FIFA Ethics Adviser Criticizes Europeans; President Sepp Blatter Angry At UEFA
FIFA’s adviser on ethics and transparency Mark Pieth accused UEFA of "trying to water down his reform agenda," and said that British and German leaders of the sport "were compromising their once high-minded stance on corruption," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Pieth, appointed by FIFA President Sepp Blatter to help clean up the world governing body’s sullied reputation in the wake of bribery and corruption allegations, said that UEFA members "were backtracking on recommendations such as limits to terms of office and integrity checks on nominations for senior FIFA posts." FIFA’s ethics advisory panel, the Independent Governance Committee, "issued a progress report on Friday in which it reiterated the need for these and other recommendations to be adopted." Committee Chair Pieth said he was "not happy with UEFA." Pieth pointed the finger at Britain and Germany -- both of which had "previously been in the forefront of the international clamour for FIFA reform" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/8).
BLATTER FIRES BACK: REUTERS' Mike Collett reported Blatter "took a swipe" at UEFA for what he said "were attempts to block his reform process" to make FIFA "more transparent and less prone to corruption." UEFA rejected a proposal to limit FIFA exec committee members to two four-year mandates and "called for the FIFA president to serve a maximum of 12 years instead of the eight put forward by the IGC." Blatter said that it was UEFA's job "to consult" its national associations, not to issue their "own declaration on the proposals." Blatter said, "And I'm surprised because it did not seem like a consultation, it seemed like was decision-making from UEFA where the national associations have signed a declaration against this." Blatter "was also angry that UEFA appeared to take a stand against security checks FIFA wants to introduce for anyone being elected to the executive committee, following a series of high-profile scandals involving FIFA officials." All the referees and linesmen on the FIFA list "have to have one and sign a document which is recognised by their national association." Blatter said, "So if it is good enough for FIFA referees, why should it not be the same for the FIFA executive committee and all the members of FIFA?" (REUTERS, 2/10). The AP reported Blatter expressed his surprise Sunday at public criticism of football's governing body by its own anti-corruption advisers and said that "they were sometimes working outside their mandate." Blatter said, "From time to time I realized that it is a deviation of the original objective and they are not coming with solutions, not recommendations, they are coming with decisions that we have (to take) ... and we must. But that is not what we have asked for. We have asked to give us solutions and we bring these solutions to the (FIFA) Congress" (AP, 2/10).