FIFA Members Approve Anti-Corruption Reforms, Limit President’s Power

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A worker cleans the stage during a break at the FIFA electoral congress on Friday in Zurich.i

A worker cleans the stage during a break at the FIFA electoral congress on Friday in Zurich.

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images


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Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

A worker cleans the stage during a break at the FIFA electoral congress on Friday in Zurich.

A worker cleans the stage during a break at the FIFA electoral congress on Friday in Zurich.

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Members of FIFA have overwhelmingly voted to approve new anti-corruption reforms as they prepare to elect a new president.

The reforms were approved by 89 percent of the organization at a meeting in Zurich, The Associated Press reports.

The reform package sets term limits for the FIFA president and other officials — three terms of four years — and replaces the existing executive committee with a 36-member FIFA Council, which will include more women. It also separates FIFA’s policy decision-making from its business practices, Reuters reports.

World soccer’s governing body has long faced accusations of corruption, but FIFA’s reputation hit a new low last year when several high-ranking leaders — including FIFA vice presidents — were indicted by the U.S. on charges of bribery, racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

FIFA officials hope the newly passed reforms “will help show U.S. prosecutors the soccer body is serious about changing its culture, and protect its status as a victim in the American investigation,” the AP writes.

The extraordinary congress in Zurich was called by outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who announced last year that he would resign. But Blatter is not in attendance at the congress — he’s been banned from the sport for several years over the bribery scandal.

On Friday the members of FIFA will be electing his successor.

“Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman is favored to win,” NPR’s Tom Goldman said Thursday. “He’s been more dealmaker than reformer, but there’s some taint — allegations, which the sheikh denies, that he was complicit in the torture of Bahraini soccer players who demonstrated against the government during the Arab Spring several years ago. Critics say his victory Friday could mean more of the same.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/26/468227519/fifa-members-approve-anti-corruption-reforms-limit-presidents-power?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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