Report: FIFA investigations unsatisfactory

Report: FIFA investigations unsatisfactory

A report by FIFA’s anti-corruption adviser today criticised past investigations by the governing body, but stopped short of calling for probes into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to be reopened.

Swiss professor Mark Pieth’s report was presented to FIFA’s executive committee today, where he branded as “unsatisfactory” past investigations into corruption, with the sanctions imposed both “insufficient and clearly unconvincing”.

FIFA have responded by agreeing to a revamped ethics committee to be set up, and a separate compliance and audit committee.

A decision on proposals to scrap the British FIFA vice-presidency have been deferred to next year, however.

The new two-chamber ethics committee – one part to investigate allegations and the other part to judge cases – will also vet FIFA officials, while the audit and compliance committee will set the salaries for FIFA executives and have other financial controls.

The chairmen of both chambers of the ethics committee will be independent - they will be chosen by the FIFA Congress in May from a list of nominations put together by Pieth.

A series of corruption allegations have rocked FIFA over the last 18 months concerning both World Cup bidding and last year’s presidential election, which led to candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam being banned for life.

The report by the Independent Governance Committee (IGC), the body headed by Pieth set up last year to recommend reform proposals, was published today and states: “The IGC has received documents and has conducted a hearing on the ways FIFA has been dealing with past misconduct.

“Clearly, the existing procedures are – in the opinion of the IGC and the relevant Task Force – insufficient to meet the challenges of a major global sport governing body.

“This has led to unsatisfactory reactions to persistent allegations.

“In particular, the IGC has identified a lack of proactive and systematic investigation of allegations.

“In some instances, allegations were insufficiently investigated and where sanctions were imposed, they are at times insufficient and clearly unconvincing.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter responded by announcing the new committees.

He added: “The executive committee unanimously agreed to this new approach in our efforts for more transparency and integrity.

“The new ethics committee will have the possibility to initiate investigation in case of credible allegations.”

Pieth’s IGC team looked at how FIFA had investigated former FA and England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman’s allegations of impropriety by a number of FIFA members during the campaign – the governing body ruled in May there was no case to answer.

They also looked at the investigations in allegations about the so-called whistleblower, who made and then retracted claims that Qatar had paid bribes to FIFA members of the 2022 World Cup.

The International FA Board, the game’s law-making body, will be asked to bring in its own reforms to make it more democratic.

It currently comprises of the four British associations, who have one vote each, and FIFA, who have four.

Blatter added: “The IFAB is valuable and we will ask IFAB to make a reform itself for a more democratic, clear transparent structure.

“We don’t want to take it away, we want to take it inside the FIFA structure.”

Blatter was asked what would happen to IFAB and the other British privileges if Scotland voted for independence in a 2013 referendum.

He replied: “Who can foresee the future and history of what will happen with Scotland and some other countries?”

Britain’s current FIFA vice-president is Jim Boyce from Northern Ireland – the other three associations have admitted the time may have come for the position to be scrapped.

Boyce confirmed, however, that there would be no move on that until next year, saying: “There is no doubt that was discussed by the task force but nothing more will develop on it this year.

“I have had no official views expressed to me by the British associations but I have read various reports in the press.

“I am here to express the views of the four British associations and also to work for the good of football.”

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