Term limits on the USSF agenda, Sunil Gulati yet to commit to re-election
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said he hasn't decided if he will run for reelection when his term is up in 2018. But if he does run, and if a USSF reform package that includes term limits is pushed through, the next term will be his last.
Speaking at a roundtable with reporters prior to Friday's 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Mexico, Gulati detailed that he and the USSF Board of Directors have been working on a complete revision of the organization's bylaws for 18 months. The term limit proposal is a big piece.
"A lot of things that happened with CONCACAF and FIFA in the last couple of years -- and obviously previously -- I think some of those would have been different with term limits," Gulati said.
The USSF president stressed that he wasn't necessarily referring to illegality that took place over the years in CONCACAF and FIFA.
"Decision-making gets altered when you're constantly worried about elections," he said.
"Reinvigorating with new people and so on is, for me, probably now because of that experience, something that makes sense. It wouldn't be just for president, but the entire [USSF] board."
Gulati said that a "plus one" provision will be made so that instead of having the term limit clock start the day the reforms are passed, a person who will get termed out will be able to serve one more term.
That means that if Gulati is re-elected in 2018 -- which would be his fourth at the helm of the USSF -- his tenure as USSF president will end for good in 2022.
Gulati added that he's pleased with the pace of reforms in both CONCACAF and FIFA, though some things that the USSF pushed for -- like independent directors in both organizations -- weren't approved. Both CONCACAF and FIFA got "halfway there" with the appointment of independent committee members.
"CONCACAF is moving much more quickly, because it's a smaller ship to try to steer, but in some ways it's a much bigger shock to the system given what happened," he said.
"FIFA, I'm pleased with what happened, and you don't see all of those. Things like no-bid contracts versus bid contracts. Those aren't public. You see the very public things, [president] Gianni [Infantino] talking about development, or the number of teams in the World Cup.
"But there are compliance issues, bidding issues, the transparency regarding the compensation of the board, all of those things have happened. So in general, pleased with the way it's gone, but a lot of work to be done."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.