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Fifa reforms could make situation worse: players' union

[ZURICH] Proposed reforms to soccer's scandal-plagued governing body Fifa would leave power still in the hands of national associations and conferderations, shutting out players, fans and clubs, the world players' union said on Wednesday. "Football's monopolistic structure will be further entrenched under the proposed, so-called reforms," FIFPro said in a statement.

Fifa is in the throes of a huge graft scandal, with criminal investigations underway in the United States and Switzerland.

Forty-one individuals, many of them national association presidents, and entities have been indicted in the United States and Fifa's own ethics committee has banned leading officials including its president, Sepp Blatter, barred for eight years.

An extraordinary Fifa Congress on Feb 26 will elect a new president and be asked to vote on reforms aimed at preventing further scandals.

FIFPro, which represents more than 60,000 professional footballers worldwide, said the reforms failed to give players, fans and clubs the voice they deserved in the running of Fifa. "There will be even more power in the hands of the confederations and national member associations of Fifa who have been the source of corruption and the worst crisis in Fifa's history.

An overhaul was urgently needed "otherwise, we're faced with a potentially worse scenario than before," it said.

Among other things, the amendments seek to separate policy and management positions, with a 36-member Fifa council replacing the 25-member executive committee.

FIFPro also criticised some of the promises which have been made to Fifa's 209 member national football associations during the electoral campaign. "It's alarming that these very same organisations are set to be rewarded with more Fifa grants, more World Cup spots, and more places on the Fifa executive committee," FIFPro said.

The five presidential candidates are Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa; former Fifa deputy general secretary Jerome Champagne of France; South African businessman and politician Tokyo Sexwale; Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan; and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.