Identity of Fifa task force chief to be revealed 'very soon'

ZURICH • The high-profile person who will head a task force established to fine-tune crucial reforms of football's scandal-hit world governing body Fifa will be named very soon, a source close to the organisation's leadership said.

However, any changes put to September's meeting of the Fifa executive committee could face stiff opposition, said senior sources.

Fifa's outgoing president Sepp Blatter announced on Monday that an 11-member task force, with an independent chairman, would prepare reforms, including limits on terms for leaders, tougher background checks on executive committee members and the publication of salaries of top officials.

Pressure from major sponsors has come in recent weeks for Fifa to name an independent commission led by a heavyweight figure to prepare reforms to be put to the congress when a new president is elected on Feb 26.

Some officials even mentioned Kofi Annan. But the former United Nations secretary-general made it known through a spokesman that he already has a "busy schedule" and is not interested.

POCKETS OF OPPOSITION

Some (regional heads) have legitimate concerns about how the reforms will work and be applied. Some do not want interference in their territory. Some are worried about their own positions.

FORMER MEMBER of the Fifa executive committee, speaking anonymously

A source close to the Fifa leadership, however, said a name would be announced "very soon".

The head of the group is to be named by Blatter and the heads of the six regional confederations within Fifa.

"Despite everything that has happened, many of these regional heads remain opposed to the new reforms," said a former member of the Fifa executive committee.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic as negotiations are held on who will be the next president of Fifa.

"Nearly all the regional heads have reasons to want to water down the measures," added the source. "Some have legitimate concerns about how the reforms will work and be applied.

"Some do not want interference in their territory. Some are worried about their own positions.

"This campaign will take a long time, almost certainly beyond the election congress and it will be a tough battle."

Meanwhile, the British comedian who showered Blatter with fake dollar bills has been charged by the Swiss police after he was arrested and interrogated.

Simon Brodkin, who performs as the character Lee Nelson, was taken away by the police from the Fifa headquarters.

Blatter's security staff had escorted him out of the press conference room where he carried out the stunt on Monday.

Brodkin has been involved in similar stunts in the past, including going on stage with rapper Kanye West and attempting to infiltrate the England World Cup squad as they boarded their flight to the United States last year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Identity of Fifa task force chief to be revealed 'very soon''. Print Edition | Subscribe