Whoever takes control of FIFA will need to deal with longstanding questions about the organization’s transparency and independence, according to a global anti-corruption body.
“The election process itself has been non-transparent and, in a sense, indicates the type of reforms FIFA has to take on - and that will be part of the reform process,” Transparency International’s Gareth Sweeney exclusively told DW this morning.
“But the fact that we didn’t have public debates, that we didn’t have clarity on eligibility criteria for the candidates and so forth has limited, in a sense, public trust in the candidates and what they would actually do to reform FIFA.”
FIFA passed a wide range of reforms on Friday ahead of the Presidential elections and although he acknowledged elements of these reforms, Sweeney said there was still much work to be done.
“What’s missing, and what the reform package does not yet address, is what we mean – or what FIFA means – by independence. How independent will these individuals be? And precisely what are the eligibility checks these individuals will have to go through in order to sit on FIFA’s committees? This has been a recommendation from Transparency International from the outset.”
The messy end of disgraced former President Sepp Blatter has meant whoever takes the job now will be stripped of some executive powers but Sweeney thinks the new man will have a significant role to play.
“The role of the President is less important but nonetheless I think symbolically, in terms of restoring public trust, it’s important that the President sets forth his agenda for reform very clearly from the outset,” he said.
The vote for the next FIFA president will take place on Friday afternoon in Zurich, Switzerland. Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa and Gianni Infantino, from Switzerland, are the frontrunners to succeed Blatter.