Kissinger mulling over FIFA offer

Former American statesman Henry Kissinger has yet to make a firm

commitment to become an advisor to football’s world governing


Newly re-elected FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Wednesday that

Kissinger, who was U.S. secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, had

agreed to join a ”committee of wise persons” to help investigate

problems within the organization.

”If it can help the sport, I would be willing to participate,”

Kissinger told the BBC. ”But I have to know who the other

participants are and what the terms of reference are before I make

a final commitment.

”He (Blatter) has 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.”

The committee would have the power to investigate and suggest

solutions to problems as FIFA recovers from a corruption scandal,

which saw Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed bin Hammam

and FIFA Vice President Jack Warner suspended following allegations

of bribery.

Kissinger, who described himself as an ”avid football fan,”

worked on the failed U.S. bid to host the 2022 World Cup and was on

a reform panel set up by the IOC following the scandal over Salt

Lake City’s winning bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2002.

”My general view is that FIFA should be conducted as

transparently and as democratically as is necessary to win public

support,” Kissinger said.

Blatter was elected unopposed for a fourth term as president on

June 1, despite attempts by England’s Football Association to

postpone the vote for several months to allow for the corruption

scandals to be cleared up.

Of the 208 FIFA delegates, 172 rejected England’s call.

FA chairman David Bernstein said Sunday he had written to

Blatter to assure him that England would not be pulling out of


”(I) restated our desire and support for reform and that

England wants to continue working with FIFA,” Bernstein wrote in

the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

”This is hugely important and the calls for us to remove

ourselves completely are made without considering any impact this

will have – no England teams, no European club football, foreign

players moving or risking worldwide bans.”