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FIFA Extraordinary Congress approves landmark reforms

February 26, 17:20 UTC+3 ZURICH
Among the important reformations is the introduction of the Council and the General Secretariat in place of former FIFA Executive Committee
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ZURICH, February 26. /TASS/. The 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress in Switzerland’s Zurich made a good start on Friday with the majority of the organization’s member associations voting in favor of new reformations to the world’s governing body of football.

FIFA member associations convened in Zurich on Friday for its extraordinary Congress with the main aim of electing the organization’s new president and vote on the landmark reformations to the organization.

"FIFA’s member associations have today approved a package of landmark reforms that pave the way for significant improvements to the governance of global football, including a clear separation of commercial and political decision-making, greater scrutiny of senior officials, and commitments to promoting women in football and human rights," FIFA said in its statement.

Among the important reformations today was the introduction of the Council and the General Secretariat in place of former FIFA Executive Committee. The move is aimed to provide a clear separation of "political" and management functions.

The FIFA Council (replacing the FIFA Executive Committee) will be responsible for setting the organization’s overall strategic direction, while the general secretariat will oversee the operational and commercial actions required to effectively execute that strategy.

The members of the Council will be elected by the member associations of the respective region under FIFA’s electoral regulations, with a FIFA Review Committee to conduct comprehensive and enhanced integrity checks.

"The reforms were supported by 179 of the 207 member associations present and eligible to vote at the Extraordinary Congress in Zurich," the statement from FIFA on Friday said adding that "the Congress will also elect a new FIFA President."

Addressing the world’s football executives as the Extraordinary Congress kicked off in Zurich on Friday morning, FIFA’s acting President Issa Hayatou said: "We will establish a more transparent, robust and responsible FIFA that people everywhere can respect again."

"I am confident that the new president will make it his top priority to ensure we all take the necessary steps to rebuild FIFA," Hayatou added commenting on the presidential voting later in the day.

The five currently running candidates for the post of the FIFA presidency are: South Africa’s ex-Minister of Housing Construction Tokyo Sexwale, UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino, FIFA Vice President and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, former-FIFA Secretary General Jerome Champagne and President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

The voting procedure to determine the new president is enshrined by FIFA regulations and is as follows: "For the election of the FIFA President, two-thirds of the votes of the FIFA members present and eligible to vote are necessary in the first ballot. In the second and any other requisite ballot, a simple majority (more than 50%) of the valid votes cast is sufficient."

"If there are more than two candidates for the office of FIFA President, whoever obtains the lowest number of votes is eliminated as from the second ballot until only two candidates are left… If there is only one candidate, a simple majority (more than 50%) of the he valid votes cast is sufficient in the first ballot."

A chain of corruption scandals rocked FIFA throughout last year. Everything flared up with an unprecedented scandal on the morning of May 27, 2015, one day before the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, where seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges.

Currently suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote.

However, addressing a news conference in Zurich on June 2, Blatter said he decided to lay down his mandate at FIFA extraordinary elective Congress. FIFA announced in July that the election of the new president would be held on February 26, 2016.

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