THE BLOG

Fifa Reform Must Be Taken Out of Blatter's Hands

19/07/2015 20:06 BST | Updated 19/07/2016 10:59 BST

The agenda for Fifa reform is unanswerable and unavoidable, but Sepp Blatter is still doing all he can to frustrate it. In Zurich on Monday the Executive Committee will be asked to consider reform proposals, none of which get to the heart of the problems that have brought Fifa to its knees.

Blatter's approach to this ongoing crisis shows that he still doesn't accept that the whole organisation and the way it does business is rotten. His reform agenda looks more like a desperate attempt to shift the blame for the crisis away from Fifa's leaders and onto rogue individuals and confederations of football associations in different parts of the world.

The New Fifa Now campaign, of which I am a co-founder, has been calling for an independent third party reform process, to be led by a respected international figure from outside of football. One of Fifa's major sponsors, Coca-Cola, has now come out in support of this, stating that it believes that "establishing this independent commission will be the most credible way for Fifa to approach its reform process and is necessary to build back the trust it has lost."

At the heart of the work of this independent commission should be a number of key reforms that FIFA under Blatter are still not willing or able to address. The first and most important reform should be for financial transparency within Fifa. Money allocated to football development programmes should be publicly declared. We should know who signed it off, where it went and what it was spent on. The $10million payment from the South Africa World Cup fund to Jack Warner in 2010 to support programmes in the Caribbean is a good example of poor governance at the heart of Fifa in Zurich. The payment was secret, allegations have been made that the funds did not reach their intended destination, and Fifa initially denied that its General Secretary Jerome Valcke had any knowledge of it, until a letter was published proving that he did.

Blatter's reform proposals also don't address the need for a body to investigate allegations of corruption that is independent from the Executive Committee and which can publish reports without their approval, so that the truth cannot be suppressed. Fifa's refusal to publish the full findings of the Garcia report into allegations of corruption in the process to award the right to host the World Cup tournaments for 2018 and 2022, shows why this is necessary; as does Michael Garcia's charge that Fifa misrepresented his report in the edited summary that it did share.

Thirdly, Fifa's executive committee members should disclose their income and any relevant commercial interests held by them and close family members. For example, if development money, or a commercial contract is issued by Fifa to an organisation where a senior football official or a close member of their family, has a leading role, then that should have to be declared. Where there have been allegations of corruption in the past, they have often been linked to outside interests like these, and exposing this is part of the cultural change at Fifa that has to occur

Only an independent reform process will allow these kind of necessary reforms to take place, and this must be put in place now.