By David Owen

sepp blatter_06-12-11December 6 - Sepp Blatter (pictured) has suffered a new setback in his drive to reform world football's governing body.

The FIFA President has been forced to delay plans to reopen a court dossier relating to the collapse of a former FIFA marketing partner.

Blatter dramatically announced in October that the so-called ISL file would be re-opened at FIFA's forthcoming Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo on December 17.

It would then, he said, be handed to "an independent organisation outside of FIFA" so they could "delve into this file and extract its conclusions and present them to us".

As foreseen exclusively by insidethegames yesterday, however, Blatter has now been forced to abandon this timetable.

According to FIFA, legal measures taken by an involved party "request another thorough legal analysis which will postpone the envisaged publication of the ISL file".

The involved party has not been identified, but it seems logical to think it would be somebody named in the file.

This is understood to identify officials said to have received payments from ISL, which collapsed in 2001 with debts of $300 million (£192 million/€224 million).

Joo Havelange_06-12-11
João Havelange (pictured), Blatter's predecessor as FIFA President, recently resigned from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), citing health reasons, rather than face the prospect of being sanctioned over allegations that he received $1 million (£640,000/€747,000) from ISL.

These allegations were broadcast on BBC's Panorama in November 2010.

There is no suggestion though that Havelange is the party referred to in today's FIFA statement.

Blatter today insisted that he remained "fully committed" to publishing the files "as soon as possible".

He said: "FIFA has been working intensively over the past few weeks with its lawyers and legal team to be able to publish the ISL file at the next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in Japan on 17 December 2011.

"It was my strong will to make the ISL file fully transparent at this meeting.

"I have now been advised that as a result of the objection of a third party to such transparency it will take more time to overcome the respective legal hurdles.

"This does not change my stance at all.

"I remain fully committed to publishing the files as soon as possible as an important part of my many reform plans for FIFA, which include handling the past as well as preparing the future structure of the organisation."

ISL remains on the agenda for the Tokyo meeting, which was published today.

It also includes a request from four confederations to amend play-off dates in the preliminary competition for the 2014 World Cup.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
December 2011: David Owen - When all is said and done, Havelange was one of the towering figures of 20th century sport
December 2011: Havelange is "man all Brazilians should be proud of" says head of Rio 2016
December 2011: Havelange resigns from IOC after nearly half-a-century as member to avoid expulsion
November 2011: Brazilian legend pushes Sepp Blatter for release of FIFA documents
November 2011: Blatter hints at FIFA departures from the "football family"