Outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been unfairly treated over the corruption scandal surrounding world soccer’s governing body, the head of its reform committee told a Swiss newspaper.
U.S. prosecutors in May indicted nine soccer officials, most of whom had FIFA positions and five marketing and broadcasting company executives over alleged fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.
US and Swiss prosecutors are examining whether there were irregularities in the awarding of the rights to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
Blatter, who decided to step aside just days after being elected to a fifth consecutive term as FIFA president, has been pilloried for the world soccer body’s failure to clamp down on corruption earlier.
His successor is set to be elected at an extraordinary Congress on February 26, next year.
“There is something unfair about the way he is being treated,” Francois Carrard is quoted as telling Le Matin Dimanche in an interview published on Sunday.
“I say this in all independence. We’re burning him. Certainly he has made mistakes but he has also brought positive elements. Unfortunately it is always like that when someone stays on too long, the negative gets the upper hand.”
Carrard, a former director general of the International Olympic Committee, was appointed chairman of FIFA’s reform committee earlier this month.
The reform group will present its findings to FIFA’s February congress with the agenda for that meeting set in December.
When asked whether shorter term lengths or establishing an age limit would be part of his proposed reforms, Carrard said: “I’m keeping that scoop for the members of the commission but these themes are going to be on the table, that is certain.”
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)