PRAGUE (Reuters) - UEFA has hit back at suggestions that it and other continental confederations have been responsible for blocking reforms aimed at cleaning up soccer’s scandal-plagued world governing body FIFA.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said there were enough mechanisms in place to ensure that only officials with a clean past were elected on to FIFA committees.
His comments came after Domenico Scala, who is overseeing FIFA reforms, demanded that an independent committee be created to carry out integrity checks on executive committee members before they could be allowed to take office.
Scala said confederations had blocked these reforms and said their “actions must be consistent with their speech.”
Continental confederations, which elect the FIFA executive committee members, currently carry out integrity checks, a system which Infantino said should continue.
“UEFA and the European associations have always been in favor of reforms and have always been in favor of integrity checks being made in the confederations,” he told reporters.
“Our members have to comply with our disciplinary and ethics rules at any time, not only when they are candidates. In addition to this, you have the FIFA ethics regulations which means FIFA can, at any time, make all the checks that they want to any person they want.
“I don’t think this is a real issue, it’s more a communication issue. The real instruments are there, they just have to be applied.”
FIFA was embroiled in scandal when a U.S. probe led to the criminal indictment on May 27 of nine current and former FIFA officials and five executives in sports marketing and broadcasting on bribery, money-laundering and wire fraud charges.
Meanwhile, Swiss authorities are investigating the decision by FIFA’s executive committee to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on June 2 he would step down and call a new presidential election in which he would not be a candidate.
This will take place between December and February with the exact date to be decided by FIFA’s executive committee on July 20. UEFA president Michel Platini, who did not attend the news conference, has not commented on whether he will run.
“It’s not a question of making deals; of course there are discussions and of course the focus has to be on saving
football,” Infantino said.
“This (July 20 meeting) will fix a date and we will take it from there,” he said.
“We need some clarity and we need to work for the good of football in this situation.”
Editing by Ed Osmond