News 20th July 2015

FIFA to elect new President on 26 February

FIFA will elect a new President to replace Joseph S. Blatter on 26 February, and its six confederations will appoint a neutral Chairman to head a Reforms Task Force designed to present reform proposals to the next FIFA Executive Committee meeting, 24-25 September 2015. Blatter confirmed that he would definitely not be standing for re-election at the 26 February extraordinary Congress. “I will not be a candidate”, he told media in a press conference today. “I cannot be the new President”. However, he will have been in office for nine months by the time of the new election, having announced his intention to step down on 2 June.

FIFA also announced that candidates interested in running for FIFA President can declare their interest from today until 26 October. ‘The Executive Committee decided to call for elections and initiated the electoral period with the formal installation of the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee’, read a FIFA statement. ‘In accordance with the Electoral Regulations, the committee will consist of the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee (Claudio Sulser), the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee (Larry Mussenden) and the chairman of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee (Domenico Scala)’.

At today’s Executive Committee meeting, Scala presented reform topics including centralised integrity checks for Executive Committee members; the introduction of term limits; higher governance standards at all levels of football; and disclosure of individual compensation (i.e. pay). However, despite this, Blatter declined to reveal how much he is paid at the press conference following the meeting.

These reforms will be developed by the 11-person Task Force. It will be composed of two members from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and UEFA; plus one representative from the Latin American confederation (CONMEBOL) and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).

FIFA also said that it would recognise the provisions of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and will make it compulsory for both contractual partners and those within the supply chain to comply with these provisions. However, FIFA did not make it clear whether these principles would apply to existing partners. It has faced criticism over lack of action on allegations of alleged human rights abuses concerning workers employed to build the facilities for the FIFA 2022 World Cup Qatar. FIFA also said that it had ‘elaborated’ its bidding documents using guidance from the United Nations’ strategy for ‘safeguarding against corruption in major public events’.

A post Executive Committee meeting press conference was overshadowed by comedian Simon Brodkin, who declared himself a representative of a fictional North Korean bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He attempted to give Blatter a wad of money, which he threw over Blatter after being led away by security. “We have to clean here first”, said Blatter. “This has nothing to do with football. We will be back in a few minutes.” Brodkin has attempted to gatecrash FIFA press conferences before, but had previously failed.

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