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FIFA reform taskforce meets for first time

BERN, Switzerland – A 12-member committee set up by FIFA to draw up far-reaching reforms to the organization in the wake of a corruption scandal met for the first time in Bern on Wednesday.

Headed by Swiss lawyer Francois Carrard, the committee will first hear from Domenico Scala, who is chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, according to an informed source.

No agenda details were released.

Carrard, 77, was appointed by FIFA on Aug. 11 to lead the Reform Committee after the corruption scandal erupted in May, when seven football officials were arrested at a Zurich hotel on the eve of a FIFA Congress, including Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li.

The seven FIFA officials were among 14 people facing charges in the United States over more than $150 million of bribes for marketing and broadcasting contracts.

In parallel, Swiss investigators are looking into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term at the Zurich congress but, under pressure from the arrests, he suddenly announced he would stand down next February when a new election for his post would be held.

Subsequently he announced that a reform committee taskforce would be set up to draw up a list of changes.

Blatter denies any wrongdoing and Carrard has gone on record as saying that there was not a shred of evidence against his fellow Swiss.

Carrard, who previously was in charge of implementing reforms at the International Olympic Committee in the wake of the bribery scandal-hit Winter Olympics of 2002, is due to present his reform proposals to a FIFA congress meeting on Feb. 26, when Blatter will officially stand down.

The Reform Committee, which will sit for two days, comprises two officials from each of the six FIFA confederations.

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