LONDON (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has endorsed a German proposal for stronger integrity checks to vet top soccer officials as the sport’s global governing body grapples with the fallout of a massive corruption scandal.
Blatter also took a swipe at European soccer federation UEFA, who he said had blocked the proposal by German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach.
”Wolfgang Niersbach from Germany, has put forward a motion I support,’ the Swiss wrote in his column in FIFA Weekly Magazine.
”(He) has proposed an independent integrity check for all members of the most important FIFA Committees.
”In doing so, Niersbach has broached a subject that
has so far been blocked by UEFA of all associations. Better late than never.
”The message he has thereby sent out must apply to everyone:
only together can we continue to drive the process of reform forward.
“That is something I will stand for until my final day in office.”
Following the arrests of high-ranking FIFA officials in Zurich last month, Blatter was re-elected as president for a fifth term on May 29 but days later announced he would step down and an extraordinary congress would find his successor.
FIFA’s Executive Committee will meet in Zurich on July 20 to decide on a date to find Blatter’s successor.
In his column, Blatter did not address reports he might change his mind about stepping down and stand for re-election.
He said Niersbach’s proposal would be discussed at the July 20 meeting but sidestepped the German’s call to end the one-country, one-vote system used to elect the president.
Currently, each of FIFA’s 209 member associations has one vote in the presidential election, meaning that countries such as Germany and Brazil have the same voting power as tiny nations such as Liechtenstein and Antigua.
Conversely, Blatter said more power over the governance of global soccer should be concentrated in Asia and Africa -- blocs where he has traditionally relied on strong support -- in the form of more representation on an expanded Executive Committee.
“The key is to strengthen democracy within the ‘FIFA government’,” he said.
”The fact that CAF, the African confederation boasting 54 members and the AFC, the Asian confederation with 46 members, only have five and four delegates respectively in the 25-person FIFA Executive is contradictory to this notion of democracy.
“However, I am reluctant to take places away from anyone; there should not be a redistribution of seats on the Executive Committee but a commensurate expansion of this body.”
Blatter also repeated his call for more women on the ExCo, saying FIFA was not a “men-only” club.
Burundi’s Lydia Nsekera sits alone as a female full member of the ExCo -- the only woman in the 111-year history of the organization to attain that post.
Writing by Rex Gowar and Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury