Campaign groups welcome VISA's call for independent FIFA reform
24 July 2015
Campaign groups advocating for independent FIFA reform have welcomed the news from another FIFA sponsor, VISA calling for an independent, third party commission to be responsible for reforming FIFA.
VISA joins The Coca-Cola Company which wrote to FIFA 11 days ago seeking an independent reform commission led by an eminent person.
VISA's CEO, Charles Scharf, told reporters that FIFA's responses to the scandal engulfing the organsiation are "wholly inadequate and continue to show its lack of awareness of the seriousness of the changes which are needed."
With US authorities beginning extradition proceedings for several of the 14 football and business identities already accused of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering, Bolivian prosecutors have launched investigations into four football officials. The US is also stepping up investigations into the role of several major banks.
Transparency International (TI), #NewFIFANow and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) have all applauded VISA for their stance.
"Coca Cola and Visa have rightly recognised the depth of the corruption crisis facing FIFA," said TI's Director of Communications and Public Outreach, Neil Martinson.
"The other sponsors need to step up and speak out and join with the millions of supporters outraged by the complacency of those running FIFA. Only an independent reform commission can make the changes needed," Mr Martinson said.
Co-Founder of #NewFIFANow Jaimie Fuller said that, just like many people around the world, Coca-Cola and VISA would have had a strong sense of deja-vu around the reform process outlined by FIFA President Sepp Blatter earlier this week.
#NewFIFANow was the first group to call for an independent, time-limited FIFA Reform Commission.
"The concept of an internally-driven taskforce headed by so-called independent chairman has been tried and failed before," Mr Fuller said.
"Far-reaching reforms are needed at FIFA and this will not be achieved by a committee that is representing football's confederations, some of which are also implicated in the corruption issues under investigation."
Mr Fuller also believes that FIFA's proposed chairman, Domenico Scala, is not independent.
"Mr Scala was hand-picked by Sepp Blatter to take up a role with FIFA in the first place. That reason alone is enough to reject him as 'independent'.
"But more to the point are his other roles. The fact that he's even suggested, and being seriously considered by FIFA's confederations, shows that football officials are more interested in preserving as much of the status quo as possible to maintain their sinecures, rather than doing the right thing by their sport."
Scala has been Chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee of FIFA for more than two years, is chair of the ad-hoc electoral committee handling the Presidential vote next February and has been by Blatter's side working on reform measures since June.
The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow, said that only an independent FIFA Reform Commission headed by an eminent person will give football the governing body it deserves.
"This is about giving football the best possible model for governance, and making sure that FIFA is a fit and proper body which meets its responsibilities including on the violations of workers and other human rights. FIFA's refusal to make these rights a condition of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup shows that it is out of touch with reality.
"Sepp Blatter's announcement on Monday is nothing less than a farce.
"If the football world truly wants what's best for football, what we're proposing is a 'no brainer'.
"I am delighted that now both Coca-Cola and VISA agree with this approach along with the European Parliament," said Ms Burrow.
TI, #NewFIFANow and the ITUC believe that FIFA needs to take a step back from the mess it's in and let the world's experts fix FIFA, and restore trust and confidence for all stakeholders.
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