World’s football governing body, FIFA has appointed Francois Carrard, the man who helped the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tackle its corruption crisis, as chairman of its 15-member reform committee.

The 77-year-old Swiss is the former director general of the IOC and was commissioner of the Olympic body’s reform commission following the vote for the 2002 Winter Olympics, won by Salt Lake City.

A statement released by FIFA disclosed that the Carrard led panel will work over the next six months “to produce a package of reform proposals that will be put before the extraordinary elective Congress due to take place in Zurich on 26 February 2016”.

“The work of the committee will build on the reform work FIFA has undertaken since 2011,” it adds.

Domenico Scala, independent chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee has already formulated a series of reform proposals, including term limits and salary disclosure along with enhanced integrity checks, which will be on the committee’s agenda.

The new FIFA committee originally announced last month is composed of two members from each of the six continental football confederations plus two members to be appointed by FIFA’s commercial partners with Carrard as chairman.

Those appointed into the committee alongside Carrard included: Gianni Infantino, Secretary General of UEFA, and Alasdair Bell, UEFA’s legal director. Asia’s representatives were Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah from Kuwait, a member of FIFA’s executive committee, and Australia’s Kevan Gospar, former vice-president of the IOC.

North America will be represented by U.S. lawyer Samir Gandhi, of the Sidley Austin law firm in New York City and Victor Montagliani, president of the Canadian Soccer Association.

The African Football Confederation (CAF) nominated Hani Abo Rida of Egypt and Constant Omari from the Democratic Republic of Congo, both are members of the FIFA executive committee.

The two South American representatives are Wilmar Valdez of the Uruguayan Football Association and Spaniard Gorka Villa, who is director general of CONMEBOL, the region’s confederation. Villa is a lawyer who is currently represented one of the indicted officials — Venezuelan Rafael Esquivel.

FIFA’s corruption crisis, it would be recalled,  came to a head in May when US and Swiss authorities launched a massive manhunt and arrested indicted nine top FIFA officials and five marketing and broadcasting company executives over a range of alleged offences, including fraud, money-laundering and racketeering. While investigation and prosecution has continued, FIFA has taken steps to purge itself of graft by proposing a reform.

But many, including Carrard believes a FIFA reform must be deep and thorough to effectively sanitize the institution. He described the FIFA corruption crisis as massive and similar to what “I  experienced with the IOC”.

His words: “There are accusations of corruption against certain leaders, there are structural reforms which are badly needed. There is the interference of the political world, of the sponsors who are very unhappy, we had similar situations with the IOC at the time. And there is the interference of the justice… it is a very, very serious crisis!.”

By Olisemeka Obeche


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