(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)
Football Federation Australia has welcomed Sepp Blatter’s resignation as president of world football’s governing body FIFA, calling it the first step in changing its culture.
And critics of the organisation have echoed those thoughts, some saying a total overhaul is needed before the people running the game can be trusted.
Bence Hamerli reports.
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In the lead up to his latest re-election as FIFA president, Sepp Blatter described himself as a mountain goat that just keeps going and going and going.
Now, he has stopped going.
And his resignation is a welcome surprise for those who have been demanding change.
SBS football analyst Craig Foster says it is good that Blatter seems to have finally been forced out, but he warns that does not fix FIFA.
“One can assume that Blatter stood, perhaps, in order to protect the political network around him. And that’s what worries me about this move, that it can potentially be influenced by the fellow executive members, who know they have something to hide and they’re trying to influence the next election.”
Football Federation Australia defied Blatter, albeit at the last minute, and voted for his only rival, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Hussein.
In a statement, the FFA promised to keep working towards reform.
It promised to be an active voice within the forums of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation in promoting governance reform and a new era of transparency.
Many, like long-term FIFA critic Bonita Mersiades, are suggesting there is no need to rush to a new election until it involves candidates outside the FIFA system.
“You may look at someone like Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN, Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and current head of the UN development program Mitt Romney. There are a number of people around the world who are capable of taking on that role, who are completely independent of football, completely independent of FIFA, do not have baggage, don’t have history, but know how to set up an organisation that is run with the right level of accountability, transparency and probity.”
Senator Nick Xenophon says Qatar should be stripped of the 2022 World Cup — if not for corruption, then for the deaths of 1,200 workers building its stadiums.
He says he does not believe Australia should bid again without knowing what happened to the 45 million dollars it spent last time with no success.
“Unless there is systemic, sweeping reform of FIFA, then Australia, together with Europe, the US and other countries, needs to set up an alternate organisation to FIFA.”