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Reform activist Collins: FIFA at risk of collapse

Prominent FIFA reform activist Damian Collins believes world football’s governing body is at risk of collapsing in the wake of Sepp Blatter’s suspension.

FIFA president Blatter is the subject of criminal proceedings against him launched by Swiss authorities.

The 79-year-old, along with general secretary Jerome Valcke and UEFA president Michael Platini on Thursday received 90-day bans from football activity, handed down by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee.

Platini’s fellow FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon meanwhile was handed a six-year suspension following a separate internal investigation.

Speaking to Omnisport, British politician Collins, a member of the New FIFA Now pressure group, hailed the removal of Blatter from power but called for further urgent action to be taken.      

“The suspension of Sepp Blatter is an absolutely necessary step in changing FIFA but it is not the end,” he said.

“This is a moment of crisis for FIFA where the magnitude [is such that], if they don’t get this right the whole organisation could collapse. I think it’s that serious.

“We need a third-party reform process now to lead the clean-out of FIFA, the creation of a new organisation. We’ve effectively seen the removal of the senior management of global football. They need to be replaced by an independent panel, leading a proper reform process.

“People have discussed about whether someone like Kofi Annan should do it, involving organisations like Transparency International, who have a strong record in governance reform for sporting organisations.” 

The English Football Association have confirmed Platini’s FIFA presidential candidacy retains their support until the investigation into Blatter, which the Frenchman is connected to, has run its course.

A new president is due to be elected at a FIFA congress in February, but Collins called for that process to be indefinitely halted.  

“I think we should suspend the presidential elections now,” he said.

“I think it’s very difficult for Platini to be a presidential candidate now until he can completely set the record straight about why he received these payments from Sepp Blatter that seem so irregular.” 

Collins also took aim at the appointment of Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou as Blatter’s temporary replacement.

“Issa Hayatou is completely unequipped to be the interim president of FIFA,” he said.

“He was sanctioned by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) relating to a former FIFA bribery case. There have been allegations made against him by whistle blowers linked to the scandal of whether people sold their votes.

“He’s been at FIFA for many years now and is very closely linked to the Blatter regime. I think he is completely the wrong person.”

Thu 8 Oct, 2015
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