FIFA Executive Committee has set its crucial extraordinary congress and presidential election for February 26, 2016 as well as a raft of reforms as part of desperate bid to bounce back from corruption scandal rocking the world football governing institution.
During last Monday’s EXCO meeting chaired by Sepp Blatter, FIFA initiated the electoral period with the formal installation of the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee, consisting of the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee (Claudio Sulser), the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee (Larry Mussenden) and the chairman of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee (Domenico Scala). The electoral committee will convene for its first meeting on Tuesday, July 21, to agree on its chairman amongst other matters.
A statement released by FIFA after the meeting says that following the release of the electoral timetable, candidates running for the FIFA Presidency have between July 21 and October 26 to submit their application forms.
“Given that the extraordinary elective Congress will take place on 26th February 2016, the deadline for submission of candidates for the office of FIFA President must take place in writing, together with the declarations of support of at least five members (cf. art. 24 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes), by 26th October 2015 at the latest.
Besides approval of the electoral programme, FIFA EXCO meeting also pushed for a range of important reforms to be submitted for approval at the extraordinary Congress, underlining FIFA’s commitment to better governance and greater accountability. They also decided that this Congress will take place in Zurich on February 26, 2016, when a new FIFA President will be elected.
The proposed reforms include enhanced centralized integrity checks for Executive Committee members, the introduction of term limits, higher standards of governance at all levels of football structures including confederations and member associations, as well as individual disclosure of compensation. “The members welcomed the presentation on reforms delivered by Domenico Scala, independent chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee. The Executive Committee, supported by the confederations, reiterated its unity and stated its firm commitment to reforms. The executive also stressed its full cooperation with the on-going US and Swiss investigations”, FIFA said after the meeting.
According to a comprehensive statement released on FIFA website, the executive meeting decided to set up a specific FIFA Task Force ‘Reforms’ to be chaired by a neutral chairman as part of the bid to further strengthen the reform process.
The Task Force will be composed of two representatives of each of the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF and UEFA, as well as of one representative from each of CONMEBOL and the OFC. “Concrete and comprehensive reform proposals should be elaborated for presentation at the next ordinary FIFA Executive Committee meeting, scheduled to be held in Zurich on 24th and 25th September 2015, and thereafter submitted for approval at the extraordinary Congress”, it disclosed.
FIFA Executive Committee has already approved the revised bidding regulations for future FIFA World Cups as part of the efforts to purge itself of corruption. According to the new regulations approved on May 25, 2015, future bids will have to meet a number of important additional criteria. “In particular, FIFA will recognise the provisions of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and will make it compulsory for both contractual partners and those within the supply chain to comply with these provisions. Furthermore, the bidding documents were also elaborated using guidance of the United Nations’ strategy for “Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events”, FIFA states.
By Olisemeka Obeche