Fifa announces reform package for February congress

ZURICH • Shaken by corruption scandals, global football body Fifa on Wednesday presented the detailed reforms it will ask members to adopt in February at a special congress that seeks to restore its reputation and elect a new leader.

The reforms include limiting the number of terms that top officials can serve, following the eight-year ban for Sepp Blatter, who had been Fifa president for 17 years.

The amendments also seek to put a tighter rein on Fifa's 209 member associations.

A 36-member Fifa council has been proposed to replace the 25-member executive committee.

"This is a landmark occasion in the history of Fifa, and it comes at a crucial time as we focus on the hard work of restoring credibility and stability," acting Fifa president Issa Hayatou said in remarks prepared for a Feb 26 congress in Zurich.

"I hope that all the confederations and our member associations will fully embrace these reforms.

"This will demonstrate that we have learnt from recent events and are taking the necessary steps."

The draft statute amendments released on Wednesday take responsibility for good conduct right to the top.

"The president shall aim to foster a positive image of Fifa and to ensure that Fifa's mission, strategic direction, policies and values, as defined by the council, are protected and advanced," reads one of the amendments.

A similar high bar is set for council members, who now must "faithfully, loyally and independently act in the best interests of Fifa and the promotion and development of football at global level".

In future, each member association would be responsible "for any and all acts of the members of their bodies caused by the gross negligence or wilful misconduct of such members".

One of the new statutes stipulates that the congress may suspend a member solely at the request of the council.

This appeared to be an attempt to avoid an incident last year, when the Palestine football association proposed the suspension of the Israeli FA.

This sparked fears of similar situations should FAs seek to kick out political enemies.

Meanwhile, former Fifa vice-president Eugenio Figueredo has appeared in court in his native Uruguay, to answer charges linked to the massive corruption scandal.

The 83-year-old, who is the former president of South American confederation Conmebol, was one of seven top football officials arrested in a raid at a luxury hotel in Zurich in May.

That incident kicked off the crisis at Fifa.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'Fifa announces reform package for February congress'. Print Edition | Subscribe