After Scandal, New FIFA Leader Pledges to “Bring Football Back”
Moving past a scandal in which its entire leadership was under scrutiny for wrongdoing, soccer's governing organization passed a series of reforms last week to fight corruption and voted in a new president to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter.
What’s next for FIFA, following the scandal-ridden Sepp Blatter era?
A lot of organizational reform, that’s what. Last week, in addition to electing Gianni Infantino as Blatter’s replacement, soccer’s international governing body passed a set of reforms to improve governance of the sport and boost FIFA’s integrity and transparency.
Those reforms include steps designed to prevent a situation similar to the scandal that rocked FIFA last year, including:
- term limits for leadership roles
- a reduction in the number of standing committees
- disclosure of salaries paid to FIFA leadership
- installation of integrity checks for committee members
- separation of political and managerial functions, including establishment of a general secretariat that will run the organization’s day-to-day operations
- a diversity pledge that aims to increase the number of women in FIFA’s leadership structure
Issa Hayatou, who was named acting president of FIFA following Blatter’s suspension amid a criminal investigation in October 2015, emphasized that these steps would help the organization move into a new era. For one thing, any future presidents won’t stay on nearly as long as Blatter did.
“This will create a system of stronger governance and greater diversity that will give football a strong foundation on which to thrive. And it will deter future wrongdoing,” Hayatou said, according to the BBC.
Infantino, the former general secretary of the Union of European Football Associations, says he plans to work to bring integrity back to the FIFA organization.
“I will work tirelessly to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football. This is what we have to do,” Infantino said, according to Reuters. “I am feeling a lot of emotion and have not fully realized yet what has happened today. It is still very fresh and it’s been a long and exciting journey, and I probably need some time to chill out and see what has happened.”
Newly elected FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Ruben Sprich/Reuters)