Following the FIFA Executive Committee’s first meeting of the year, Dr Theo Zwanziger, Chairman of the Task Force Revision of Statutes, took some time to respond to questions from FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Dr Zwanziger, as the Chairman of the Task Force Revision of Statutes, you have been able to follow the reforms undertaken by FIFA within the last few months quite closely. How would you sum up the decisions made today?
Dr Theo Zwanziger: I’m very happy. In fact, 90 per cent of the ideas relating to governance and conformity put forward by the different Task Forces were included by Professor Mark Pieth in his first report. Personally speaking, I’m wholeheartedly in favour of the proposals, which should be implemented, in my opinion. I’m therefore delighted that the Executive Committee has adopted the key points during the session held today. It means that we’ll be able to establish the first set of measures at the FIFA Congress in Budapest, at the end of May. As far as I’m concerned, it was the only route worth taking, because we just couldn’t wait any longer. Today’s session was an important step in the right direction for the reforms process, and we thank the FIFA President for his excellent work in this domain.
Can you explain the importance of restructuring the FIFA Ethics Committee into two chambers?
We want to achieve two goals at the same time, and as quickly as possible. FIFA is extremely demanding when it comes to ethics. It must ensure that only individuals that satisfy rigorous criteria attain positions of responsibility. For that to happen, candidates for senior posts must be strictly vetted. And if someone is suspected of wrongdoing within his mandate, the Ethics Committee can now take charge of an investigation, without having to go through FIFA. Under these reforms, the first elections could take place as early as 2013. It’s therefore very important that we set up these chambers at the Congress in Budapest, so that they can get down to work as soon as possible.
Does this change bring the reforms process to a close?
Absolutely not. Alongside these urgent issues, there are also numerous projects that we still need to carry through in time for the 2013 Congress. The new statutes that my task force has been working on will be unveiled at the Budapest Congress, which will give all confederations the opportunity to discuss them in a democratic manner. All of this takes time. Sceptics have to be convinced and a majority must be reached. FIFA’s member associations have to take part and willingly accept these changes. Democracy and transparency in football must be the result of a process. These are not things that can be established overnight.
Are you nevertheless satisfied?
If the Congress adopts the series of measures that were laid out today by the Executive Committee, I’ll be very happy. I’m also extremely glad to see that the FIFA President has stepped up to pursue this fight. The important decisions that were made here today would not have been possible without his intervention. Furthermore, the FIFA President received the support of UEFA President Michel Platini on the most crucial points – that is something I’m truly delighted about.