ZURICH (Reuters) - A FIFA advisory panel is pressing ahead to draft reforms of the scandal-shaken world soccer body despite the suspension of President Sepp Blatter and other senior officials amid corruption investigations, the panel’s head said.
“This has no influence on the reform process itself because our work continues,” Francois Carrard told Swiss SRF radio in an interview aired on Saturday.
He stressed the committee’s efforts were independent of the people in charge at FIFA, whose leadership is in disarray after Blatter and UEFA head Michel Platini, a FIFA vice president, were both suspended for 90 days by FIFA’s ethics committee this week.
Both deny any wrongdoing and have filed appeals to try to reverse the provisional bans this week.
Carrard, a former director general of the International Olympic Committee, heads the FIFA Reform Committee that FIFA’s executive committee set up in July. The executive committee is supposed to review its ideas before they go before a members’ congress scheduled for February.
Carrard gave no details of what his group was considering. It remains unclear if his panel will incorporate radical reforms proposed last month by Domenico Scala, the independent head of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee.
Scala’s radical overhaul plan, launched after seven soccer officials were arrested in Zurich in May on U.S. warrants, calls for 12-year term limits for elected FIFA officials, full disclosure of top officials’ financial compensation, and more detailed integrity checks on members of committees.
It also includes replacing the powerful executive committee with a governing council elected by congress and a management committee to handle the day-to-day affairs of the organization.
Carrard’s group is made up of representatives of FIFA’s six continental confederations — the very ones who could see their powers reduced under Scala’s reform plan.
Asked what chances of success he saw for reforms at FIFA, Carrard said: “I am cautious. As a lawyer I have won many trials I should have lost and sometimes lost what I should have won.”
Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton