BERLIN (Reuters) - Swiss Francois Carrard is the right man to head scandal-plagued FIFA’s reform task force and his appointment shows soccer’s ruling body is serious about changing, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.
The 77-year-old, who was the IOC’s director general for 14 years until 2003 and led the organization through its own crisis following the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics vote scandal, was named head of FIFA’s reform committee on Tuesday.
“The appointment ... is a strong signal that FIFA is serious about adopting far-reaching reforms,” IOC director general Christophe De Kepper told Reuters in an e-mail.
“Mr Carrard has all the tools necessary to lead this mission, the knowledge, the experience and the fortitude.”
The new FIFA committee was originally announced last month as a ‘task force’ of 11 members but has been expanded to 15 to include Carrard, two members from each of the six continental confederations plus two members to be named by the commercial partners of soccer’s ruling body.
The organization’s corruption troubles came to a head in May when U.S. prosecutors indicted nine soccer officials, most holding FIFA positions, and five marketing and broadcasting company executives over a range of alleged offences including fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.
The U.S. prosecutor at the center of the investigation into FIFA’s affairs warned its reform plans should not be “superficial”.
Kelly T Currie, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York whose office indicted the officials in May, said it was monitoring changes closely.
Carrard, a lawyer who still sits on the board of two subsidiaries of the IOC, was also a commissioner of the Olympic group’s reform commission following the Salt Lake City votes-for-bribes affair in 1998.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Tony Jimenez