(WFI) FIFA reforms chief Francois Carrard says he trusts Gianni Infantino to bring much-needed changes to restore the governing body’s scandal-scarred credibility.
FIFA’s 209 member associations approved wide-ranging reforms at last month’s congress designed to revitalize the fortunes of the federation’s battered reputation.
Following his Feb. 26 election, Infantino is charged with implementing a raft of reforms including term limits of three terms of four years for the FIFA president and ExCo officials, separating the political and managerial functions of FIFA with the formation of a 36-member council, and publishing salaries.
Carrard, the former IOC director general appointed to head up the new FIFA reforms process last summer, said Infantino had been “a very proactive member of the reforms committee since the beginning”.
The new FIFA chief was one of the 12 members of the reforms commission, which also included ExCo member Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.
“For FIFA it’s a wonderful opportunity that a man who has himself been a proactive part of the reforms process is president,” Carrard said.
“Now it is up to him. The crisis is not over, the crisis has provided the opportunity. It’s the beginning of a new period and hopefully a new era.”
Carrard said the reforms gave Infantino and the new administration he is shaping “a solid platform to build”.
He said the former UEFA general secretary’s experience at the European football body would stand him in good stead to deliver reforms.
“He is a man of action,” Carrard said. “What he has achieved already… campaigning, visiting the world. He is a doer, he’s not a talker. I think he can deliver a lot even in three years – but it’s a big challenge.”
“It’s a huge task for an organisation which is global. The culture has to change,” he said of FIFA’s turbulent 12 months during which more than 40 individuals and entities have been indicted in the U.S. Corruption charges include bribery, money laundering and racketeering.
Asked if serving out Sepp Blatter’s mandate would give the new FIFA chief enough time to deliver reforms and restore the federation’s credibility, he said Infantino was better positioned than his vanquished FIFA candidates to make a difference.
“He is in an insider of the reforms,” the FIFA reforms committee chair said.
“He is keen and he knows how to manage football and how to lead an organization. He is strong and independent enough. I am convinced he will be.”
Carrard said Infantino showed in his contributions to the FIFA reforms panel that now-disgraced Michel Platini, banned for receiving an illegal payment from Blatter, would not cast a shadow over the Swiss lawyer’s FIFA leadership.
“Not at all,” he told INSIDER, saying that Infantino displayed all his “professional qualities” in working for the committee.
“There was nobody over him. Within the reform committee he was one of the leaders.”
One of the main priorities ahead for the new FIFA chief is to appoint a new secretary general to replace Jerome Valcke, who was banned from football for 12 years. Infantino is holding meetings with staff at FIFA headquarters this week and next to work out the next steps towards implementation of the reforms program.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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