Fifa urged to open up
Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International have advised FIFA to make comprehensive changes to their governance after warning that public trust in the sport's world governing body was "at an all-time low" following a series of scandals.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter approached TI for advice in the wake of recent controversies, the most high-profile of which saw presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam being banned from all football activity for life after his involvement in a cash-for-votes scandal.
TI have recommended in an eight-page document released today that an independent group be formed, which would include "supporters, clubs, players, media, sponsors and civil society" to look into existing corruption allegations concerning FIFA.
TI's senior advisor on sport Sylvia Schenk has called on FIFA to immediately act on the recommendations of the report, entitled 'Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA'.
"FIFA says it wants to reform, but successive bribery scandals have left public trust in it at an all-time low," Schenk said.
"Working with an oversight group - taking its advice, giving it access, letting it participate in investigations - will show whether there is going to be real change.
"The process has to start now.
"When an organisation says it wants to change, TI stands ready to provide constructive advice. Now that we have laid out clear, straightforward steps, it's up to FIFA to prove its commitment to transparency and accountability."
TI also recommend that the independent group should be tasked with introducing new procedures to ensure transparency, as well as looking into term limits for senior positions.
Current president Sepp Blatter has begun his fourth term after Bin Hammam pulled out of the June 1 election following the bribery allegations against him. He intends to appeal against the life ban imposed by FIFA's ethics committee at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIFA welcomed the recommendations in a statement this morning and claimed many of the points detailed were already being implemented.
"The FIFA President, who welcomes the contact with TI and acknowledges their input, insists that especially after the FIFA Congress on 1 June 2011, FIFA remains committed to the task of continuing to improve its organisation, with a strong focus on increasing transparency and acting with zero tolerance against any form of corruption," the statement read.
"In this regard, FIFA is pleased to note that several of the best practices and recommendations made by the TI report are already being implemented by FIFA, and that others have been approved by the 2011 FIFA Congress for their implementation in the coming months."