MPs make plea to FA over Fifa 'sham' reform fears

 

British MPs are urging the English, Scottish and Welsh Football Associations to help stop the internal reform of Fifa from becoming a "sham".

A leading member of Fifa's Independent Governance Committee (IGC), Alexandra Wrage, said the reform process had been "neutered" after several measures were rejected by the world governing body.

These measures included toughening up the process for deciding how future World Cups are awarded and disclosing how much Fifa president Sepp Blatter and other leading executives are paid.

Following Wrage's complaints, representatives from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have requested that the English, Scottish and Welsh FAs ensure some of the IGC's rejected proposals are discussed at Fifa's annual congress in May.

The deadline for national associations to add items to the agenda for the annual congress - where governance proposals are debated and voted on by all 209 member countries - is Saturday, 30 March.

Damian Collins and Alun Cairns (Conservative), Jim Sheridan (Labour) and Adrian Sanders (Liberal Democrats) are the MPs who have made the requests. They have been joined by Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin.

What the MPs want:

• Independent checks which address credible allegations, not just convictions, against all Fifa officials.

• Independent observers to observe Fifa executive committee meetings.

• Transparency for compensation and benefits, and the establishment of an committee to audit this.

• Re-design the bidding and decision process for World Cup host decisions, as well as for development projects and marketing and procurement activities.

In a letter to David Bernstein, the chairman of the English FA, Collins says he is "greatly concerned" that the IGC's recommendations do not look like being discussed at congress.

He urges Bernstein, who is due to stand down from the FA later this year, to follow up the "courageous stand" he took in 2011 when he spoke out against the unopposed re-election of Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

In his letter to FA chairman, Collins writes: "This was supposed to be the moment when Fifa embraced the need for greater transparency in its financial affairs and key decision-making processes.

"Instead the impression has been created that Sepp Blatter and the Fifa executive committee have no serious commitment to reform, and that the whole process has been a sham.

"According to Fifa statutes, any member may make a request for an item to be included on the agenda for the Congress, and I would like to ask if the FA would submit a proposal for the four key recommendations for reform recently presented by the Independent Governance Committee to be debated and voted on."

The letter says there should be "greater independent scrutiny of the work of the executive committee" and in particular of the decision on where should host World Cups.

In addition, it say members of the executive committee should disclose their salary and benefits, as well as declaring other financial interests.

Collins adds: "These issues are of real concern to football fans around the world. To many the Fifa executive committee look like a group of hard-faced men who have done very well out of football."