Football

Fifa continue to fail in corruption probes

Blatter is still under scrutiny. (©GettyImages)
Blatter is still under scrutiny. (©GettyImages).

The incompetence of Fifa under the leadership of Sepp Blatter has been highlighted once again, after the chairman of the organisation's Independent Governance Committee branded previous investigations into corruption as 'ridiculous'.

Confidence in world football's governing body reached its nadir following Blatter's re-election last year, during which his was the only name on the ballot paper, while there have also been serious allegations of bribery amongst members.

This were centred, in the main, around Qatar being awarded the World Cup for 2022; a decision that was greeted with equal uproar and amazement, while also encouraging calls for an inquiry into the selection process.

Fifa has since been under increasing pressure to provide evidence that they are making good on their plans to reform, and the IGC was set-up last year in order to provide a review of the organisation's governance structures.

The IGC presented its findings last week, and suggested the introduction of a two-chamber ethics committee, while also recommending candidates running for office are scrutinised more greatly.

It also highlighted the failures of Fifa to properly investigate previous allegations of corruption among its members, or provide sufficient sanctions for those found guilty of misconduct.

Mark Pieth, chairman of the IGC, believes it is imperative their advice is heeded by Fifa, and would be prepared to leave them to their own devices, should the proposals not be implemented.

Pieth, a Swiss professor, is firm in the belief that Fifa have failed drastically when investigating in-house corruption, and has threatened to dig up former cases in order to ensure they correct punishments were delivered.

"The new body could go back 10 years into the past on any allegations of misconduct, be it a World Cup decision, an election of a president, hosting or marketing decisions. This is fundamental," Pieth told BBC Sport.

"This is a really tough tool and it is absolutely necessary for the future of this organisation. The rules are there. It is forbidden to bribe or be bribed.

"They were far less than proactive. Where people from among our groups with investigatorial backgrounds would say 'This is a situation where you have to ask further questions', they [Fifa] stopped asking questions.

"When they picked up cases, the sanctions that came out were lenient or ridiculous.

"I have said that if we cannot carry the process any further we would walk away, but I'm not making any prediction at this point because it would be the wrong moment.

"I'm hoping that things are moving forward."

These proposals have been accepted by Fifa's executive committee, but cannot be implemented before they have faced the Fifa Congress, which will be held in Budapest next month.

Fifa are not only under pressure from the IGC to be progressive, but the Council of Europe passed a draft resolution at a meeting the culture, science, education and media committee last month requesting an investigation to discover if Blatter has exploited his position of power.

Last year, the Swiss promised to publish a court dossier regarding the collapse into bankruptcy of FIFA's former marketing agency ISL some 11 years ago, and the Council of Europe added to the calls requesting him to do so.

The Council of Europe's resolution is debated on April 25, with parliamentarians from 47 member states set to meet in Strasbourg, and may encourage Blatter to finally divulge details.

Blatter, for his part, has claimed he wants to oversee reform in the organisation under his jurisdiction, and he must now prove he is serious about ridding Fifa of the toxic element that continues to tarnish its reputation.

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