FIFA reform plan would curb presidency, bring in more women

Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:41am EDT
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By Simon Evans and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

ZURICH (Reuters) - World soccer's scandal-hit governing body embraced reform proposals on Tuesday that would prevent anyone from holding its presidency for longer than 12 years, or past the age of 74, while giving women more say in the running of the sport.

The recommendations were put forward by a Reform Committee set up by FIFA in July in response to investigations by U.S. and Swiss authorities into high-level corruption in soccer.

They were unveiled 12 days after FIFA suspended Sepp Blatter, the 79-year-old who has led it since 1998 and is under investigation in his native Switzerland on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

"In order to restore confidence in FIFA, significant changes to FIFA’s institutional structure and operational processes are necessary to make them more transparent and accountable," the Reform Committee said in a statement.

"Essential changes to the culture of FIFA are necessary to effect lasting change on the organization and to restore FIFA’s reputation so that it can focus on its mission: to promote football throughout the world".

The crisis at FIFA, which began with the arrest of seven officials in a dawn raid on a Swiss luxury hotel in May, has tarnished the reputation of the sport and upset the powerful multinationals that sponsor its showpiece event, the World Cup.

FIFA's Executive Committee said it welcomed the proposals, under which the committee would be replaced by a new 'FIFA Council' including at least six women, one from each region.

A full set of proposals will be produced at the next executive committee in December and then be put to FIFA's congress on Feb. 26, where all 209 member associations will vote.   Continued...