Bloomberg News

FIFA Shouldn’t ‘Cherry Pick’ Reform Measures, Adviser Says

May 25, 2012

Soccer ruling body FIFA shouldn’t “cherry pick” the easiest reform measures as it responds to criticism from sponsors about bribery allegations, its anti- corruption adviser said today.

Swiss law professor Mark Pieth, addressing the authority’s annual congress in Budapest, said officials should tackle issues including the creation of a public hotline for reporting wrongdoing, the declaration of executive pay and integrity checks for board members.

“I encourage you to make use of this singular chance you have to go down the reform route,” Pieth, who was appointed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to head a group to suggest changes to the 108-year-old body. “Do something really courageous and generations of footballers, fans and stakeholders will remember you for it.”

FIFA’s 208 members approved changes to its ethics committee, dividing it into a body responsible for investigation and a group prosecuting violations. They also voted to establish an audit and compliance body overseeing the millions of dollars that the Zurich-based authority spends on soccer development. Pieth has proposed that the body should set executive pay and publish their salaries.

“We cannot take all the package now: this is impossible,” Blatter said meeting, adding members would need to discuss changes first. “Even if Professor Pieth says we shall cherry pick, we cannot take the whole tree. It’s impossible to take the tree and have all the cherries down.”

Next Meeting

He said the reform program will be completed at the next meeting in Mauritius.

Blatter, 76, last year sealed a fourth four-year term as the head of the organization that oversees the $5 billion World Cup. He promised action after criticism from sponsors, fans and governments following bribery allegations.

His only challenger, former Asian soccer head Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar, stood down a day before FIFA opened a probe into claims he paid $1 million in bribes to Caribbean voters. He denied the allegations.

Six months earlier, the selection of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts was overshadowed by the removal of members of the executive board for allegedly offering to sell their votes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Budapest via the London newsroom at 3677 or tpanja@bloomberg.net

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


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