Crisis-hit FIFA sets election for February

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 20 Jul, 2015 Updated Mon 20 Jul 2015 12:18 CEST
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FIFA said on Monday that a special election will be held on February 26th to replace president Sepp Blatter.

Blatter announced on June 2nd, four days after winning a fifth term as president, that he would stand down as a major corruption storm hit world football's ruling body.
FIFA said on its Twitter account that the "extraordinary elective FIFA Congress" would be held in Zurich.

The meeting at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich came just two days after a former vice president Jeffrey Webb appeared in a New York court accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes.

Blatter and FIFA vice presidents, including his rival Michel Platini, the UEFA chief, discussed the date in informal talks on Sunday night.

Only former Brazilian international and sports minister Zico has so far declared himself a candidate. But Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, a former vice president who stood against Blatter in May, and Platini are considering runs.

Platini will decide in the next two weeks whether to run for FIFA president in a new election, a source close to the UEFA leadership told AFP on Monday.

Domenico Scala, independent head of FIFA's audit committee, has been drawing up possible reforms to boost confidence in FIFA's tainted image.

These include term limits for the president and other top officials and releasing more information such as the salaries of FIFA leaders.

The executive committee was to discuss whether changes should be pursued straight away or wait until after the election.

Sponsor pressure 

Monday's is only the second executive committee since a raid on a Zurich hotel two days before Blatter's election in which seven officials including Webb were detained.

Webb, who comes from the Cayman islands, was extradited to the United States last week ahead of his court appearance. He denied all the charges and was released on a $10 million (£6.4m, 9.2m euros) bail.

US prosecutors have laid charges against 14 FIFA officials and sports marketing company executives over bribes totalling more than $150 million paid for lucrative marketing contracts.

Brazilian executive committee member Marco Polo del Nero was again missing from the meeting.

Del Nero left Zurich a day after the May 27th raid in which which former Brazilian federation president Jose Maria Marin was among those detained.

Top sponsors, such as Coca Cola and McDonald's, have called for radical changes in the way the multi-billion dollar world body is run after years of scandal and doubts cast on the way the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The US Senate also debated the FIFA scandal last week, highlighting the extent of the world football body's tarnished reputation.

Coca Cola has called for an independent commission chaired by an "eminent" person to undertake reforms.

Fast food giant McDonald's said it has called for FIFA to make "meaningful changes to restore trust and credibility with fans and sponsors alike."

The Transparency International advocacy group has also called for FIFA's reforms to be handled by an independent body.



AFP/The Local 2015/07/20 12:18

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