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Interim Fifa boss had salary incentive to push through reform

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 00:27

[LONDON] The African soccer official who stepped in as Fifa president following Joseph "Sepp" Blatter's ouster had a six-figure incentive to push through sweeping organizational reforms.

When Cameroon's Issa Hayatou became the temporary leader of global soccer's governing body in early October, half of his salary was made contingent on the success of the good-governance package approved by an overwhelming majority of the group's members last week, according to a person with knowledge of the compensation agreement. The person, who asked for anonymity because Hayatou's pay is not public, said the amount was a significant part of his salary.

A spokesman for Fifa's compensation committee didn't respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment. Through a spokesman for the Confederation of African Football, Hayatou referred all inquiries to Fifa.

A longtime ally of Blatter with his own checkered past, Hayatou had emerged as an unlikely champion of the reforms, which include term limits for senior officials, pay disclosures, centralized integrity checks and a complete overhaul of Fifa's discredited executive committee. Even 24 hours before the membership voted on the measures, the 69-year-old official delivered several speeches urging members to push through the biggest changes in Fifa governance since it was established more than a century ago.

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"I urge each of you to support the reforms in full here this week, and then to implement them to their entirety at home," Hayatou said in a speech he repeated to officials from soccer's six global confederations last Thursday.

He told Fifa members that term limits were important to prevent the consolidation of power that has led to many of the problems at the Zurich-based group.

Hayatou has been part of the Fifa establishment since 1988, when he became the head of the African soccer federation. The International Olympic Committee reprimanded him in 2011 for receiving improper payments from Fifa's then-marketing partner. London's Sunday Times has also reported that Hayatou sought payments before the controversial decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, claims he denies.

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