Kissinger ponders FIFA anti-corruption role

LONDON: Henry Kissinger is mulling over an offer from FIFA president Sepp Blatter to help clean up world football’s governing body but said he needed more details before committing himself.A lifelong football fan, the Vietnam War-era US secretary of state and national security adviser has been asked by Blatter to take part in a new group looking at ways to reform FIFA following months of corruption allegations.

“Yes, he’s invited me, but he has not been specific except to say he wants to create a group of wise men to deal with some of the issues that have arisen,” Kissinger, 88, told BBC Radio here on Sunday.”I am an avid football fan and have been all my life. I watch as many games as I can.”If it can help the sport I would be willing to participate but I have to know who the other participants are and what the terms of reference are before I make a final commitment.”Blatter was re-elected unopposed as FIFA president on Wednesday after his lone challenger, Qatar’s Mohamed Bin Hammam, withdrew amidst bribery allegations that led to him being suspended by the ethics committee from involvement in the governing body.

Kissinger, asked for his view on Blatter’s election, replied: “I shouldn’t comment on any of these details because if I should join this group then maybe it’s among the issues that is going to be there.”England’s Football Association, supported by its Scottish counterpart, tried to get Blatter’s election postponed on the grounds he would not have a full mandate so long as no other candidates were standing.But its call was overwhelmingly rejected, with FIFA members voting by 172 votes to 17 against the FA’s proposal.Kissinger voiced an “understanding” for the British position but, when asked whether if the election should have been postponed, said: “I haven’t followed it that closely.”My general view is that FIFA should be conducted as transparently and as democratically as is necessary to win public support.”Blatter, a 75-year-old Swiss who has been in his current post for 13 years, has faced widespread calls for reform of FIFA following graft allegations surrounding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford from 1973-77, worked on US Soccer’s failed bid to stage the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.He previously helped bring the 1994 World Cup to the United States. – Yahoonews