Prince William calls for FIFA reform

English FA president Prince William calls for reform to FIFA after corruption allegations

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

English FA president Prince William called on FIFA to reform and show that "it can represent the interests of fair play" in a speech at the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of English soccer's showpiece occasion between Arsenal and Aston Villa, the Duke of Cambridge compared the scandal hitting soccer's world governing body to the Salt Lake City Olympics corruption crisis.

In 1998, revelations that officials had accepted benefits in return for voting to award Salt Lake City the 2002 Winter Olympics proved the catalyst for change at the IOC, and now many are demanding FIFA undergo the same cleansing.

"There seems to be a huge disconnect between the sense of fair play that guides those playing and supporting the game, and the allegations of corruption that have long lingered around the management of the sport internationally," Prince William said in his pre-FA Cup final speech to dignitaries at Wembley.

"The events in Zurich this week represent FIFA's Salt Lake City moment, when the International Olympic Committee went through a similar period of serious allegations.

"FIFA, like the IOC, must now show that it can represent the interests of fair play and put the sport first."

Sepp Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president on Friday after beating Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan in an election overshadowed by allegations of rampant corruption within FIFA.

Prince William backed the decision by former Manchester United chief executive and newly elected FIFA vice-president David Gill to quit the position almost immediately in protest at Blatter's re-appointment.

"I know I join with all of you in commending David Gill for his decision to stand down from the ExCo, and to lead by example by doing so," he said.

"Our own game in this country has been taking a critical look at itself under (FA chairman) Greg Dyke's leadership.

"I feel we need to ensure that we become the gold standard of sporting governance. A modern, transparent and inclusive organisation representative of the broad and diverse society who play and love our game.

"Over the next few years, if we want credibly to influence the debate on reform in FIFA, we must continue to strive for excellence in our own organisation. It's not easy to do so, but it is worth it."

Prince William and Dyke were together on the pitch before the game began and after Dyke had told reporters at Wembley that he believed Blatter would be forced to resign over the corruption scandals.

"I think he (Blatter) will be then forced to resign," Dyke said.

"If he had been head of any company, any organisation where there was proper scrutiny, he would already have gone."

On Wednesday, Swiss police arrested seven leading soccer officials, including FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb.

The arrests were connected to a bribery scandal being investigated by Swiss, U.S. and other law enforcement agencies that plunged FIFA into the worst crisis in its 111-year history.