Ethics member says FIFA needs 'deep' reform

Australian member of Ethics Committee says FIFA is 'too political' but that his panel has a good record on corruption.

    Murray said that FIFA needed to recognise that it had a 'massive image problem' [GALLO/GETTY]

    A member of FIFA's Ethics Committee says the organisation needs "complete structural reform" if it is to regain credibility.

    Veteran Australian football broadcaster Les Murray, one of 13 members of the committee, attended Sunday's hearing at which Executive Committee members Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner were provisionally suspended amid bribery allegations.

    "I think the reform has to be very deep ... there probably has to be complete structural and also constitutional reform," Murray was quoted as saying in Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald.

    "The structure of the organisation at the moment is too political. Decisions are based on political motives, and that's not healthy for any organisation. That simply has to change."

    Asian Football Confederation president Bin Hammam, who withdrew from the FIFA presidential race hours before the Ethics Committee meeting on Sunday, FIFA vice president Warner and two other Caribbean officials have been stood down pending an investigation.

    Sepp Blatter, who also appeared before the ethics committee's meeting on Sunday, was cleared of wrongdoing, allowing him to stay on as FIFA president.

    Blatter combative

    Blatter began a week in which he should be re-elected for a fourth term in combative mood, berating media for their lack of manners and giving Qatar's hosting of the World Cup his public backing.

    FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke earlier issued a statement denying he meant to suggest anything corrupt about the Qatar bid for 2022.

    "We are not in a crisis, we are only in some difficulties, and these difficulties will be solved. And they will be solved inside this family"

    Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

    Warner had earlier on Monday revealed a private email from Valcke in which the suggestion was written.

    Qatar issued a flat denial of any wrongdoing and Valcke later said he only meant that the Gulf state's financial muscle meant they were able to mount an effective lobbying campaign.

    Qatar received further support from Blatter at his dramatic evening news conference, with the president saying FIFA had received no evidence that there were issues with the process to choose the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

    Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss who has run football's world governing body since 1998 and seen it grow wealthy on the sale of TV rights and sponsorship, will run unopposed in Wednesday's election following Bin Hammam's withdrawal on Sunday.

    That came hours before the Qatari was suspended along with Warner over an allegation that Bin Hammam paid Caribbean delegates $40,000 to vote for him instead of Blatter.

    Murray said Blatter must follow through with a promise of reform.

    'Image problem'

    "The platform he is going to run or announce on Wednesday will tell us what his program is, but whether it's Sepp Blatter or somebody else, I hope the president of FIFA understands the massive image problem that FIFA has and has to go about pro-actively fixing it," Murray told the newspaper in an interview from Zurich.

    The SBS TV presenter and football analyst said FIFA's ethics committee had a "good track record" in dealing with allegations of corruption.

    "So far, four FIFA executive committee members have been provisionally suspended. These are not little junior officials either, these are some of football's most powerful men," Murray said.

    "Nobody is taboo when it comes to being brought before the committee."

    On Monday an Australian politician urged the federal government to seek a refund from FIFA for the $46 million it spent on bidding for the 2022 World Cup, one of many attacks on FIFA made during the day.

    And Blatter has conceded that the latest bribery allegations had done "great damage" to football.

    During a news conference late Monday in Zurich, an intense Blatter denied FIFA was in crisis.

    "Crisis? What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis," Blatter said during a spirited and sometimes raucous conference.

    "We are not in a crisis, we are only in some difficulties and these difficulties will be solved – and they will be solved inside this family."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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