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 By PA Sport

FIFA election chief Domenico Scala says 'corruption is systemic' in football

Corruption in football is systemic and the game's leaders must not bury their heads in the sand, the man in charge of the FIFA presidential election has warned.

Domenico Scala, who is the head of FIFA's electoral committee which rules on whether candidates have passed the integrity checks, said meaningful reforms were desperately needed to halt the spread of scandal.

"We have to accept that corruption is systemic in football," Scala told the International Football Arena conference in Zurich held at FIFA's headquarters.

"If we accept it is systemic, we can start to do something about it. If we deny it, we dismiss the problem."

Scala, who is also head of FIFA's audit and compliance committee, has submitted a detailed blueprint for radical reform of the world governing body but is in competition with former International Olympic Committee general secretary Francois Carrard who heads FIFA's official reform committee.

Domenico Scala said reform can begin only after FIFA accepts that football is corrupt.

Scala wants term limits for all senior FIFA personnel but Carrard's body, who also met at FIFA headquarters on Thursday but in a different part of the building, is considering leaving term limits out of the final list of recommendations to be put to FIFA's executive committee next month -- apart from a limit for the president himself.

"I'm not saying my 30 pages (of proposals) are the Holy Grail but the reform process should be transparent," Scala said.

"I remain optimistic that the reform committee is slowly moving in the right direction."

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