December 19 - An anti-corruption panel advising FIFA has called on the Council of Europe to push for "urgent" reform at football's world governing body after suggesting its own efforts to bring about change were being blocked.
Amid a whirlwind of publicity, Swiss lawyer Mark Pieth (pictured top) was drafted in by FIFA almost a year ago to suggest ways of cleaning up its act and coming up with new transparency measures by next May at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius.
Pieth's trumpeted appointment followed the worst corruption year in FIFA history including the ISL bribery scandal, the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid saga and the fallout from Sepp Blatter's 2011 Presidential election victory.
But ahead of a Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Paris on sports governance, Pieth wrote: "It would be most welcome if the Committee of the Council of Europe could add its voice to those demanding urgent change.
"Currently there is some resistance to even such key suggestions, including from European associations."
Pieth said these included setting up detailed rules to vet candidates for future senior FIFA positions.
Former FIFA Presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam was scheduled to attend the session in Paris but withdrew after being banned for life and resigning following evidence of alleged "conflicts of interest" while he was head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Pieth could not attend either but Sylvia Schenk of Transparency International, whose organisation has long being critical of FIFA workings, did.
"One quarter of the whole [FIFA] Executive Committee – six of 24 – have been accused or suspended in corruption cases, or retired shortly before they would have been accused of corruption cases," said Schenk.
"They happened with the same people in power.
"If the past is not dealt with then FIFA will never come to peace.
"People don't believe in these structures and if they don't believe they won't follow the rules and that will be a big problem.
"You have to start with new people at the top to show that there will really be change.
"In FIFA that hasn't happened...FIFA's a monopoly [like] a closed shop."
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December 2012: Bin Hammam to attend Council of Europe FIFA meeting