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Monday, November 12, 2012
FIFA reform talks on age, term limits, WCup bids

Associated Press

Updates with details.

By GRAHAM DUNBAR

AP Sports Writer

ZURICH -- A FIFA working group began talks Monday that could result in age and term limits for world soccer leaders and change how World Cup hosts are chosen.

FIFA said a 10-point proposal will be sent to national federations by the panel of chief executives and legal directors from FIFA and its six continental confederations.

The FIFA Congress of 209 members is scheduled to meet in May and vote on ongoing reforms promised by president Sepp Blatter after a series of bribery and bidding scandals.

Proposals under discussion include an age limit of 72 for FIFA election candidates and a two-term, eight-year limit for the president.

All of FIFA's members likely will be asked to choose future World Cup hosts instead of the FIFA executive committee, which was discredited by corruption allegations linked to the 2018 and 2022 bidding contests two years ago.

The panel is continuing work started by a statutes task force chaired by Theo Zwaniger, the former German federation leader who joined FIFA's ruling committee on the same June 2011 day that Blatter, now 76, won a fourth term.

Zwanziger's suggested changes include requiring all FIFA candidates to pass integrity checks before being allowed to run for office.

Salaries and benefits for FIFA leaders also could be decided by the audit and compliance committee, which was revamped during the first phase of Blatter's reform drive.

Zwanziger wants Europe to give up two of its three FIFA vice presidencies, including one shared by the four British federations. British officials could also be asked to cede influence on the game's rule-making body, the International Football Association Board.

Zwanziger has pushed for clubs, often fierce critics of Blatter, and other stakeholders to be given greater representation within FIFA.

For future World Cup hosts, Zwanziger's task force proposed that the full Congress elect the winner from three candidates presented by the executive committee. The next contest, to choose the 2026 host, is unlikely to be decided before 2018.

FIFA said the consultation started Monday will continue through January, and the executive committee is scheduled to publish a suggested slate of reforms in March. The FIFA Congress will vote at a May 31 meeting in Mauritius.