FIFA sponsors want independent oversight of reform process

Tue Dec 1, 2015 5:04pm EST
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By Ken Ferris

LONDON (Reuters) - Leading sponsors of soccer's world governing body have demanded independent oversight of FIFA's reform process in an open letter published on Tuesday ahead of a key meeting to finalize proposed reforms at the scandal-plagued organization.

The companies -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Adidas, The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s Corp and Visa Inc. -- aimed their letter at FIFA's executive committee, which meets this week.

FIFA's reform committee chairman Francois Carrard will put its recommendations to the executive committee on Wednesday and Thursday and they will be publicly presented afterwards.

Last month the reform committee published its "preliminary recommendations" which suggested an age limit of 74 for all leading officials, but only mentioned term-limits for the president, who would be restricted to three mandates.

The final list of proposed reforms will be put to FIFA's 209 member associations at an emergency Congress in February.

FIFA is facing unprecedented pressure to overhaul its governance and improve transparency following the May indictment by U.S. authorities of 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives on corruption-related charges.

Many of those indicted by U.S. authorities had served on FIFA's executive committee or other FIFA panels.

"We are aware of the positive work that the reform committee has been doing on governance reform but we still believe any reforms should be subject to independent oversight," the sponsors' letter, published on, said.   Continued...

Italy's national soccer player Mario Balotelli kicks the ball as an Adidas advertising banner is seen during a training session ahead of the 2014 World Cup at the Portobello training center in Mangaratiba June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo