Bloomberg News

FIFA May Start Whistle-Blower Line to Report Corrupt Officials

March 28, 2012

Soccer’s world governing body may start a whistle-blower hotline where corruption allegations can be made against serving FIFA officials, according to the sport body’s outgoing head of security.

Chris Eaton, who is leaving in May to join the International Centre for Sport Security in Qatar, said his plan to start a similar telephone service for players and officials to report match-fixing was suspended by FIFA president Sepp Blatter because the organization is undergoing changes following corruption scandals.

“President Blatter suspended the program on match-fixing to allow the independent committee to determine whether this should be applied to the totality of the sport,” Eaton said at the Soccerex conference in Manchester

A 13-person panel led by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth will meet with FIFA’s board in two days to propose how it can change the way it does business after criticism from sponsors, politicians and fans following the 2010 selection of World Cup hosts and Blatter’s re-election to a fourth term six months later.

Sponsors including Dubai-based Emirates Airline, Coca-Cola Co. and VISA Inc. expressed unease at corruption allegations involving the soccer body, which makes more than $4 billion from its four-yearly World Cup.

Russia and Qatar won the rights for the tournaments in 2018 and 2022 after a campaign in which two voters were suspended after offering to sell their support to undercover reporters. Since then almost half of the executive board have either been accused or sanctioned for impropriety.

Eaton said any organization that generates as much cash as FIFA would benefit from adopting strong anti-corruption measures. Eaton said some of the scandals FIFA has faced would have been prevented if measures like a hotline had been adopted.

The failure to start the anti-match fixing program was “frustrating,” he said, adding he understood Blatter’s decision.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Zurich via the London newsroom at tpanja@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.


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