BERNE, (Reuters) – FIFA’s annual Congress is to be presented with a proposal limiting mandates for its president and officials and barring election for anyone over the age of 72, according to the agenda released yesterday.
The suggestion, which is unlikely to be voted on this time around, is part of a long-term process aimed at cleaning up soccer’s corruption-plagued governing body and making it more transparent.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is currently in his fourth term, having been re-elected unopposed last year at the age of 75. The Congress in Budapest on May 24-25 will also be presented with a code of conduct which specifically tells members: “”We reject and condemn all forms of bribery and corruption.”
FIFA’s Congress will this year be asked to vote on a number of changes to the statues which include strengthening the ethics committee by splitting it into two sections, one part for investigating cases and the other for judging them.
It will also vote on a suggestion to increase FIFA’s executive committee from 24 to 25 members with the extra place being reserved for a representative of women’s football, who must be female.
However, the more drastic measures have been reserved for a draft version of the statutes which will be presented and discussed but not voted on. These include restricting the FIFA president to two four-year mandates and the executive committee members to three four-year mandates.“Persons may only be elected, re-elected, seconded, nominated, engaged, confirmed or appointed as president, a member of the Executive Committee, a member of a standing committee…..until the age of 72,” said the proposal.“(They) shall meet this requirement at the time of the election, re-election, secondment, nomination, engagement, confirmation or appointment.”
Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz is the oldest member of FIFA’s executive committee at 83 while senior vice-president Julio Grondona, aged 80, has been on the committee since 1988. The draft also proposes background checks for potential FIFA officials from a newly-created nomination committee.
“Any persons who hold or seek to hold an official FIFA position which requires election or confirmation by the Congress shall be subjected to a prior, in-depth integrity check by the Nomination Committee,” it said.