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FIFA approves 12-year term limit for president

Issa Hayatou, acting FIFA secretary general
Issa Hayatou, acting FIFA secretary general

The Executive Committee of world football’s governing body, FIFA, Thursday, approved a programme of reforms which includes limiting the body’s president to a maximum of 12 years in office while also introducing, what it called ‘transparency of compensation’ for leading officials.

In a statement, FIFA also confirmed it had been agreed to introduce the reforms as part of broader measures in an attempt to restore credibility at the scandal-hit institution.

The programme of reforms presided over by Reform Committee chairman Francois Carrard must get the approval of the 209 member federations at FIFA’s extraordinary congress on February 26.

Meanwhile, the organization is said to be mulling over plans to expand the World Cup format from 32 teams to 40 in 2026 and will discuss the proposal at a future meeting, with support particularly strong among Asian and African representatives.

No formal agreement on the matter was reached at FIFA’s Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, but ExCo member Wolfgang Niersbach said it will be discussed at a later date.

“No decision was taken on expanding the World Cup to 40 teams from 2026,” Niersbach said in a written statement. “The Asian and African representatives on the executive committee were in favour of it. This matter has been put off until a future meeting.” The debate on extending the World Cup came as a corruption scandal engulfing the organisation widened with fresh arrests.

The World Cup had been a 16-team competition before being expanded to 24 nations in 1982 and then to 32 for the first time in France in 1998. The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup was postponed in June due to the corruption scandal which has centred around the attribution of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar.

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