FIFA Executive to Meet as Sponsors Urge Reforms

The executive committee of football's crisis-hit world governing body FIFA was to begin meeting in Zurich on Wednesday ahead of a February congress to elect a successor to suspended president Joseph Blatter.

The committee is set to decide on governance reforms to go to the congress in Zurich on Feb. 26.

Ahead of the meeting, FIFA's leading sponsors urged the body to enact sweeping reforms under independent oversight.

In a joint open letter addressed to FIFA, sponsors AB InBev, adidas, The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald's and Visa called on FIFA's executive committee to adopt reforms leading towards `a cultural change’ and `a credible future’ for FIFA.

``We are aware of the positive work that the Reform Committee has been doing on governance reform, but we still believe any reforms should be subject to independent oversight,’’ it said.

``It has also become clear to us that such independent oversight needs to run long-term through the implementation and evolution of the reform process.

``We encourage you to become champions of this independent oversight as it will only enhance FIFA's credibility.

``Again, we want to stress that we are calling on you to embrace change, implement reforms, endorse a long-term independent oversight approach and initiate the cultural change because we all want to see football thrive.’’

The executive committee meets for two days to discuss proposed reforms and receive a report from reform committee chairman Francois Carrard.

Carrard has already proposed wide-ranging changes in governance in the wake of various corruption affairs which have dogged FIFA this year.

They include an age limit of 74 for executives, limiting presidential tenures to a maximum 12 years and publishing the annual compensation for top officials.

In addition, the executive committee could lose its wide-range powers in a major change of its role.

All proposals must be ratified at the FIFA extraordinary congress in Feb. 26 when a successor to Blatter will be elected.

The executive committee will also be given an update into Swiss and U.S., investigations into FIFA corruption and receive a report on finances from interim president Issa Hayatou.

Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini are serving 90-day suspensions from football and are the subject of formal proceedings by the adjudicatory chamber of the ruling body's ethics committee.

They are being investigated after Blatter approved a `disloyal payment’ of 2 million Swiss francs (dollars) to Platini in 2011, for work done between 1998 and 2002. Both have denied wrongdoing.