Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

FIFA unveils new crime fighting duo to tackle corruption in soccer

Sepp Blatter vowed to steer FIFA away from "troubled waters" when he was re-elected as president in June 2011

Story highlights

  • FIFA unveil two new appointments to their Ethics Committee at press call in Zurich
  • US attorney Michael J Garcia and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert join organization
  • Pair will help investigate allegations of wrongdoing in world football
  • First task is to probe documents relating to case involving marketing firm ISL

FIFA has employed a pair of high-profile crimefighters to help tackle corruption in the game, after a wake of scandals that have engulfed soccer's world governing body.

President Sepp Blatter announced that former United States attorney Michael J Garcia and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert had joined the organization to probe allegations of wrongdoing.

Their first task will be to investigate a Swiss court document after an investigation into alleged illegal payments made by FIFA marketing partner International Sports and Leisure (ISL) to former FIFA president Joao Havelange and former executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira.

The report found that Havelange had received at least 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.53 million) and Teixeira was paid at least CHF 12.4 million ($12.64 million) from marketing partner ISL.

Blatter: I knew about 'illegal' payments

Last week Blatter admitted that he did know about the alleged bribes handed to former FIFA executives, but insisted he didn't think they were illegal at the time.

As well as the new appointments, Blatter also announced a new FIFA Code of Ethics which includes provision to remove time limitations for the prosecution of bribery and corruption cases.

He said the new two-chamber court would help to prosecute cases more quickly and could look retrospectively at old cases, including the process surrounding the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Kickbacks and cover-ups at FIFA?

    Just Watched

    Kickbacks and cover-ups at FIFA?

Kickbacks and cover-ups at FIFA? 02:32
FIFA in crisis over bribery scandal

    Just Watched

    FIFA in crisis over bribery scandal

FIFA in crisis over bribery scandal 03:25
Goal-line technology approved by FIFA

    Just Watched

    Goal-line technology approved by FIFA

Goal-line technology approved by FIFA 02:27
Eaton talks match fixing in January

    Just Watched

    Eaton talks match fixing in January

Eaton talks match fixing in January 02:36
FIFA in Brazil beer feud

    Just Watched

    FIFA in Brazil beer feud

FIFA in Brazil beer feud 03:26

"I don't see any limitation if anything has happened," he told a press conference at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, when asked about the ISL case.

"We have a new set of rules and regulations, we have new regulations for the Ethics Committee, we have no statute of limitations there.

"What you are mentioning right now, this is a case that has been taken to the Supreme Court in Switzerland, where a decision was taken, so FIFA will now look into only moral and ethical issues."

Garcia was appointed head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in the Department of Homeland Security by former president George W. Bush.

He has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases including the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

Eckert is a specialist when it comes to big bribery charges, and presided over an investigation into German telecommunications giant Siemens that uncovered billion-dollar payments.

Blatter spoke of his delight at the dual appointment on his official Twitter page, writing: "Major milestone for our governance process: Ethics Code approved, independent chairmen for investigatory & adjudicatory chambers.

"I remain 100% committed to reforms and FIFA fully backs Michael Garcia and Hans-Joachim Eckert, the two new independent chairmen.

"On my request, ISL file will be given to the new Ethics Committee. ISL is settled legally -- now it will be settled also morally."

Meanwhile, Mohamed bin Hammam, a former challenger to Blatter for the FIFA presidency, has been suspended for 30 days over new corruption allegations.

The Qatari was banned from soccer for life after a FIFA probe found him guilty of offering bribes in return for votes during his challenge to Blatter, which he withdrew hours before his ban.

He was temporarily replaced as head of the Asian Football Confederation, after serving for nine years as president. Bin Hammam has repeatedly protested his innocence and has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport with a verdict due this week.

But the AFC announced on their website that he had been suspended after an inspection of the organization's accounts.

The audit concerned "the negotiation and execution of certain contracts and with the financial transactions made in and out of AFC bank accounts and his personal account during the tenure of Mr Bin Hammam's presidency," it said.

      Football Focus

    • After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.