FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called on national associations to assist in the fight against corruption in the game, stating world football’s governing body cannot do it alone.
Blatter believes that FIFA’s 209 member associations, in addition to the continental confederations, must follow its lead in establishing independent ethics committees to investigate and punish corruption allegations. “FIFA alone cannot be the tribunal for 300 million people involved in football,” said Blatter in a video interview on FIFA.com.
In July, FIFA named American attorney Michael Garcia and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert as the two figures to tackle corruption in the organisation. Garcia, who had previously specialised in enforcing arms regulations and money laundering statutes, was elected to probe allegations of corruption as head of the investigative chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee. Eckert is the presiding judge of Munich’s penal court and bears responsibility for judging cases and handing out sanctions as head of the adjudicatory branch. However, Blatter said: “This will only work if these two committees are installed in all national associations and the (continental) confederations.”
FIFA is due to vote on changes to its statutes at its annual congress in Mauritius in May. The 53 European FIFA member associations last month unanimously adopted a declaration regarding proposed amendments to the statutes. The headline proposal from the associations came with the call for future FIFA presidents to serve an initial term of eight years and a maximum of 12 years overall. A general age limit of 72 at the time of election/appointment was also deemed appropriate for members of all FIFA bodies. The 76-year-old Blatter is currently engaged in his fourth mandate as FIFA president, with current regulations allowing for an unlimited number of four-year terms. European associations have called on FIFA to adopt the International Olympic Committee’s model for its presidency of a first term of eight years and a second and last term of four years. A FIFA working group has suggested a limit of two four-year terms for future presidents. “I am convinced that in Mauritius we will bring to an end our reform programme,” added Blatter. The push for more accountability and transparency within FIFA has followed the series of high-profile corruptions scandals which hit the governing body in 2010 and 2011.