PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AP) — FIFA's willingness to heed criticism and enact reforms will be tested at a meeting this week when soccer's governing body tries to move past two years of scandals.
Sepp Blatter, president of soccer's ruling body, said he looks forward to bringing FIFA up to the "highest standards of good governance, as befits an organization such as ours." He also said in response to criticism that FIFA wasn't taking reform seriously: "It'd be unfair to say we are not doing well."
Reforms were already undertaken last year. The 209 member countries are to vote on changes for greater transparency and accountability at the two-day FIFA Congress that opens Thursday.
The congress will elect a first permanent female member of the formerly men-only executive committee. The 77-year-old Blatter also could indicate if he intends to seek another four-year term. When re-elected in 2011 he said this would be his last term. The Swiss has been in charge of FIFA since 1998. The next election is in two years and he would be 83 at the end of another term.
On Tuesday, the executive committee delayed a proposal to limit age and terms for its officials until at least next year, saying there's "no consensus" among member countries and a "more thorough analysis is required."
"I've already said I was against the age limit as I believe it is not a relevant criteria, not everyone is the same at 60, 70, 80," Blatter said. "Passion makes the difference."
Other matters include sterner punishments for racism in soccer, match-fixing and Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
Setbacks at some of Brazil's stadiums will prompt closer scrutiny, notably the one in Sao Paolo that was scheduled to open the tournament and may now miss its completion deadline.