Fifa: Sepp Blatter successor must 'transcend past', says Scudamore

Richard Scudamore
Richard Scudamore has been Premier League chief executive since 1999

Fifa's next leader should be someone with a corporate background who "transcends the past", Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore says.

A meeting of Fifa Congress, due to be held in December, will select a new president after incumbent Sepp Blatter called for "profound restructuring".

"Quite frankly we need some new names and new thinking," said Scudamore.

"The thing has to change. Everybody's been saying it for some time. Clearly this a seismic shift in the dynamic."

United States and Swiss prosecutors are separately investigating alleged corruption at world football's governing body. Seven Fifa officials were arrested in Switzerland in May and a further seven people indicted.

Blatter, 79, appeared to stand down from his post on 2 June when he said he would "lay down my mandate" but has since stated he "did not resign" and is believed to be considering standing for re-election.

Scudamore, however, wants to see new blood given a chance.

"In some ways it almost needs a corporate, proper businessperson, as opposed to a football politician," he told BBC Sport's Richard Conway. "The problem with football politicians is, it's all about votes. We need someone who can transcend that and is a more unifying candidate.

"It's right that the game is run on a one country, one vote basis, I don't think there's one country that's bigger than any other, despite anybody's history. Therefore you need a unifying candidate that somehow transcends the past."

Two policemen outside Fifa HQ
Fifa is under intense pressure to deliver reform amid two criminal investigations into alleged corruption

Scudamore says he has no plans to run himself to succeed Blatter - and does not believe any English candidate would be right for the role.

"The idea that anybody from England would be suitable for a world-unifying candidate would be very difficult. It's one of the reasons we don't do so well when we bid for World Cups," he said.

"England is seen to have had its day in terms of running world football and probably it needs someone from one of the emerging nations, shall we say, or at least somebody who is independent of what's gone on in the past."

Scudamore was speaking on the day the Premier League published its review of the 2014-15 season, a document that outlines prize payments to clubs, fan demographics, player statistics and grass roots initiatives.

The Premier League review revealed:external-link

  • Champions Chelsea were awarded £99m while bottom side QPR received £64.9m
  • The Premier League achieved 95.9% stadium occupancy
  • 54 "homegrown" players made Premier League debuts
  • The league had a 69% increase in full-time coaches
  • A record 16% of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) population attended Premier League games
  • 26% of people attending matches were female - a record
  • 13.7m seats were sold for Premier League matches
  • For the 2013-14 season, Premier League clubs contributed £2.4bn to the UK Exchequer

Scudamore on distribution of revenue

Chelsea celebrate winning Premier League title
Chelsea's £99m prize money comprised £54.1m from a 20-way share of 50% of total UK broadcast revenue, £24.9m for finishing as champions and £19.9m accumulated from 'facility fees' paid each time one of their matches was shown in the UK

Prize money is awarded using a system dating to the formation of the league in 1992, which last season resulted in a ratio of 1.53:1 between the club finishing top and the club finishing bottom.

"It's essential, which is why Burnley could come up last season and they could beat Manchester City, draw with Manchester City, draw at Chelsea. That's because they've got enough income to compete," said Scudamore.

"Every time they take the field against any team, no matter whether it's the top of the league or whatever, they can compete in that individual match, and that I think stands us out from any every other league.

"The more income everybody has.... it narrows the competitive gap."

On the 'fan experience'

Jamie Vardy of Leicester celebrates in front of fans
40% of people attending matches in 2014-15 were aged 18-34. The average adult fan age is 41

"Occupancy is clearly an important measure, attendance is an important measure. After making sure we have the best players we can on the field, the number one strategic priority is to make sure the stadia are full," said the chief executive.

"Clubs have to work very hard to make sure the stadiums remain full. These are important things must the clubs to strive at, to keep ever increasing those numbers."

On safe standing in the Premier League

Football terrace
Terraces have been outlawed in the English top flight since 1994, the legacy of the Hillsborough disaster five years earlier

Celtic have been granted permission to introduce a safe standing area and could become the first top-flight club in Scotland to do so.

Scudamore said: "It's very hard while the whole Hillsborough issue is still very raw and such an emotive issue, the idea that we're contemplating opening even that small risk I just think is very difficult.

"In many ways it's almost like: 'not on my watch'. Having spent all of my professional working career in football with the shadow of Hillsborough around me, it's just very hard.

"It might seem Luddite, it might seem old-fashioned, but I just find it very hard personally, as the administrator, to even expose myself to the risk of something that is not as safe as what we've got now."

On the prospects for young English players

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Southampton's Matt Targett
Southampton academy product Matt Targett (right) was one of 54 home-grown players to make their Premier League debuts last season

"It's great, and it's why all the investment in the Elite Player Performance Planexternal-link has been so essential," said Scudamore.

"Fifty-four home-grown players, I think 44 that played in the Under-21 league, so all the numbers are going in the right direction.

"There is English talent coming through and they're coming through in ever-increasing numbers. They are technically gifted, physically gifted and also I think, from a holistic education point of view, there's an intelligent group of young players coming through that are more rounded a better-prepared than they've ever been."

On success of the England team at the Women's World Cup

"It's absolutely fantastic," added Scudamore.

"All the clubs have been investing and making big strides in the past couple of years and obviously we're obviously involved at the grass roots and lower levels.

"The whole thing is growing, from the bottom of the base and up through the academy system, and any success at the top level is great."