Football - 24 Jan 2013 - By Callum Murray in Nyon
Another bribery scandal, similar to the one involving ISL, the now defunct sports agency, should not hit Fifa, soccer’s world governing body, again under a series of proposals relating to the reform of Fifa statutes proposed today in a meeting of the 53 member associations of Uefa, the European governing body.
In reply to a question from Sportcal at a press conference following the meeting, Gianni Infantino, Uefa’s general secretary, said: “One of the proposals is to ensure complete transparency of financial inflows and outflows. You can never exclude bribery scandals from happening, but if appropriate measures are put in place, this should not happen again. A lot has already done by Fifa, in setting up an ethics commission, with two chambers [investigative and adjudicatory]. It’s a warning to anyone [at Fifa] who wants to accept a bribe, that it’s not going to happen any more.”
In July last year, Fifa published a Swiss court document which named former president Joao Havelange and ex-executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira as the recipients of bribes in a case relating to ISL, the federation’s marketing partner until its collapse in 2001.
Coincidentally (or not), Fifa’s ethics committee said in a statement today that “proceedings related to the settlement order in the case involving the former Fifa marketing partner ISL are ongoing. When the examination is complete, Chairman [of the ethics committee’s committee’s investigative chamber, Michael] Garcia will detail his findings in a final report to Fifa’s executive committee, which, as previously reported, referred the matter to the chairman. It is anticipated that this will occur at the next regularly scheduled meeting of that committee in March 2013.”
Meanwhile, the Uefa member asociations, represented by their presidents and/or general secretaries, also agreed at their meeting to a range of other proposals in relation to the reform of Fifa statutes, including:
• The introduction of a maximum term of office for the Fifa president from 2015, when the next election is expected to take place. The proposal is that this should follow the model adopted by the International Olympic Committee of a first term of eight years, and a second and final term of four years.
• A general age limit of 72 at the time of election or appointment should be imposed for members of all Fifa bodies. However, Infantino accepted that a ‘transitional measure’ might have to be introduced to enable existing members of, for example, Fifa’s executive committee, who are already aged over 72, to complete their existing mandates.
• The Fifa executive committee should make a pre-selection of up to three candidates for hosting the quadrennial World Cup, before a vote by the Fifa Congress takes place (as now) to decide the host country.
• Great Britain should retain its automatic entitlement to supply one of Fifa’s vice presidents, plus four of the eight members of the International Football Associations Board which makes decisions relating to the laws of the game. However, the British vice president should in future be elected by the Uefa Congress, and not simply by the football associations of the four British countries involved, a proposal that has been backed by the British associations. Infantino said: “The European members feel it [the automatic British representation] is part of the history, tradition and culture of football.”
Fifa’s reform process was initiated following a series of bribery and other allegations relating to the re-election of Sepp Blatter as Fifa president in 2011 and the choice of Russia and Qatar to host the Fifa World Cups in 2018 and 2022 in voting at the end of 2010.