Amid scandal, FIFA deserves credit for reforms: Gosper

Tue May 10, 2016 4:29am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The "arrogance" of senior officials brought corruption-related turmoil to world soccer but important governance reforms could restore its credibility, according to influential sports administrator Kevan Gosper.

Former International Olympic Committee Vice President Gosper served last year on FIFA's reform committee, which was formed as part of the governing body's response to U.S. authorities indicting a raft of senior soccer officials and marketing executives for corruption.

The committee recommended a slew of sweeping reforms, including term limits on top executives and the disclosure of their salaries, which were later endorsed at a special Congress in February.

The corruption scandal has since rumbled on, however, with announcements of new probes, extraditions and punishments of tainted officials a near-daily occurrence.

With that backdrop, FIFA holds its first annual Congress under new president Gianni Infantino in Mexico this week, hoping to bring its 209 member associations up to speed on reforms to clean up the game.

Gosper said FIFA deserved credit for its commitment to reforming itself, even if those efforts had been largely overshadowed by the corruption investigations.

"I think what they have done, which is to take on all the recommendations that we made in terms of changes to statutes and regulations, integrity and their agreements on more transparency on what people have been paid, on limits to office, they're going in the right direction and I think they can build on that," the 82-year-old Australian told Reuters.

"There are a lot of elements of the management of FIFA, the bureaucracy of FIFA where they've done some good work.   Continued...

The FIFA logo is seen at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich