British MP wants 'new FIFA'

FIFA (File)
FIFA (File)

London - The time has come for a "new FIFA" following years of scandal and corruption, say campaigners who are meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels later this month to discuss how to make it happen.

The summit on Jan. 21 has been organised by British Member of Parliament Damian Collins, a long-time critic of the way soccer's world governing body has been run.

Delegates will include FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the head of the technical inspection team for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, and the former chairman of the England FA, David Triesman.

The announcement comes three days after FIFA executive committee member and Asia vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan declared his intention to run as a reformist candidate against incumbent Sepp Blatter, the 78-year-old Swiss who has been FIFA president for the last 17 years.

"People have had enough," said Collins, the Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe and a member of parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

"I speak to amateur and professional players, fans, and mums and dads whose children play and love the game. It has reached the stage where FIFA is a laughing stock. We all love the game. But we all detest how it's run."

Collins says the Brussels meeting will be a first step to "making a new FIFA a reality", adding, "It's also the first of its kind where politicians, players, fans and corporations will come together in a campaign for change."

Other European politicians and football personalities will be at the summit, Collins says.

"We don't intend to talk about what is wrong with FIFA, as we all know what's wrong," he said.

"The experience since the Presidential election in 2011, when we were promised things would change, shows that FIFA is incapable of reforming itself. But we also know that FIFA's problems go much further back than that."

Collins says the recent events concerning the Garcia report into the conduct of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Bids was the final motivation needed for him and others to take action.

"Like the decisions surrounding Russia and Qatar, the farce surrounding the Garcia report is symptomatic of a governing body where democracy, transparency and accountability were long ago forsaken in place of corruption, mismanagement and self-interest."

Michael Garcia, FIFA's chief ethics investigator who spent 18 months compiling a report into the controversial World Cup bidding processes quit his post last month, with a withering attack on FIFA's culture and practices, claiming "a lack of leadership" in the organisation.

Collins continued: "We want to see football governed by people who make decisions and take action in a transparent manner, and who are held accountable in the best interests of the sport and civil society."

No-one at FIFA was immediately available to comment.

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