Fifa members have passed a package of reforms designed to repair the organisation’s tarnished reputation and safeguard it against the sort of corruption which has threatened its very existence.
The world football governing body will elect a new president this afternoon after 18 years under the rule of the outgoing Sepp Blatter, banned for six years following a “disloyal payment” of £1.3m made to Uefa counterpart Michel Platini.
201 of the eligible 207 countries elected to vote (Indonesia and Kuwait are suspended) with 179 in favour of the reforms which aim to improve accountability, transparency, diversity and governance matters including term times of elected officials.
Before the previous election in the summer of 2015, arrests were made at the request of the United States Department of Justice. Many remain under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in co-ordination with Swiss authorities, over corruption allegedly involving more than $150m (£98m) worth of bribes dating back 24 years.
On Wednesday, Blatter and Platini saw their appeals against eight-year bans rejected but their suspensions were reduced to six years by Fifa’s appeals committee.
Chiefly among the accepted reforms package is the decision to set fixed terms of three or four years for presidents while the benchmark has been set for full disclosure of the payment structure at Fifa. The executive committee will also undergo a transformation of sorts with it expected to now be replaced by a 36-member council designed to set global policies and include at least one female representative.
Fifa presidential candidates explained
Fifa presidential candidates explained
1/5 Gianni Infantino, 45, Italian/Swiss
Uefa general secretary, joined in 2000 as a lawyer
“Fundamental reforms must be at the heart of Fifa to ensure that it regains the trust of both the football world and the wider public. These reforms need to be structural but also cultural in nature. In this respect, Fifa must demonstrate that it has the strength and determination to reform itself into a modern, well governed, institution which is a worthy leader for the world’s number one sport.”
Expanding the World Cup to upwards of 40 nations, ensuring smaller countries are represented.
2016 Anadolu Agency
2/5 Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, 50, Bahraini
Asian Football Confederation president and Fifa vice-president
“My track record demonstrates that I can be relied upon to serve associations and the global football community with distinction and to lead Fifa through this critical transition. Starting out as a player, I then worked my way up through the ranks of the Bahrain Football Association to become President. Consequently, I fully understand the daily realities and difficulties faced by associations, clubs and players in everyday football.”
Splitting Fifa into two entities, one for commercial practises and another for footballing operations.
3/5 Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, 40, Jordanian
President of Jordan Football Association and founder and president of the West Asian Football Federation, former Fifa vice-president
“I know well the challenges faced every day to develop football in countries around the world. I also know Fifa well from the inside, having served as Fifa Vice President and as a member of both the Fifa Executive Committee and the AFC Executive Committee for the past four years. Most importantly, I am a straight-forward person with straight-forward ideas and ethics — a person who loves our sport. I believe in uncompromising integrity. In good leadership. In fair play. In a service oriented approach. And in hard work.”
Total development of football around the world, quadrupling the amount of money member associations receives to increase sustainability.
2015 Anadolu Agency
4/5 Tokyo Sexwale, 62, South African
Mining businessman, anti-apartheid campaigner and ex-member of the Fifa anti-discrimination task force
“All this occurs in the midst of unprecedented action by law enforcement agencies against several leaders of FIFA. As a Presidential candidate, I fully understand that these are difficult times for FIFA, which demands extraordinary and resolute leadership. These events, do not mean the death knell of football, the biggest sport in the world played since time immemorial and still to be played for many generations to come.”
Growing and developing football worldwide, enhancing all 205 nations not just the recognised bigger countries.
5/5 Jerome Champagne, 57, French
Consultant in international football, a former diplomat who worked at Fifa as an executive and advisor to Sepp Blatter for 11 years
“In my view, and as I've written and said many times, we must continue and further improve what has been done well under the mandates of Presidents Havelange and Blatter: implement development programs, organize FIFA competitions on every continent, and take the correct sports policy decisions (e.g. the exclusion of South Africa because of apartheid in 1976). But we must do more. We must do better. Above all, we must do it differently.”
Strengthening the role of national associations, involving leagues, clubs and players in the decision-making process.
Despite opposition from Gonzalo Boye Tuset of the Palestine Football Association, who called for “revolution not evolution” the vote went ahead with the required 50 per cent turnout.
Attention in Zurich now turns to the presidential election, following a brief lunch, where Gianni Infantino and Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa are most likely to attract the most support.
Infantino, supported by the Football Association, and Sheikh Al-Khalifa join Prince Ali Al Hussein, Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale on a five-man candidate list to be elected president.