Any future president of FIFA should serve only a maximum of three four-year terms, according to Domenico Scala, the Swiss businessman trying to resolve the structural failings which contributed to the world football federation’s current crisis.
Scala, who headed dental corporation Nobel Biocare, is chairman of the audit and compliance and probably the one senior figure around FIFA who can be considered truly independent.
He has never hidden his concerns that the full breadth of the reforms proposed by Basel governance guru Mark Pieth were not carried through. Term limits for the president and members of the executive committee are central, according to Scala, if FIFA is to rebuild.
In an interview the Swiss newspaper Blick he said he had been phoned last Tuesday at 2pm by FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke, saying: “The president wants to see you now.”
Scala, 50, said: “This was the first time that Sepp Blatter had called me. It was obviously urgent.”
An hour later Scala was in Zurich where Blatter told him in a private meeting about the resignation which would shock world football. “Now,” Scala told him, “it’s time to try to put everything right.”
This includes term limits and even the possibility of open voting in congress for the World Cup host from 2026 so that, according to Scala, “everyone can see who has voted for whom.”
The significance of term limits cannot be understated.
Scala said: “FIFA allows people to stay in position permanently. This leads to patronage and, ultimately corruption. For example, three terms of four years, a maximum of 12 years, is enough for a FIFA president.”
Since the fall-out from the Salt Lake City scandal, the president of the International Olympic Committee can serve a maximum of 12 years, split into two terms of eight years and, if re-elected, four years.
Scala has always believed that the remuneration packages of the FIFA president and the exco members should also be disclosed in the interests of good governance so that ‘transparency’ becomes a fact of FIFA life and just a word.