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Ex-IOC official to lead FIFA’s efforts to recover from scandal

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FIFA has chosen a former International Olympic Committee official to lead a reform group created to end the biggest crisis in the soccer body’s 111-year history.

Swiss lawyer Francois Carrard, the IOC’s former director general, who helped lift that organization out of a similar crisis after the Salt Lake City Games scandal in 1999, will lead a group that includes officials from soccer’s six regional bodies and representatives of FIFA’s corporate sponsors.

“It is vital for the future of global football to restore the integrity and reputation of its governing body,” Carrard, 77, said in an emailed statement. “I am committed to delivering the necessary package of credible reforms, working with representatives from within football and wider society.”

The action follows the arrest in May of senior FIFA officials on U.S. Department of Justice accusations of more than two decades of corruption. That scandal led President Sepp Blatter to say he’ll step down and two regional bodies announcing plans to restructure their organizations.

Carrard said he’ll also establish “an independent advisory board, made up of representatives from outside football, to support the work of the committee and provide an additional layer of independent expertise.”

That would bring the number of groups working on FIFA reforms to three as FIFA’s independent audit and compliance committee head Domenico Scala is continuing to work with a separate advisers.

FIFA’s 25-member executive committee agreed last month to accept a series of nine proposals for reform drafted by Scala that largely focus on the board itself. Many of FIFA’s recent problems are linked to wrongdoing by board members, including the selection of past and future World Cups.

Other members of the panel are also linked to the IOC, including Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, an IOC member who was recently voted onto FIFA’s executive committee. Kevan Gosper, a former IOC vice president from Australia, is also on the panel.

European representatives are UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino and legal director Alasdair Bell. Michel Platini, president of the European soccer group, is favorite to replace Blatter.

Also appointed was Gorka Villar, director general of South American soccer body Conmebol. His father, Angel Maria Villar Llona, is a member of FIFA’s board and remains under an ethics committee investigation.

Samir Gandhi, a New York-based lawyer with Sidley Austin LLP, and Canadian soccer head Victor Montagliani will represent North America.

FIFA didn’t say when the task force will hold its first meeting. It’s due to give a preliminary update to the FIFA executive at a meeting on Sept. 24 and 25. There had been discussions about approving some reforms then, including agreeing to disclose salaries. That’s now unlikely.

The committee will propose changes to members in February when they meet to elect a new president, FIFA said.

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