GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CMC) – FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has praised CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb for taking bold steps to reform the confederation, and says the body is now poised to become a potent force in world football.
Speaking here at the recent inaugural CONCACAF Sports Summit, Blatter said Webb had played a pivotal role in reshaping a confederation in need of fresh leadership.
“I have to congratulate this president and CONCACAF, and the national associations of CONCACAF for what they have done in 2012 because they have changed the leadership and it was time to change the leadership,” Blatter told journalists.
“Where I can congratulate you … is with the Integrity Committee you have put together and this Integrity Committee Report on transparency which has been shown to the whole world. This is a wonderful achievement. It is open-minded and represents total transparency.”
Webb was last year elected unopposed to the powerful position of CONCACAF president, in the wake of the cash-for-votes scandal which rocked the Caribbean in 2011.
The controversy led to the resignation of long-serving CONCACAF president and powerful FIFA vice-president, Trinidadian Jack Warner and left a vacuum in the leadership of the confederation.
Since Webb’s election to the top post, he has instituted several measures to deal with corruption and to ensure transparency, in an attempt to rebuild the confederation’s image.
While pleased with the initiatives, Blatter urged Webb to consolidate CONCACAF’s presence in world football.
“But this is not enough. Now you have taken over the helm and you are at the top of CONCACAF, it is now up to you to make sure that CONCACAF is a very important partner in the context of the vote,” said Blatter, who has led FIFA since 1998.
“We have 209 associations and you have 41 so it is a power, it is also a political power – a sports political power.”
Webb is also a FIFA vice-president and executive committee member, and chairs the organisation’s recently-established Anti-Racism Task Force.