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FIFA sponsors want independent oversight of reform process

The demand came in an open letter aimed at FIFA’s executive committee ahead of a key meeting to finalize proposed reforms

Published: Updated:

Leading sponsors of the soccer’s world governing body have demanded independent oversight of FIFA’s reform process in an open letter published on Tuesday Dec. 1, ahead of a key meeting to finalize proposed reforms at the scandal-plagued organization.

“Such independent oversight needs to run long-term through the implementation and evolution of the reform process," the sponsors’ letter, published on www.coca-colacompany.com, said.

The companies -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Adidas, The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s Corp and Visa Inc. -- aimed their letter at FIFA’s executive committee, which meets this week.

FIFA’s reform committee chairman Francois Carrard will put its recommendations to the executive committee on Wednesday and Thursday and they will be publicly presented afterwards.

Last month the reform committee published its “preliminary recommendations” which suggested an age limit of 74 for all leading officials, but only mentioned term-limits for the president, who would be restricted to three mandates.

The final list of proposed reforms will be put to FIFA’s 209 member associations at an emergency Congress in February.

FIFA is facing unprecedented pressure to overhaul its governance and improve transparency following the May indictment by U.S. authorities of 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives on corruption-related charges.

The FIFA crisis escalated in October when its president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini, who had been favourite to succeed him, were banned for 90 days by FIFA’s ethics committee pending a full investigation into a two million Swiss francs ($1.95 million) payment from FIFA to Platini in 2011.