Election must signal a new era for FIFA, say Conservative MEPs

26-Feb-2016 @ 1:0

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Conservative MEPs say FIFA's new president Gianni Infantino will be judged on his ability to implement deep seated reform.

Emma McClarkin is a member of the New FIFA Now reform group and organised a recent FIFA Presidential conference in the European Parliament. She argued that the most important part of yesterday's FIFA Congress in Zurich came before the election when the national associations voted through a package of reforms.

"Today is not about Gianni Infantino taking over from Sepp Blatter, it is about the fact he will be implementing the reforms voted through this morning, which should only be the beginning of fundamental change in FIFA," said the East Midlands MEP.

"We have seen some sensible proposals, such as the separation of the business and political operations of FIFA to avoid conflicts of interest, term limits, the publication of executive salaries and eligibility checks. While I welcome these, I am sceptical that any of the candidates were the right man for the job, having been inextricably linked to FIFA for years.

"What we need is an independent body of governance experts who can oversee the re-structuring of FIFA to ensure that it is done correctly, not only implementing the proposals put forward this morning but continuing the much needed reform process.

"FIFA has to be democratic, accountable and transparent. The reforms supported today are the minimum needed for achieving this goal. Let us not kid ourselves that today is a watershed moment, it is just the beginning."

Her colleague Daniel Dalton, the West Midlands Conservative MEP who co-authored a European Parliament resolution calling for reform of FIFA last summer, said FIFA must grasp the opportunity to restore football's reputation.

"Structural reform of FIFA is essential so that grassroots football and the game's fans are allowed a chance to have their say on the decisions that affect them," he said.

"FIFA now has a golden opportunity to put its house in order and this vote needs to signal an end to its old ways."

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