FIFA tabs Francois Carrard to chair new reform committee

ZURICH (AP) — Francois Carrard, who helped oversee the cleanup of the IOC after the Salt Lake City bidding scandal, was selected Tuesday to chair the group leading the reforms of football's corruption-hit governing body.

Carrard, former director general of the International Olympic Committee, will lead a team of 12 officials picked by the six soccer continental confederations, including new FIFA executive committee member and IOC powerbroker Sheik Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait.

World Cup sponsors will also nominate two members to the panel, which was formed after 14 people were indicted in an American investigation into soccer corruption.

"It is vital for the future of global football to restore the integrity and reputation of its governing body," Carrard said.

The Swiss lawyer served as the IOC's director general 14 years until 2003, a period which included the scandal that led to the expulsion or resignation of 10 members connected to Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

The scandal prompted the IOC to enact a series of reforms, including creation of an ethics commission, introduction of new term and age limits and a ban on member visits to bid cities.

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Reform proposals affecting the FIFA president and executive committee include term limits, publishing their salary and stricter vetting of candidates.

Carrard, who will appoint an advisory board featuring figures from outside football, will present his proposed reforms to the FIFA Congress on Feb. 26 when Sepp Blatter's successor will be elected.

Blatter announced plans in June to quit, only four days after being re-elected for a fifth, four-year term.

Blatter said Carrard can "help FIFA to strengthen its governance structures in a credible and meaningful way."

UEFA President Michel Platini, the front-runner to succeed Blatter and inherit the reforms, said creating the panel was an important step.

"All of the confederations have picked their representatives based on their knowledge of football and governance matters, and we will now all work together for the greater good of the game," Platini said in a statement.

The panel also includes former IOC vice president Kevan Gosper, who was appointed by the Asian Football Confederation. The Australian was investigated and cleared of wrongdoing by the IOC ethics commission in 2000 over his links to the Salt Lake City bid, including a family ski trip to Utah.

CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, nominated Gorka Villar, its general director and son of Angel Maria Villar, the long-time Spanish federation head who is a vice president of FIFA and UEFA. Angel Maria Villar is being investigated by the FIFA ethics committee in its 2018-2022 World Cup bidding case.

Africa's nominees, Hany Abo Rida of Egypt and Constant Omari of Congo, are both members of FIFA's often-discredited executive committee.

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