Exclusive: U.S. lawyer and ex-IOC official nominated to join FIFA reform task force

Fri Aug 7, 2015 2:43pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - A U.S. lawyer and a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from Australia are among the nominees for places on scandal-hit FIFA's new reform task force, sources familiar with the decisions told Reuters.World soccer's governing body announced last month the creation of an 11-person task force to be nominated by its six regional confederations but chaired by a person from outside of the sport.FIFA has yet to make an official announcement on the make-up of the task force but several names have emerged.On Thursday, former IOC director general Francois Carrard, told Reuters he had been approached by FIFA to chair the task force. The 77-year-old Swiss lawyer said he will decide next week whether to take on the role.Another former IOC official, Australian Kevan Gosper, has been nominated by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to serve on the task force, one of the sources said.    The 81-year-old Gosper has served in several roles within the Olympic movement. He was a member of the IOC from 1977 to 2013 and was twice a vice-president, serving from 1990-1994 and 1999-2003.Gosper declined to comment.

Like Carrard he was involved in the IOC during its own multi-million dollar corruption crisis and subsequent clean-up. The crisis centered on the bidding process for the 2002 Winter Olympics, which was won by Salt Lake City in the United States.The AFC has not yet officially announced its two nominations for the body.A source close to CONCACAF, the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean, said it was nominating U.S. lawyer Samir Ghandi and Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani.Ghandi declined to comment and Montagliani was not immediately available for comment.Ghandi, who works in the New York office of law firm Sidley Austin, has been advising CONCACAF on its own reform process.The African Football Confederation (CAF) on Thursday nominated Hani Abo Rida of Egypt and Constant Omari from the Democratic Republic of Congo - both are members of the FIFA executive committee.On Friday, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said that the European body had made its two nominations but would not be naming them until they were confirmed by FIFA.The task force will be overseen by FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, Disciplinary Committee, and the Ethics Committee. Domenico Scala, independent chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee, has already formulated a series of reform proposals, including term limits and salary disclosure along with enhanced integrity checks, which will be on the task force agenda.FIFA was plunged into crisis in May, when nine soccer officials and five marketing executives were charged by the U.S. Justice Department with a series of offences including racketeering, money-laundering and fraud.In the wake of the scandal, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he will stand down next February and his General Secretary Jerome Valcke has indicated he will probably leave with him.

(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Martin Howell)

The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann