ZURICH, December 4. /TASS/. The February congress of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) will approve a package of changes proposed by the organization’s reform committee, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who runs for FIFA presidency, told TASS on Friday.
The FIFA executive committee on Thursday approved proposals to reform the world’s ruling football body, including limiting the term FIFA president can serve to 12 years, replacing the 25-member executive committee with a 36-member council and cutting the number of FIFA committees from 26 to nine.
"The representation of the confederations yesterday shows that everybody supported the recommendations and it’s good to show that we are moving ahead," said Sheikh Salman who heads the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
He said the intention to carry out reforms highlighted "the seriousness of FIFA", adding that it would be "a long process."
"Reforms cannot have a timeframe," he said.
Sheikh Salman, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), announced his plans to present his program within the next two weeks and said the program would be published online and would be sent to national associations.
He said the program will cover "all the things that we are concerned about - on how the organization is, how you can retain its image, how it’s going to work, who are the people to be involved, the structure, the staff, etc."
Sheikh Salman also said FIFA should pursue "an open policy" regarding its reforms.
"Whoever has a positive input into how things should be done - the professional leagues, the clubs, the players, the fans - all these people have to have a say," he said. "This is not just for the good of the organization but for the good of the game. We always support such initiatives from anyone."
"This is one of my manifestos to get all these people involved," he added.
Other official candidates registered for the election of the FIFA president are UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino; FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein; South Africa’s former Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale and former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne.
Timing for new FIFA arrests not right
The timing of arrests of top FIFA officials, which occur ahead major events of the world’s ruling football body, is not right, Sheikh Salman said.
On Thursday morning Swiss police arrested a number of FIFA officials hours before the meeting of the organization’s executive committee. Among them were the committee’s members, CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) President Alfred Hawit and CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) chief Juan Angel Napout.
"It’s bad that you hear stories like this when you want to bring out the good news of reforms," said Sheikh Salman, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
"They [those arrested] are under investigation but we still don’t know exactly what the story," he said. "I feel the timing is not right"
"We have to focus on the good news and the good news is the reform recommendation which I think is very positive," he added.
Sheikh Salman said the executive committee’s meeting was not affected by the arrests.
"The meeting went as it should and we stayed focused on doing our job and we will continue to do so," he said.
He could not answer the question whether more arrests would follow.
"It’s difficult to say because it’s something that is not under the FIFA, something that happened within a confederation. Only the confederations and their members can answer that," Sheikh Salman said. "I don’t think there was any wrongdoing from FIFA itself.".