Fifa reforms unveiled but chances of change uncertain

Committee head Domenico Scala made public his eight-point plan on Thursday

A comprehensive and radical set of reforms for world football's corruption-plagued governing body Fifa were unveiled on Thursday but it remains far from clear whether they will even be voted upon.

Domenico Scala, the independent head of Fifa's Audit and Compliance Committee made public his eight-point plan to change the way Fifa is governed in the wake of the May arrests of seven soccer officials and marketing executives in Zurich.

The plan includes 12-year term limits for elected Fifa officials from the president down, full disclosure of the financial compensation of the president, general secretary and executive committee members and more detailed and effective integrity checks on members of committees.

Scala’s proposal also includes replacing the all-powerful executive committee with a governing council, elected by congress, and a management committee to handle the day-to-day affairs of the organisation.

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“The reform process at Fifa is essential to the future of the organisation and it must be guided by broad public discussion of all reform ideas,” said Scala.

“I am pleased to contribute my detailed plan to this process, which must be as comprehensive and transparent as possible to ensure its credibility.”

However the plan faces several obstacles to becoming realised -- the recent creation of a Fifa Reform Committee, headed by former IOC director general Francois Carrard and dominated by the six regional confederations, complicates matters and they could choose to water-down or even ignore Scala's recommendations.

Last week Scala presented his plan to Carrard’s committee but it remains to be seen whether they are included in that body’s final recommendations.

Scala however said he will not keep quiet if that reform committee’s plans do not meet his standards.

“I will make a judgment and I will make the judgment public. I am from time to time very clear in my assessment and I will make my judgment on the outcome of the process,” he told reporters on a conference call.

Swiss businessman Scala presented his plan to Fifa’s executive committee in July but it remains to be seen whether they will include the proposals in the agenda for February’s congress -- the body which ultimately has the final say on any changes.

Scala confirmed he does not have the power to put his plans on the congress agenda but that option is available to any national association.

Scala said he would not, however, be actively looking for a supportive FA to provide such a way to get his proposals voted upon.

“No, I don’t do politics. I do my role which is establishing the diagnosis and the facts,” he said. “The document is public, the member associations have access to it, they are free to do what they want with it.”

Given the tricky political task of asking confederations to vote on plans which may weaken their role in Fifa and an executive committee to back a proposal which would effectively divide it into two, Scala acknowledged that in some ways he is simply setting the benchmark for reforms.

“There is a political reality and there is what is right. My role is to say what is right I have no decision-making power. I am here to advise and to recommend to the organisation,” he said.

Scala said that he considered the term limit to be the most important of his proposals.

“A number of issues have their root cause in the fact that people have stayed for far too long in a number of key positions,” he said.

“(A term limit) has a significant impact over time because it cuts these relationships and dependencies which come with too much time in office.”