Zurich: CONCACAF, which represents soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, has backed a proposal to limit the FIFA presidency to two four-year terms and to impose an age limit of 72 for the president. CONCACAF, whose 40 member associations compromise just under one fifth of the FIFA total of 209, also supported the same age limit for FIFA executive committee candidates, who would be limited to three four-year terms under the proposed reform.
World soccer's governing body is due to discuss and vote on proposed changes at its congress in Mauritius in May in a bid to make itself more transparent and accountable following string of corruption scandals in recent years. Three members of FIFA's 24-man executive committee were sanctioned for corruption, including former presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, who was banned for life, and another two resigned amid allegations of wrongdoing.
The reform proposals have been put forward by an independent governance committee (IGC) headed by Mark Pieth, a professor in criminal law at the independent Basel Institute on Governance. Each of the 209 member associations holds one vote.
"After more than a century since FIFA's inception, the global landscape of our game has clearly changed," said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb in a statement. "It is gratifying to see we are finally accompanying this profound renovation of the world of football. We thank FIFA's independent governance committee for this timely initiative of reform and express our pride to our member associations for their commitment to supporting this transformation."
The FIFA president currently serves an unlimited number of four-year terms with 76-year-old Sepp Blatter, the incumbent, currently serving his fourth term. There is also no term limits for the executive committee, where Argentina's Julio Grondona has been present since 1988 and Cameroon's Issa Hayatou since 1990.
European soccer's governing body UEFA, which has 53 members, had opposed the eight-year limit for the FIFA president, instead suggesting a first term of eight years followed by a second of four. The IGC has recently criticised the European associations for "attempting to dilute the thrust of the reform".