Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 1st 2013 Contents A54
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PORT LOUIS---Fifa introduced new
integrity checks on senior officials
and welcomed a woman onto its
exclusive ruling board yesterday,
changes that world football s ruling
body said signalled it was close to
completing a prolonged and often
criticised path to reform.
"I am happy to say that Fifa has
weathered the storm. We have
emerged from troubled waters," Fifa
president Sepp Blatter proclaimed to
delegates at the annual congress on
the tropical Indian Ocean island of
Fifa s long-serving captain said the
ship had reached "transparent" waters
in Mauritius after a rocky, scandal-
hit few years for the 109-year-old
Yet the head of the expert reform
panel advising Fifa earlier told dele-
gates the organisation still had lots to
do to modernise, including making
the salaries and bonuses of its big
earners public, and establishing age
and term limits for senior officials like
Also, independent observers have
not yet been allowed onto Fifa s deci-
sion-making executive committee.
Swiss professor Mark Pieth said
Fifa s leadership needed to show a
commitment "that they really want
to go down the road to reform."
Pieth stated before the start of the
congress that Fifa s reforms were only
about halfway to completion and there
were "remaining challenges." He said
the integrity checks introduced weren t
as strict as they could be, and that it
was "essential" that Fifa also intro-
duced term limits on senior officials.
However, the final part of Fifa s
planned reforms---the issue of term
limits and age restrictions---was
pushed back to next year s congress.
Those reforms could affect any plans
the 77-year-old Blatter may have of
standing again for the leadership in
2015 and backtracking on a previous
commitment that this term would be
The issue has now been muddled
in the politics at play between Blatter
and UEFA president Michel Platini,
who is tipped as a future challenger
for the Fifa presidency.
"For me, frankly, my take on it is
this is held up by political bickering
by mainly two people. And the whole
place is been held hostage by the fight
and the struggle of two people," Pieth
Blatter later responded to UEFA s
apparent push for age and term limits,
and its criticism that he was delaying
the vote while he considered running
again until 2019, when he will be 83.
The proposal to postpone the vote
on age and term limits also drew an
active debate on the floor, with the
Danish and German delegates reflect-
ing UEFA s frustration that those issues
wouldn t be settled despite a two-
year discussion over their implemen-
tation and the importance placed on
them by the expert reform panel.
The proposal was eventually passed
by a vote of 123 to 16, meaning 68 of
the 207 national associations voting
yesterday either abstained or did not
register valid votes.
The issue of whether to make the
salaries for Blatter and other officials
public also wasn t dealt with in Mau-
The new centralised integrity checks
will be made for officials standing for
the presidency and some committees.
But members of the top executive
committee that are elected by their
continental confederations will be
vetted at confederation level, and not
centrally. Also, Pieth s recommenda-
tion that those confederation checks
be scrutinised by independent auditing
firms was not adopted.
Around a third of Fifa s powerful
executive committee either left their
posts or were suspended for ethics
violations over the last two years, and
Fifa s honourary president Joao Have-
lange recently resigned after it was
found he took bribes in the 1990s.
In a swipe at some of Pieth s crit-
icism, Fifa executive committee mem-
ber Theo Zwanziger of Germany
described the insistence on even
stricter integrity checks as "absurd,"
highlighting the uneasy relationship
between Fifa and its reform advisers
over the past few months.
In one modernising move, Lydia
Nsekera of Burundi was voted onto
the executive committee as its first
female full-time member on a four-
year term, while two other women
were co-opted onto the executive for
a year. (AP)
Fifa passes some reforms
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