Football's governing body FIFA reveals plans to target corrupt activity
President Sepp Blatter unveils proposals for three new task forces
"Good governance committee" will bring together their recommendations
FIFA to release court documents over ISL marketing company corruption case
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has unveiled a raft of reforms aimed at restoring credibility to world football’s ruling body, which has been hit by a succession of scandals over the past decade of his tenure.
Accusations of corruption came to a head in the lead-up to last December’s vote to award hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, with two high-echelon officials banned for life.
The fallout continued last week as Caribbean Football Union members were suspended and fined for their involvement in the cash-for-votes scandal which saw Blatter’s only election rival banned for life before the June 1 ballot.
While former Asian Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam is taking legal action against that punishment, his former fellow Executive Committee members have agreed to establish three new task forces and a “good governance committee” in order to clean up the sport’s administration.
Blatter revealed at a press conference in Zurich on Friday that he hopes they will be implemented by 2013.
“We’ve been ambitious in our roadmap,” the 75-year-old said. “By 2013 we should have lived up to the requests made by the national associations in 2011. That is the goal we have set for ourselves.”
Germany’s Football Association president Theo Zwanziger will chair the task force dedicated to revising FIFA’s statutes, while Claudio Sulser will oversee any reforms of the Ethics Committee of which he is chairman.
The group focused on transparency and compliance will be headed by New Zealand FA president Frank van Hattum and Paraguay counterpart Juan Angel Napout, and German football legend Franz Beckenbauer will continue to lead the Football 2014 task force which began its work in May.
The good governance committee will be established at the ExCo’s next meeting on December 16-17, and will have representatives from throughout the football world – such as players, referees, fans, clubs, national associations – and from outside, including politicians lawyers, marketing partners.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been involved in an advisory role, but will not be on the committee as Blatter said he wanted to have currently active politicians instead.
“We needed to strengthen the Ethics Committee, so we have a task force which will focus on its independence and how to strengthen it,” Blatter said.
“What is most important right now, we also need to provide it with guidelines that don’t come from football and not from the Executive Committee and members of different confederations or the Ethics Committee, but from the national associations. They wanted to see something being done.
“The transparency and compliance task force will be made up of presidents of national associations, and they will identify the problems with which the national associations are faced with respect to FIFA.”
Blatter said the ExCo members, several of whom have faced accusations of corruption in the past decade, were unanimous in agreeing on the proposed roadmap.
“There is only one question mark – will we be able to live up to the details of it? I feel very happy that the Executive Committee is completely in step with what we want to achieve with the national associations,” he said.
“We are moving forward with a FIFA that, especially due to the Good Governance Committee, will allow us in 2013 or even before to present an image other than the one we have currently.”
Blatter, who said there would be a push to include at least one woman on the all-male ExCo for the first time, revealed that court documents from the 10-year-old case involving FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL would be released.
FIFA officials Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and former president Joao Havelange were accused of receiving payments from ISL, which folded in 2001.
The ExCo will examine the case in December and make the files available to an independent body for scrutiny.
“The court has said there are people involved, but no Swiss people – only foreign people,” Blatter said.
He denied claims that FIFA was a corrupt organization, but claimed that any large body will always have corrupt elements.
“Some people are corrupt, some people are even more than that, but can you say that all are? At the end of the day in FIFA, which has 300 million participants, you will always find some violence, doping, corruption, you cannot avoid it, but that does not mean that the whole organization is like that.”