Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has insisted he does not want to be a Sepp Blatter-style executive president if he wins the FIFA leadership election in Zurich on February 26.
Blatter was general secretary and chief executive of the world football federation before moving up as president in 1998 and continued to devote himself to the task on a 24/7 basis.
However Sheikh Salman, the Bahraini president of the Asian Football Confederation, has said in launching his manifesto website that he wants to drive FIFA into a clean new era without personally micro-managing the organisation.
Reform proposals being put before next month’s congress would lead to the replacement of the current executive committee with a FIFA Council whose emphasis would be on strategy rather than administration.
He says: “My primary objective is to reform, restructure and reorganise FIFA top-down, to once again become what its founders set it out to be: a service organisation of the highest moral and ethical standards, solely and exclusively dedicated to our sport and determined to deliver professionally sound development.”
This would involve more opportunities for minorities, a greater focus on women’s football while “welcoming constructive criticism.”
Sheikh Salman described FIFA as a ‘Phoenix project’ in its need to rise from the ashes of corruption.
To that end he would “refocus FIFA’s football objectives to the areas that matter most: solid development based on actual and individual need, realignment of all member associations by delivering models of management and accountability, and implementation of strict ethical and business guidelines.”
He added: “I shall be a non-executive president who supervises a new top class management team but leads by example and not by micro-managing every aspect of the organisation.”
His personal strategy would also involve separating more clearly the operational aspects of FIFA’s work.
He says: “To reach the goal of becoming a model organisation, FIFA must separate commercial from regulatory activities by restructuring itself into Football FIFA, that runs and governs football professionally, and Business FIFA, that deals with commerce, marketing contracts and income generation.
“This would simultaneously improve both FIFA’s governance and its finances.
“The Football FIFA is what FIFA is or should be today: it delivers huge events, governs and develops the global game, sets standards, supervises proper conduct by all, delivers quality services to its members and is the custodian for the game we all love.
“The Business FIFA will be a commercial, independent body of savvy marketing and rights professionals.
“They will have the function to optimise Business FIFA’s income, to ensure that the game is well financed so that we can increase our contributions to our associations and stakeholders, whilst ensuring FIFA’s TV partners and sponsors also promote and develop local football.
“Only by strictly separating the generation of funds and supervising the flow of all monies spent can we guarantee the rebirth of a new FIFA that is accountable and is a good corporate citizen that deserves everybody’s respect.”
** Other FIFA election candidates are Prince Ali bin Al Hussein (Jordan), Jerome Champagne (France), Gianni Infantino (Switzerland) and Tokyo Sexwale (South Africa).