Kissinger mulling over offer from FIFA

Former American statesman Henry Kissinger has yet to make a firm commitment to become an advisor to football’s world governing body.

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 FIFA.

”(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.”