February 24, 2016 / 1:20 PM / 3 years ago

FIFA urges members to approve term limits, other reforms to regain trust

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA urged its members on Wednesday to vote through reforms this week including term limits for top officials and disclosure of their earnings, in a bid to rebuild trust in soccer’s governing body.

FIFA's acting President Issa Hayatou (R) leaves the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, Switzerland February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The federation will hold a congress this Friday and vote on a set of reforms it has drawn up to get its house in order after an unprecedented graft scandal that has engulfed its top officials and seen dozens indicted in the United States.

“The eyes of the world are on us this week after one of the most challenging times in our history,” acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou told its executive committee, according to a statement from the organization on Wednesday.

“The approval of the reforms will send a strong message that we have listened and that we are taking the action necessary to regain trust and improve our performance.”

FIFA will choose a new president at an Extraordinary Congress on Friday to replace Swiss Sepp Blatter, who has been suspended for eight years for ethics violations. Five candidates are standing in the election.

The congress will also vote on reform proposals including 12-year term limits for senior officials and the replacement of the executive committee with a new FIFA Council.

The proposals must be approved by 75 percent of voting members to be implemented and included in revised statutes.

One clause in the draft statutes states that “the individual compensation of the FIFA President, the members of the Council and the FIFA Secretary General shall be made public.”

The new FIFA Council, with 36 members instead of 27, would be larger than the current committee and would take a purely strategic role. There must be at least six women on the council, one for each continental confederation.

Commercial decisions such as the awarding of broadcast rights would be made by a separate general secretariat.

The new statutes would also place a great onus on member federations and the six continental confederations to police themselves, which is considered a key element in cleaning up the game.

“Each of these measures is critical for the future of FIFA and global football,” said Hayatou.

“We urge each of the member associations to support the reforms in full, and then to implement them in their entirety at home. It is a collective responsibility we have for football,”

The committee also recommended that Friday’s congress delay any decision on Kuwait and Indonesia, who are currently suspended and cannot vote.

This means that 207 federations, rather than 209, would be able to vote.

Acting FIFA secretary general Markus Kattner told the committee that the soccer world governing body’s current financial situation was “challenging” although the statement did not give further details.

The agenda for the meeting also included an item on the creation of an advisory board to help with the reform process. However, this was not mentioned in the post-meeting statement and FIFA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Editing by Ken Ferris and Hugh Lawson

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