Champagne wants FIFA exco to be directly elected

ZURICH Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:00am IST

FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) and Brazil's Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo attend a news conference at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) and Brazil's Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo attend a news conference at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, March 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Soccer's governing body FIFA needs to change the way its executive committee is selected to make it more representative, a former advisor to president Sepp Blatter said in an interview.

The 25 members are currently chosen by the continental confederations, with eight from Europe, four each from Africa and Asia, three each from CONCACAF and South America, one from Oceania, one female representative and the president.

Frenchman Jerome Champagne, who held a number of senior positions in his 11 years with FIFA including presidential advisor, said the executive committee members should be instead by elected directly by FIFA's 209 member associations at the annual Congress.

"People believe that a FIFA president is almighty, but it's as if President Barack Obama is sworn in on Capitol Hill, arrives at the White House and finds the cabinet members have already been appointed," he told Reuters.

"FIFA should be more democratic. It belongs to and has been created by the 209 member federations but, in the last 20 years, the power has been incrementally switched to the continental confederations.

"We need to rebalance the power towards the federations because FIFA belongs to them. The system is not democratic because the federations elect a person, and this person cannot implement the programme he has been elected for."

Champagne also suggested the executive committee include additional representatives, including one for the players.

Football's rule-making body the International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the use of technology last year to help the referee in cases where it is not clear whether or not the ball has entered the goal, but Champagne said it should go further.

He said video technology was needed to help the referee decide whether to award a penalty or send a player off.

"Technology has been properly used in tennis and rugby without destroying the spirit of the sport," he said.

"How many cases do we have now of referees who are forced to apologise or recognise that they made the wrong decision. The referee is often the only one who doesn't know he has made a mistake."

Champagne suggested that a former referee would observe the replays before making the final decision.

"The guy would have 24 camera angles, a computer-generated (offside) line, and in 15 seconds, he could tell if the goal was offside or if a penalty should be given or not. The same thing would happen with a sending-off."

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Justin Palmer)

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