English FA Chairman David
Bernstein, who called for last year's FIFA presidential election
to be called off in the wake of a bribery scandal, said on
Friday he was very impressed with the changes underway within
world football's governing body.
Since last year's near-meltdown when FIFA was besmirched by
one scandal after another, president Sepp Blatter has instigated
a number of far-reaching reforms with some adopted at Congress
on Friday and the rest due to be implemented at next year's
gathering in Mauritius.
Bernstein told last year's Congress in Zurich that the
election should be halted, provoking a torrent of angry comments
from senior FIFA executives and delegates, but his mood was
markedly different at the end of this year's event in Budapest.
"I was very impressed today. A range of very responsible
people and serious people are now on board and it is obvious
that President Blatter, the executive committee and the
organisation are taking this very seriously," he told reporters.
"I think the FA should take a little of the credit for
helping to push this a year ago - we probably injected a little
urgency into the situation.
"There is still much work to be done, but I think it was all
so traumatic for FIFA last year and previously, but they have
now seen the light and that is what is coming through.
"I think today is a moment in time where there is real
evidence of change and we want this to continue to next year's
Almost every one of FIFA's institutions is being examined
including the important law-making body, the International
Football Association Board (IFAB), which was formed by the
British associations in 1886 - 18 years before FIFA started and
has involved the four British associations and FIFA for over 100
Bernstein accepted that even that body could change and that
the automatic British vice-presidency on the executive committee
is also likely to disappear.
But he is happy for the changes to take place, especially if
the home nations still play a key role in IFAB.
"We can't say everything should change except the things
that affect us," he said.
"IFAB has a great history over 100 years and does a great
job. Having said that, with a room of 209 nations here, there
could be room for a little more democracy and a little more
representation within it. We accept that.
"I was pleased to see they are looking for self-reform based
around the existing structure."
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