The head of major Fifa sponsor Visa has spoken derisively of Sepp Blatter, claiming there will be no meaningful reforms while he remains in charge of the organisation.
Blatter intends to remain as Fifa president until his successor is elected on 26 February next year. This week announced a task force to bring in reforms, though Blatter’s involvement has already come in for criticism.
But Visa chief executive Charlie Scharf said Fifa’s response to the corruption crisis had been “wholly inadequate” and joined fellow sponsors Coca-Cola in demanding a fully-independent reform commission.
Scharf said: “We view the stewardship of our company, our brand, and our clients with the utmost importance and try to hold ourselves to the highest standards.
“We seek to partner with those who think and act like us. I don’t believe that Fifa is living up to these standards. Furthermore, their subsequent responses are wholly inadequate and continue to show its lack of awareness of the seriousness of the changes which are needed.
“We believe two things need to happen to ensure credible reform. First, an independent, third-party commission led by one or more impartial leaders is critical to formulate reforms.
“Second, we believe no meaningful reform can be made under Fifa’s existing leadership. Football itself is a great sport with which we are proud to be associated. We want to be proud to be associated with Fifa and hope and look forward to working with them to that end.”
Seven Fifa officials were arrested in Zurich in May after the US justice department indicted a total of 18 people on football-related corruption charges. A separate investigation into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups is being carried out by Swiss prosecutors.
Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, is believed to be Blatter’s preferred candidate to head the reform task force, but his links to Fifa raise doubts about whether he is the right man to oversee meaningful change.
Uefa president Michel Platini, the favourite to succeed Blatter, is not averse to the idea of Scala being appointed but would prefer someone without any Fifa connections taking the position.