Statute reforms in soccer aren’t exactly sexy, but they are important, especially if you’re CONCACAF, the regional confederation that has been plagued by scandals in recent years. On Monday, the CONCACAF executive committee will release a sweeping set of reforms that will be voted on by the region’s national member associations when they meet in Zurich on February 25, a day before the FIFA presidential election.
If the reforms pass, the framework should provide some optimism that CONCACAF really is trying to change for the better. And if they don’t pass, well, then CONCACAF will continue to be viewed as a laughingstock.
Highlights of the statute reforms include:
• The creation of the CONCACAF Council (of up to 15 members) to replace the current executive committee.
• Term limits of 12 years (consecutive or non-consecutive) for CONCACAF Council members and members of independent committees.
• Requiring at least one female member on the CONCACAF Council who will also be one of five CONCACAF representatives on the newly created FIFA Council (which is set to replace the FIFA executive committee if new FIFA reforms are approved on February 26).
• An independent ethics committee that will conduct background checks on any candidates for the CONCACAF Council, CONCACAF president and other confederation posts.
• The right of CONCACAF to audit any national member association receiving funds from the confederation to make sure that money is being used correctly.
The statute reforms go along with changes in day-to-day business practices that CONCACAF put into place last July. Those changes, which included a new RFP process and other transparency reforms, have started to bring CONCACAF into the 21st century. But after being led by crooks for two decades, CONCACAF has a long way to go to start earning some credibility.
Two steps in the right direction would be 1) not having any CONCACAF officials arrested when they arrive in Zurich next month, and 2) passing the reforms announced on Monday.