FIFA’s clean-up drive could see three senior football officials named as having received kickbacks from a company that sold World Cup TV rights.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter today announced that the infamous ISL court dossier will be opened and handed to an independent body to study to see if any officials should face action.
For the last two years FIFA have helped block the publication of the court documents but Blatter told a press conference in Zurich that the dossier would now be handed over.
Blatter also announced a programme of reforms to be carried out over two years, including the vetting of committee members, changing statutes and strengthening the ethics committee, a watchdog body.
The details of the court case in Zug will have the most immediate impact on the world governing body. He laid out a two-year timetable for implementing the reforms. The court case in the Swiss canton of Zug involved FIFA’s now defunct marketing company ISL which was settled in 2009 after three parties, including FIFA, paid compensation of £2.9million on the understanding that the names would remain secret.
After advice from the pressure group Transparency International, Blatter has now decided to open it up to scrutiny. He said: “The executive committee has at my request agreed that in the meeting of December 16/17 we will reopen this file.
“If there are any measures to be taken they will not be taken by the executive committee – it is not the body that can take sanctions or release anyone – so we will give this file to an independent organisation outside of FIFA so they can delve into this file and extract its conclusions and present them to us.”
Blatter added: “The court has said there are people involved but no Swiss people, only foreign people.”
BBC Panorama reported in May that the court file shows Brazil’s FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira and former FIFA president Joao Havelange received payments. Paraguay’s FIFA member Nicolas Leoz was named in the court in 2008 as having received $130,000.
The reform timetable will see three task forces set up to propose and implement reforms over the next two years, and they will report to a new watchdog body called the ’good governance committee’.
Blatter also announced that members of FIFA’s 24-man executive committee would be “screened” but he denied that half of the current members were currently fighting corruption allegations.
He said: “The members are elected by the different confederations and in the future we will make a screening of the members.
“I don’t accept it when you say half of them are already in a situation when they should not serve, this is definitely not correct.
“Let us work for transparency, let us work for anti-corruption and let us go through the timetable we have now and look forward to how we manage that.”
The announcement of the reform process will disappoint some critics who had been looking for more details in the proposals, but Blatter insisted they were far-reaching.
He added: “We have been ambitious in our road map, it is a bit of a Formula One model.”
Transparency International’s sports adviser Sylvia Schenk insisted the announcement of the timetable of reform was “a very good result”.
She added: “But it is a first step. A starting point. After today they can’t go back. It will be a catastrophe if they go back.”
The new task forces will look at the FIFA statutes, the ethics committee, and transparency and compliance.
The good governance committee will be made up of 15 people and made up of people from within football and outside the game.
Blatter also confirmed his proposals made at the FIFA Congress in June for all 208 national associations to vote on World Cup hosts, instead of just the executive committee, and for a woman to be co-opted onto the executive committee.