FIFA adviser outlines eight-point plan to reform organization
GENEVA (AP) — Many have urged FIFA to change its ways. Few have succeeded.
Reform adviser Domenico Scala put his 29-page dossier into the public domain on Thursday, trying to influence a process now driven by a FIFA-appointed panel led by veteran Olympic official Francois Carrard.
It is far from clear if FIFA's decision makers will heed the Swiss businessman, who has overseen the soccer body's audit and compliance standards since 2012.
For FIFA skeptics, some proposals are doomed to fail.
Here are the highlights of Scala's eight-point plan:
Empowering the FIFA ethics committee to conduct stricter vetting of executive committee members and candidates for senior positions.
This was already proposed by previous FIFA adviser Mark Pieth — and blocked by the executive committee.
Scala's extra kicker is that only member federations with the same integrity checks would be eligible to propose candidates for FIFA committee seats.
A maximum of three four-year terms for the FIFA president, executive committee members, the secretary general and members of FIFA's independent committees and judicial bodies.
Again, confederations and member federations would follow suit to be eligible for proposing FIFA candidates.
ELECTION BY CONGRESS
In recent years, Blatter complained he must work with "his government" — meaning the scandal-hit executive committee.
Scala suggests future executive members must be directly elected by the entire 209-member FIFA Congress.
Still, each continental body would retain the right to propose its own candidates. It is difficult to see how other confederations would block the preferred choices.
Scala proposes only a partial victory for financial transparency.
Indeed, top officials — FIFA president, executive committee members, secretary general, chairs of independent committees — would have to disclose all their football-related income and compensation. But only to a FIFA internal committee, not the public.
The FIFA financial report would show listings by certain income categories.
FIFA's bloated committee structure — which gives all 209 member federations a seat somewhere — would be trimmed.
Fewer committees, fewer members and mandatory independent chairmen or chairwomen for those panels "that bear a high risk of conflicts of interests."
WHAT'S GOOD FOR FIFA ...
Higher governance standards imposed on FIFA would in the future apply for the confederations and members also.
For example, they would be required to "issue adequate ethics and disciplinary regulations and set up the bodies required to implement them."
WORLD CUP BIDDING
Scala acknowledges that FIFA already dealt with this area after the controversial dual 2018-2022 contests won by Russia and Qatar, respectively.
The executive committee no longer chooses the World Cup host. Instead, it proposes a shortlist of candidates and the 209 members vote.
One of Scala's suggested solutions to clean up FIFA decision-making is to increase the executive committee from 25 voting members to 40.
The key, though, is shifting the power balance away from the elected members toward the hired departmental bosses.
Scala, a former CEO in the pharmaceutical industry, proposes that the present executive committee members become a governing body with responsibility for "strategic matters, supervision."
A management board would take day-to-day decisions.
FIFA's financial business would also be modernized with independent oversight of money in (a commercial board dealing with contracts) and money out (a development board allocating project funds).
Where do Scala's ideas go to be heard?
He presented them on July 20 to the FIFA executive committee, which created a reform task force and appointed Carrard as chairman. Carrard will soon appoint his own five-member advisory board.
The Carrard process will present a slate of proposals back to the FIFA executive committee meeting on Dec. 17-18 in Japan.
From there, it must go on the FIFA Congress agenda and be voted on by the 209 members federations in Zurich on Feb. 26.