setting FIFA’s overall strategic direction.
- The new General Secretariat, intended to be staffed by professionals and akin to a corporate executive board, will handle the operational and commercial management of that strategy.
- The new president will head the Council in a more ambassadorial role, albeit with non-executive powers.
- The president’s salary and that of all senior FIFA officers will be made public.
- A FIFA Review Committee will conduct enhanced integrity checks on all candidates before they are allowed to stand for election to the Council.
- The Finance, Development and Governance Committees reporting to the Council will have a minimum number of independent members from outside soccer.
- All decisions taken by the Council, the General Secretariat and the Finance, Development and Governance Committees must be audited and approved by the fully independent Audit and Compliance Committee.
- The promotion of women will become a primary FIFA objective. Six women will sit on the FIFA Council, one from each regional confederation.
- FIFA will reduce the number of its standing committees from 26 to nine, with participation of the wider football community.
- A Football Stakeholders’ Committee will be created to represent players, clubs and leagues, which have until now had only limited representation in FIFA.
- A new article will commit FIFA to respect all internationally recognised human rights and strive to promote and protect them.
- No senior elected official will be allowed to serve more than three terms of four years. Blatter was president for more than 17 years, while his predecessor Joao Havelange was president for 24 years and, once in office, was never opposed in another election.
- The term limits also apply to all members of the FIFA Council, the Audit and Compliance Committee and FIFA’s judicial bodies.