FIFA president Blatter unveils reforms

President Sepp Blatter revealed on Friday his long-awaited plan to reform FIFA, with the announcement headlined by the decision to re-open the infamous case concerning the collapse of former marketing partner ISL.

Blatter, who was re-elected for a fourth term in office on the pledge that he would clean up the corruption plagued governing body, also announced the creation of a ‘Committee Good Governance’ along with three new task forces. The Committee Good Governance, which will be established at the next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in December, will oversee reforms undertaken by FIFA. It will comprise of representatives not only from the international football family but also from other spheres. However, Blatter stated he has dropped his controversial plan to invite figures such as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and opera singer Placido Domingo to join this panel.

The three task forces would investigate changes to the FIFA statutes, changes to the ethics committee and means to make FIFA more transparent. They will be added to an existing task force charged with the task of making football more attractive ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. “I believe we have been rather ambitious in our road map, it’s a Formula One model, but we need to move forward,” Blatter told a press conference. “I feel very fulfilled and happy that the executive committee is completely in step with what we want to achieve with the national associations.”

Blatter added: “The good governance committee is a bit of a watchdog and will allow us in 2013, maybe even before, to present an image slightly better than the one we have currently. We want a fair image, which displays the will of the FIFA leadership to not dwell on the past, to face up to its problems and find solutions. Tackling problems is not enough, we need to find solutions. When FIFA is attacked, the president is attacked and I have to defend the institution and myself. I hope this transparency will help put our past concerns behind us.”

Regarding the ISL case, which revolved around the fallout from the collapse of FIFA’s former marketing partner in 2001, Blatter stated that it is his intention to release the case’s full dossier. However, this will only be done after a thorough legal analysis because of the complexity of the matter. The case will be opened at December’s Executive Committee meeting before being given to an independent body for further examination. The BBC’s Panorama programme in November reported that documents relating to a criminal investigation into the ISL collapse are believed to show that senior FIFA officials were paid bribes in return for handing the company lucrative World Cup broadcast and sponsorship rights during the 1990s.

Blatter stated: “This is an issue which has been raised by the national associations and members of FIFA. The executive committee of FIFA has decided that this case should be opened. We will therefore give this file to an independent organisation on the outside of FIFA. That is all I can tell you on this famous ISL file.”

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