FIFA's latest reform initiative follows many previous attempts

Reuters| Updated: Jul 22, 2015, 10:01 AM IST
FIFA's latest reform initiative follows many previous attempts

FIFA announced on Monday that it would set up a new task force to propose reforms aimed at cleaning itself up, a move critics said was an inadequate response to a corruption scandal that has created the worst crisis in the 111-year history of soccer`s governing body.

It follows many previous attempts to reform soccer`s global governing body. Here are the main such initiatives FIFA has embarked on in the past nine years: 
September 2006: FIFA sets up an ethics committee for the first time under the leadership of former British athlete Sebastian Coe. 

It is responsible for both investigating and judging cases, although investigations must be approved by FIFA`s secretary general. Coe steps down in February 2009 and is replaced by former Switzerland international player Claudio Sulser.

May 2011: FIFA sets up a Football Task Force to investigate ways of making the 2014 World Cup more entertaining than the 2010 tournament in South Africa, a tournament that was widely criticised for the poor quality of the football. 

It gets off to an inauspicious start when Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton and Pele, three of its most illustrious members, missed its first meeting. 

It is wound up one year later, having made only two proposals, both of which were rejected by football’s law-making body, IFAB. Pele never attends a meeting.

October 2011: FIFA announces the creation of three task forces as part of its bid to clean itself up. They are: the “Task Force Revision of Statutes”, the “Task Force FIFA Ethics Committee”, and the "Task Force Transparency and Compliance”. In addition, an "Independent Governance Committee (IGC)", headed by Swiss academic Mark Piet, is also set up

March 2012: Following a recommendation by the IGC, FIFA announces increased powers for the ethics committee. 

The roles of investigator and judge are to be divided between different officials and the investigator will be given free reign to probe whatever he deems necessary, without having to get approval from the secretary general. 

July 2012: German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert is named as the ethics committee`s chief adjudicator and Michael Garcia, a former U.S. attorney, as chief investigator. 

Garcia subsequently launches an investigation into the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar following allegations in the media that corruption played a part in the decisions.

March 2013: FIFA announces the creation of an anti-racism task force to combat racism and discrimination in the sport. Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, the president of the regional soccer body CONCACAF, is appointed as its chairman.

May 2013: The FIFA Congress in Mauritius approves some measures suggested by the IGC and task forces. Key decisions about age limits and term limits for the FIFA president and executive committee members are deferred for another year. 

May 2014: The FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo rejects term and age limits, paving the way for President Sepp Blatter to run for a fifth term, which he does one year later at the age of 79.

September 2014: Ethics investigator Garcia complains that his report into the World Cup hosting rights for Russia and Qatar will not be published in full. 

November 2014: Eckert publishes a summary of Garcia`s report and says there is not enough evidence to hold a re-vote into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, although a number of the bids featured "problematic conduct" by individuals. 

Garcia publicly criticises the summary and appeals to FIFA about the conclusions reached.

December 2014: Garcia`s appeal is rejected and he resigns. 

May 2015: Anti-racism task force president Webb is among seven soccer officials arrested at their Zurich hotel two days before the FIFA Congress, where Blatter was re-elected. U.S. prosecutors indict 14 officials and company executives with various bribery-related offences.

June 2015: Blatter says he will be standing down as president after 17 years. He says he will use his last few months in office to push for term limits for officials, independent integrity checks and a change in the way in which the executive committee is elected.

July 2015: FIFA announces the creation of a task force, to be made up of members from the regional confederations with a neutral chairman, to propose reforms. A new president will be chosen at an extraordinary congress on Feb. 26.