Blatter angry with UEFA over declaration on FIFA reforms

Updated 11 February 2013
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Blatter angry with UEFA over declaration on FIFA reforms

JOHANNESBURG: FIFA President Sepp Blatter took a swipe at European governing body UEFA yesterday for what he said were attempts to block his reform process to make soccer’s governing body more transparent and less prone to corruption.
Blatter said he was surprised that UEFA, headed by Michel Platini who is a possible rival for the FIFA presidency in two years’ time, had declared itself against key proposals from FIFA’s reform working party the Independent Governance Committee (IGC).
UEFA, in a declaration last month, rejected a proposal to limit FIFA executive committee members to two four-year mandates and called for the FIFA president to serve a maximum of 12 years instead of the eight put forward by the IGC.
Blatter, who was in South Africa for the African Nations Cup final, said it was UEFA’s job to consult their national associations, not to issue their own declaration on the proposals.
“The reform process is on the way to conclusion,” he told a media round-table meeting. “Two parts have been implemented by Congress: The establishment of an independent ethics committee and the fact Congress and not the executive committee will choose future World Cup hosts.
“Now there are 10 or 11 other points that have to be dealt with by the next FIFA Congress in Mauritius in May. So I’m surprised by the reaction of UEFA, because the executive committee told the confederations they should consult their national associations about the reforms and what they think about the last part of the amendments to the statutes.
“And I’m surprised because it did not seem like a consultation, it seemed like was decision-making from UEFA where the national associations have signed a declaration against this.
“The idea was that at the FIFA Congress, all national associations have the right to speak on the amendments in favor or against. We have asked the confederations to make consultations, we have not asked them to make decisions.
“If all the Confederations make decisions, what is the point of the FIFA Congress?” Blatter was also angry that UEFA appeared to take a stand against security checks FIFA wants to introduce for anyone being elected to the executive committee, following a series of high-profile scandals involving FIFA officials.
“What is important to me, and I will defend it, is that all members of FIFA shall have a scrutiny check, because everyone working somewhere has one. All the referees and linesmen on the FIFA list have to have one and sign a document which is recognized by their national association.
“So if it is good enough for FIFA referees, why should it not be the same for the FIFA executive committee and all the members of FIFA? Why is UEFA now against this? I don’t understand it.” Last week the IGC, headed by Mark Pieth, a professor in criminal law, said it was disappointed that UEFA was trying “to dilute the thrust of the reform.”
Blatter, 77 next month, declined on Sunday, not for the first time, to say that he would definitely stand down as president when his term of office ends in 2015.
Blatter was elected FIFA president in 1998 and will complete four terms of office in 2015.
Asked what his plans were, he replied: “As far as 2015 is concerned, no-one can see into the future but I will fight for the reform of FIFA and I will fight to keep what FIFA is now, a federation of national associations and not a holding of confederations (who make decisions). I will fight that until the last day of my mandate in 2015.
“My mandate ends in 2015, if God gives me my health, and I know I have to stop but I don’t know when I will stop.”


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 53 min 56 sec ago
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.