Adidas CEO wants to limit age and term of FIFA president

Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:02am EST
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BERLIN (Reuters) - FIFA should set limits on the term and age of its future presidents as world soccer's governing body seeks to reform after a corruption scandal, the chief executive of long-standing sponsor Adidas was quoted as saying on Thursday.

The comments by Herbert Hainer are the first concrete proposals for reform from the German sportswear company that has provided the World Cup match ball since 1970 and two years ago extended its partnership with FIFA until 2030.

Hainer also said the role of FIFA president should be more like that of a chief executive, overseen by a supervisory body, like in companies.

"It doesn't help at all for just one person to go. You have to fundamentally change the organization," Hainer said in an interview with the WirtschaftsWoche magazine released on Thursday ahead of publication.

The way that decisions are taken had to be changed as well as limiting the term and age of future presidents, he added. He did not specify a maximum age or recommend how long the term should be.

Adidas has faced criticism for declining to join other major sponsors like Visa and Coca-Cola in October when they demanded the immediate departure of FIFA President Sepp Blatter after Swiss authorities opened a criminal investigation into him. [L8N12714X]

Blatter, 79, who has been at the head of FIFA since 1998, lost his appeal on Wednesday against a provisional 90-day ban by the global soccer body's ethics committee.

Sponsors like Visa and Coca-Cola have demanded that FIFA reform is driven by an independent, third-party commission of impartial experts.

However, Hainer reiterated his support for the existing reform commission, with which he had discussed his ideas.   Continued...

Herbert Hainer, chief executive officer of Adidas, the world's second largest sports apparel firm, holds his speech during company annual general meeting in the northern Bavarian town of Fuerth near Nuremberg, Germany, May 7, 2015. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle