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Jul 22, 2015

Scala winning support to head FIFA’s reform task force – sources

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss businessman Domenico Scala has been asked by heads of at least three regional confederations to take on the role of ‘neutral chairman’ of FIFA’s new reforms task force, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.    Scala is not an elected FIFA official but already holds two roles at football’s global governing body, which is facing a massive corruption scandal following the indictment by U.S. authorities of 14 current and former football officials and company executives for bribery-related offences.    He is chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee and chairman of the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee, handling the process for February’s vote for a new FIFA president to replace Sepp Blatter. His involvement inside FIFA will lead to questions about whether he qualifies as a neutral party.    Scala has already been working on reform plans which were presented to FIFA’s executive committee meeting on Monday.    FIFA has said that the chairman of the task force would be decided in consultation with the confederations’ presidents.    Those confederation heads, who attended Monday’s meeting in Zurich, held informal soundings with Scala about the role and a source said he is expected to decide later this week whether or not to accept their proposal.    One of the sources, who is close to CONCACAF – the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean – said that it backs him becoming the task force head.    However, Michel Platini – who is head of the European confederation UEFA – would prefer to see someone well-known, from outside FIFA circles, to lead the task force and has not given any formal backing to Scala, a source close to Platini said.    “He has no major problem with Scala and could entertain the idea but he would prefer a high-profile independent person for this role,” said the source.    Platini has emerged as the front-runner to replace Sepp Blatter in February’s presidential election but he has yet to decide whether he will run.    FIFA has not made any decision on who will make up the ten-person task force, other than stating that the members will be drawn from the six continental confederations.    “This is a work in progress,” said a FIFA spokeswoman.    Campaigners for change at FIFA have been critical of the creation of the task force, calling instead for the reform process to be carried out by an entirely independent, third party, commission.   The idea of an outside independent reform process was also supported by FIFA sponsor Coca Cola last week.

(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Martin Howell)

Jul 22, 2015

Soccer-Scala winning support to head FIFA’s reform task force – sources

ZURICH, July 22 (Reuters) – Swiss businessman Domenico Scala has been asked by heads of at least three regional confederations to take on the role of ‘neutral chairman’ of FIFA’s new reforms task force, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Scala is not an elected FIFA official but already holds two roles at soccer’s global governing body, which is facing a massive corruption scandal following the indictment by U.S. authorities of 14 current and former soccer officials and company executives for bribery-related offences.

Jul 21, 2015

Blatter prankster charged by police after FIFA complaint

ZURICH (Reuters) – The British comedian who showered FIFA president Sepp Blatter with fake dollar bills has been charged by Swiss police after being arrested and interrogated, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Simon Brodkin, who performs as the character Lee Nelson, was taken away by police from the headquarters of soccer’s world governing body after Blatter’s security escorted him out of the press conference room where he carried out the stunt on Monday.

Jul 21, 2015

Soccer-Blatter prankster charged by police after FIFA complaint

ZURICH, July 21 (Reuters) – The British comedian who showered FIFA president Sepp Blatter with fake dollar bills has been charged by Swiss police after being arrested and interrogated, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Simon Brodkin, who performs as the character Lee Nelson, was taken away by police from the headquarters of soccer’s world governing body after Blatter’s security escorted him out of the press conference room where he carried out the stunt on Monday.

Jul 20, 2015

Blatter faces months of troubles before departure

ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter has seven months left at the top of world soccer’s governing body but his hope of putting the organization’s troubles behind him before he goes looks forlorn. Blatter, elected to the top position in 1998, will stand down on Feb. 26, the date FIFA selected for an “elective congress” to choose his replacement. FIFA’s answer on Monday to the corruption scandal that has engulfed it since the arrests of senior officials in May on U.S. fraud and money laundering charges, was to announce the creation of another “task force” made up of people from within the body. The 79-year-old Blatter clearly hopes they will come up with a package of reforms that will placate his critics and those of the organization. “My responsibility and mission is to make sure when at the end of February I come to the end of my career, I can say in FIFA we have started again the reform and have rebuilt the reputation of FIFA,” Blatter told a news conference. But even if his task force, made up of representatives of the regional confederations but with a “neutral chairman” makes progress, it is hard to see how Blatter’s final months in charge will be anything other than fraught. The U.S Department of Justice investigation into corruption, kickbacks and racketeering in soccer could lead to more charges, especially if some of those indicted agree to cooperate with authorities.

Blatter has not been charged with any wrongdoing. But former FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, widely praised by Blatter and seen as his protege, pleaded not guilty in federal court in New York on Saturday to charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. He was released on $10 million bail.

Jul 20, 2015

Soccer-Blatter faces months of troubles before departure

ZURICH, July 20 (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter has seven months left at the top of world soccer’s governing body but his hope of putting the organisation’s troubles behind him before he goes looks forlorn.

Blatter, elected to the top position in 1998, will stand down on Feb. 26, the date FIFA selected for an “elective congress” to choose his replacement.

Jul 20, 2015

Prankster showers Blatter with fake money at FIFA HQ

ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter was showered with fake paper money by a British protester before the start of a press conference on Monday and, visibly shaken, walked out of the auditorium.

The protestor, identified by British media as comedian Lee Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, was taken away by Swiss police.

Jul 20, 2015

Soccer-Blatter departure date set as FIFA tries again with reforms

ZURICH, July 20 (Reuters) – FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Monday announced a reform taskforce to try to leave the troubled body in better shape when he finally stands down after a new leader of world football is elected in February.

Blatter, 79, tried to look ahead at executive meeting that set the date for the election as Feb. 26 and sketched out the reforms – but the corruption scandal that erupted in May once again overshadowed plans that critics blasted as insufficient.

Jul 20, 2015

Soccer-Prankster showers Blatter with fake money at FIFA HQ

ZURICH, July 20 (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter was showered with fake paper money by a British protester before the start of a press conference on Monday and, visibly shaken, walked out of the auditorium.

The protestor, identified by British media as comedian Lee Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, was taken away by Swiss police.

Jul 20, 2015

Campaigners call for Kofi Annan to take charge of FIFA reform

ZURICH (Reuters) – A group campaigning for reform of world soccer’s governing body FIFA have called for former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to be put in charge of an independent reform commission.

“We are calling for Kofi Annan to come into this mess and take control of the reform process,” Jaimie Fuller, a co-founder of “New FIFA Now”, told a Zurich news conference:

    • About Simon

      "Simon is a Reuters Sports Correspondent based out of Miami and he covers a range of sports including NFL, NBA, US national team and MLS soccer, tennis, West Indies cricket, golf and winter sports. He was the co-author of the best-selling soccer book The Rough Guide to European Football and previously worked in Milan, Italy and Eastern Europe. He was born in Lancashire, England."
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