Blatter has questions to answer over kickbacks

FIFA President Joseph Blatter has questions to answer over kickbacks, said François Rochebloine, author of a recent report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on good governance and ethics in sport.

FIFA-President-Joseph-Blatter

FIFA President Joseph Blatter

Reacting to the publication of Swiss court documents, Mr. Rochebloine said: “At last, under pressure from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and others, FIFA has made public the details of a shocking scandal at the heart of world football: millions of Swiss Francs rightfully belonging to the sport went into the pockets of some of its most senior administrators.”

Mr. Rochebloine blamed FIFA for apparently trying to hide the scandal. “This is an insult to the Beautiful Game and its legions of loyal fans around the world,” he said. “If FIFA managers – including its current President – were aware of these bribes, they should have been doing everything in their power to prosecute, rather than protect, the officials concerned.”

Mr. Rochebloine asked Mr. Blatter to provide clear answers about the affair. “When exactly did he become aware of these payments? Why did FIFA hide wrongdoing and fail to take action against its perpetrators? Above all, what steps will he now take to stop this happening again?” Mr. Rochebloine asked.

He suggested to FIFA to take into account a comprehensive set of guidelines on good governance and ethics in sport recently approved by PACE.

“FIFA’s coming reforms should take full account of these to give the world body the greater transparency and accountability it sorely needs,” Mr. Rochebloine said. “The essence of football – as for any sport – is the concept of fair play. Players and fans know this, yet some of those who run football seem to have forgotten it.”