Following the announcement by Swiss and US investigators of criminal proceedings against FIFA for alleged money laundering in connection with the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and allegations of “systematic” corruption in the United States and Latin America, Transparency International has said Sepp Blatter must now stand down and upcoming presidential elections suspended.
In a statement, Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International said:
“The warning signs for FIFA have been there for a long time. FIFA has refused to abide by many basic standards of good governance that would reduce the risk of corruption.
“These scandals have taken place under Sepp Blatter’s watch of FIFA, which spans almost two decades. For the sake of the fans, and good governance of football, it is time for him to step down. The elections for president are not credible if they are tainted with these allegations by the highest prosecuting authorities.
“Blatter must stand down and new elections called to mark a new era of FIFA leadership. At the same time there must be full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest and the pay of the executive committee members. Their hands need to be clean and seen to be clean.”
In 2011, Transparency International published “Safe Hands” on the measures that FIFA should take including dealing with historic issues. These measures included enhanced anti-bribery measures on areas of high risk such as:
- Awarding World Cup Hosting Rights
- Financial support for member federations
- Payments to officials
- TV and sponsorship contracts
- Ticket sales and distribution
- Intermediaries acting on FIFA’s behalf
In the past month leading up to the FIFA Presidential Elections, Transparency International conducted a poll with Football Addicts on its Forza Football app to find out what fans thought about FIFA. 35,000 in 30 countries responded: Four out of five said Sepp Blatter should not stand in the presidential elections and 69 per cent said they did not have confidence in FIFA.
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