FIFA Reform Committee chair François Carrard has claimed solving problems within football’s world governing body will be harder than addressing similar issues within the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the late 1990s due to the need to pacify 209 contrasting National Associations.
Carrard, the former IOC director general who precided over the Salt Lake City 2002 bribery-for-votes scandal which erupted in 1998, claims the distinct cultural differences within FIFA’s consitituent bodies is making it harder than his work with the IOC, where only the opinions of approximately 100 members mattered.
This made changes such as the expulsion of members and the introduction of a younger age limit of 70 easier, he claimed.
Carrard, speaking here at the International Council of Sport and Security (ICSS)-sponsored Securing Sport Conference, at first denied there were any “systemic” problems within football’s governing body, suggesting they were better explained by individual personalities.
The Swiss was also forced to counter claims that he was too much “inside the club” in international sport to be able to make a difference, despite not being directly associated with FIFA.
“You need insiders, if you want an institution to be reformed,” he said.
“If you are only acting from the outside, your chances to succeed are more limited.
“We are committed. because FIFA deserves far better than the statutes that are there now.”
Many of Carrard’s plans to shape the future of FIFA have already been revealed, including a 12-year term for the FIFA President and a maximum age limit of 74.
Elements of these proposals still have to be confirmed, however, including as whether a 12 year Presidential term would consist of two six-year periods or an eight year term followed by a four year one, as is the practice within the IOC.
All these proposals should be finalised by December, Carrard hopes, before being presented to the FIFA Congress on February 26, the same day on which the Presidential Election is scheduled.
Changes to introduce “financial transparency” in FIFA’s activities are also being considered, including new rules to require public disclosure of the salaries of top FIFA officials.
Having a female member representing each of the six regional Confederations on the body’s Executive Committee will be another proposal.
Carrard has insisted there is “consensus” on many of these measures, including the 12-year limit for the President.
Extending the age limit proposals to members of the Executive Committee remains a bone of contention, however, he admitted.
These proposals were also tentatively backed by another of today’s speakers, Canadian IOC member Richard Pound, another figure closely involved in the the Olympic Movement’s recovery from the Salt Lake City scandal, as well as the founding President of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“I think that horse has left the stable already,” he said.
“If you’re in power too long, you tend to become a tourist, and if you can’t do what you want to do in eight years, are you ever?”
The proposals been fiercely criticized elsewhere, however, with Jamie Fuller, the head of campaign group #NewFIFANow , telling insidethegames how they are the equivalent only of “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.