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How to end FIFA's culture of corruption
by Paul Kennedy, October 20th, 2011 1:22AM

TAGS:  fifa


[MY VIEW] Ravaged by scandal after scandal, FIFA finds its reputation in tatters. To address the problems, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is expected announce on Friday proposed reforms to end the corruption. Here are a few reforms we would make to the executive committee ...

In the last year, two members of the FIFA executive committee members -- Amos Adamu (Nigeria) and Reynald Temarii (Tahiti) -- were suspended for offering to take bribes in connection with the World Cup 2018 and 2022 bid campaigns.

And Concacaf president Jack Warner (Trinidad & Tobago) was forced to quit soccer and Asian Football Confederation Mohamed bin Hammam (Qatar) was banned for life for their role in a cash-for-votes scandal related to bin Hamman's effort to court Caribbean voters in his bid to oust Blatter as FIFA president.

Three other executive committee members -- Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil), Conmebol president Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay) and African soccer confederation president Issa Hayatou (Cameroon) -- were reported to have taken bribes from defunct FIFA marketing agency ISL. (Blatter is reported to have backed the release of Swiss court documents related to the ISL case that also involved his predecessor, Brazilian Joao Havelange.)

Here's what we would do to end the culture of corruption that surrounds FIFA:

1. Limit executive committee members to two four-year  terms. Warner had been on the executive committee for 27 years when he quit this summer. Hayatou has been on the executive committee since 1990. Over the years, they accumulated widespread power. Term limits would limit such political power.

2. Limit the age of executive committee members to 70. Leoz is 83. He had to have been a little senile when he asked the English FA -- via advisers -- to consider renaming the FA Cup after him as part of efforts by the English to court his vote for the 2018 World Cup. Blatter, 75, has held executive positions at FIFA for 30 years, having been first named general secretary in 1981 and then elected president in 1998.

3. Expand the executive committee to include 12 current or former national team players (six men and six women). They would represent the six confederations, one men's national team player and one women's women's national team player per confederation. Few current executive committee members have played the game at a high level. Michel Platini is the most notable exception.

4. Limit the terms of confederation presidents to two four-year terms. It is not surprise that men like Warner, Hayatou, Temarii, Leoz and Hayatou -- every confederation president but Platini -- have been embroiled in scandal. Again, the influence of confederations and their presidents and all the problems that arise from such influence must be limited.

5. All conflicts of interest of executive committee members must be revealed. And they must excuse themselves on all matters in which they have conflicts. Too much power (and money) has been accumulated by executive committee members using their power and connections to develop marketing and television ventures. (Warner built an empire based upon the television rights he acquired and the competitions he brought to Trinidad & Tobago.)

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