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South Korea
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 By PA Sport

FIFA members vote to back reforms package at Extraordinary Congress

FIFA members have voted in favour of proposed reforms to address issues of governance, accountability, transparency and diversity.

The vote, at Friday's FIFA Extraordinary Congress in Zurich, saw delegates approve the reform package with 179 in favour, 22 against and six abstentions.

A 50 percent turnout was required, and 75 percent of the valid votes needed to be cast in favour for the reforms to take effect. FIFA says the ballot was 179-22 in favor with 89 percent voting yes.

There are 209 members with a vote, but Kuwait and Indonesia are currently suspended and cannot participate.

FIFA also elected Gianni Infantino as their new president after a second round of voting.

Four candidates were in the running -- Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Infantino, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Jerome Champagne. A fifth candidate, Tokyo Sexwale, dropped out of the race after giving his candidacy speech.

Former president Sepp Blatter had been re-elected for a fifth term in May but, amid escalating corruption scandals, bowed to pressure four days later and announced he would resign. Blatter was subsequently banned for eight years for financial mismanagement. The ban was reduced to six years this week.

Under the reforms passed on Friday, the 24-member executive committee will be replaced by a council of 36 members, at least six of whom must be women.

Term limits of 12 years, divided into three four-year terms, will be imposed on the roles of FIFA president and FIFA council member, and the salaries of serving officials will be disclosed.


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There will be independent figures on numerous committees, and individuals can face independent integrity and eligibility checks.

Individual confederations and associations, such as European football's governing body UEFA and the Football Association, must also comply.

The official FIFA website quoted acting president Issa Hayatou as saying: "We stand united in our determination to put things right so that the focus can return to football once again.

"The hard work of restoring trust and improving how we work begins now."

Hayatou said the new measures "will create a system of stronger governance and greater diversity that will give football a strong foundation on which to thrive," adding that, "It will help to restore trust in our organisation and deter future wrongdoing."

The vote was taken after the Palestine federation had argued for a delay in order to let the new FIFA president lead the process.

Outgoing president Sepp Blatter had ordered the reform review in June after FIFA was investigated by American and Swiss authorities as it became engulfed in a corruption scandal.

Victor Montagliani, a member of the 2016 FIFA reform committee, speaks at the congress.

The governing body's lawyers hope the reforms will show U.S. prosecutors that it is serious about changing its culture.

The measures mean that many decision-making powers will be stripped from the president and the new council.

Also on Friday, acting FIFA secretary general Markus Kattner said staff morale was hit by a looming $550 million financial deficit. FIFA will publish its 2015 financial report next month. It is expected to show a loss of at least $100 million.

Kattner told the FIFA election congress there is "general uncertainty that is affecting morale of the FIFA team.

"We are currently $550 million behind our goals" to reach a budget target of $5 billion revenue from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he said.

FIFA has not signed any new World Cup sponsors since the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

Since American and Swiss federal investigations of corruption hit FIFA last May, officials have cautioned that potential sponsors would wait until after the election to replace Blatter before committing.

Kattner says FIFA is "optimistic of concluding contracts" soon.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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