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François Carrard FIFA reform head promises concrete proposals in Bern

François Carrard heads a reform working group hand-picked by FIFA’s six continental confederations 

(Keystone)

The Swiss lawyer whose panel is in charge of reforming world football's crisis-hit governing body says it will be ready at its next meeting in Bern to consider "a tangible framework" for the path ahead.

"By October I think we will be discussing the first draft documents of reform," François Carrard told a news conference on Thursday at the Bellevue Hotel next to the Swiss parliament.

Carrard's panel began its work this week trying to help FIFA restore credibility by ensuring its operations will no longer be tainted by corruption.

Carrard, a former International Olympic Committee director general, was chairing a group of 12 football officials and lawyers meeting for two days. The group was hand-picked by FIFA’s six continental confederations.

Swiss pressure?

Asked by swissinfo.ch whether more pressure from the Swiss government on FIFA to reform would be helpful or a hindrance, he said his panel has felt no pressure and felt "brave" enough to meet next door to the seat of government.

But he outlined no actual proposals that are currently on the table, saying "we are not at the stage of the proposal".

The next meeting of the so-called 2016 FIFA Reform Committee is scheduled for October 16-18 in Bern.

Earlier this week FIFA President Sepp Blatter delivered an opening address to mark the beginning of a reform process that he promised in June when announced his surprise resignation plans.

That announcement came days after his re-election to a fifth term as president, reflecting the pressure that FIFA is under from US and Swiss criminal investigations into senior football officials.

One of the panel members. FIFA audit monitor Domenico Scala, has suggested restructuring the 27-member executive committee and setting term limits on senior FIFA officials.

After the panel compiles its proposals, they are to be sent to an advisory board and Blatter's executive committee, FIFA’s 209 member federations will be asked to vote on a reform package on February 26 at a congress in Zurich where Blatter’s successor also will be chosen.

Criminal investigations

Despite the promises of change, FIFA's internally led reform process still does not match the independent overhaul called for by some World Cup sponsors, notably Visa, and outside experts.

And Carrard's standing has come under fire for remarks he made to Swiss paper Le Matin last month suggesting criticism of Blatter is unfair and the corruption investigations involve only a few "rogue" individuals. He also described US football as "an ethnic sport for girls in schools".

But on Thursday he touted his affection and respect for the United States, from having lived there earlier in life.

Federal prosecutors from the United States and Switzerland heading investigations of corruption in international football are due to meet in Zurich later this month and hold a joint news conference.

US attorney general Loretta Lynch and her Swiss counterpart Michael Lauber will hold a joint press conference on September 14, to explain “the status of the two criminal proceedings”. Lynch is visiting Zurich for an annual four-day International Association of Prosecutors event, which is being hosted this year by Lauber's department.  

swissinfo.ch

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