Just weeks after announcing a revamped Ethics Committee aimed at combating corruption as part of his road map to reform, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has criticised one of the body's two independent chiefs.
Earlier this week, Joachim Eckert, a German judge, was quoted as telling a news magazine that Blatter needed to play his part in cleaning up the organisation or he would no longer be acceptable as its leader.
But in what can only be construed as another embarrassing episode in his Presidency, Blatter made it clear he was not happy with the comments of a man whose praises he was singing back in July.
"A judge should not say anything," Blatter told Germany's Sport Bild newspaper.
"I have never experienced it that a judge makes a comment about an ongoing case; he only says something when he makes the judgement."
In the same interview, Blatter said he did not agree with a suggestion made by the former President of the German Football Association, Theo Zwanziger, now an FIFA Executive Committee member, that there should be a maximum age for serving as an FIFA administrator.
Blatter has no problem with restricting the period of tenure he and his colleagues can have in office – but draws the line when it comes to how old they can be.
"I'm in favour of limiting the length of time officials can serve but against an age limit," said the 76-year-old, who is unlikely to bid for a fifth Presidential term in 2015.
"Age has nothing to do with skills – there are 70-year-olds who are still very young in their head."
A draft revision of FIFA's statutes includes a proposal to impose an age limit of 72 on officials at the time they are elected.
It would also limit any FIFA President to two four-year mandates and Executive Committee members to three four-year terms.
By Andrew Warshaw
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