World soccer governing body FIFA said Monday that it would hold an extraordinary congress to elect a new president on Feb. 26, 2016 and that a task force would consider reforms amid a U.S. corruption probe.
Long-time president Sepp Blatter was re-elected at the end of May, but announced his plan to resign just days later, amid corruption probes against FIFA officials. Candidates for the role as his successor must be nominated before Oct. 26.
Former French national team player Michel Platini, currently head of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), has been asked by a majority of soccer federation bosses around the world to run for the post. He is known as a Blatter critic.
Also on Monday, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost to Blatter in the May election, called for the 79-year-old Swiss national to leave his post as FIFA boss immediately.
“President Blatter’s resignation cannot be dragged out any longer,” the BBC quoted him as saying. “He must leave now.” He added: “An interim independent leadership must be appointed to administer the process of the elections, in addition to the reforms that are being discussed prior to the elections.”
FIFA later on Monday announced plans to form an 11-person task force to discuss reforms, including “centralized integrity checks for executive committee members, the introduction of term limits, higher standards of governance at all levels” and others, amid calls, including from sponsors, that the body must clean itself up.
The task force would report on its findings to the executive committee in September, with final reforms to be decided by the FIFA congress, which has the power to change the organization’s statutes.