ZURICH (Reuters) - Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) director general Francois Carrard has been asked by scandal-plagued global soccer body FIFA to head its Reform Task Force, the Swiss lawyer told Reuters on Thursday.
“I have been approached and I will make a decision next week,” said the 77-year-old Carrard, who was IOC director general from 1989 to 2003, when that organization dealt with its own corruption scandal.
FIFA announced last month the creation of a new reforms task force. It will be made up of ten members nominated by the body’s regional confederations and will be headed by a person from outside of the sport.
The Zurich-based FIFA has been in a crisis since May, when nine soccer officials and five marketing executives were charged by the U.S. Justice Department in an indictment that outlined massive corruption, including bribes and kickbacks of more than $150 million over 24 years.
In the wake of the scandal, FIFA’s 79-year-old President Sepp Blatter has said he will stand down next February.
Carrard was at the organizational helm of the IOC during its own multi-million dollar corruption crisis centered on the bidding process for the 2002 Winter Olympics, which was won by Salt Lake City in the United States.
After years of suspicion over the way the Games were awarded, the case burst into the open after Swiss IOC member Marc Hodler exposed widespread corruption among fellow members.
Some had sold their votes to Salt Lake City in exchange for, among other things, college scholarships, tuition fees, skiing holidays and cash bribes.
Ten members were expelled or forced to resign, while 10 others were penalized in what then IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch called the organization’s “worst moment”.
Canadian lawyer Dick Pound, who headed the investigation into IOC corruption, said Carrard was a good choice for the FIFA role.
“Very suitable, assuming he is satisfied with the terms of reference, then he would be excellent,” Pound told Reuters.
“He is an experienced lawyer, he has got good judgment. He has had a lot of international experience and exposure and he is Swiss which I think would appeal to an organization like FIFA, who would probably not welcome anyone, certainly from North America or even the (British) Commonwealth, in that kind of position,” he said.
Carrard graduated from the University of Lausanne in 1962, three years after Blatter completed his degree at the same Swiss University.
Although they share a similar age and background, Pound did not believe Carrard would be soft on Blatter. Carrard would be prepared to blame Blatter for the problems if that was appropriate, Pound said. .
Carrard has remained involved in sport since leaving his role as director general of the IOC with various consulting positions and directorships.
The lawyer serves on the board of IOC Television and Marketing Services SA and Olympic Broadcasting Services SA, both of which are Lausanne-based companies controlled by the IOC.
Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Martin Howell