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Home » Sport » Football

Corruption watchdog urges FIFA to reform

FIFA needs to reform its "opaque" governing structure to rebuild trust among fans after two corruption scandals, anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International recommended on Tuesday.

"Throughout its history, the workings of football's governing body have been opaque," TI said in a 12-page report detailing its recommendations.

"People across the world, in all walks of life, are calling for an end to 'business as usual' ... If FIFA wants to rebuild trust it must embrace transparency," it said.

FIFA has been broiled in two separate bribery scandals in the past year, for the selection of the World Cup host countries in December 2010 and the election of its president this June.

Among its many recommendations TI said that FIFA would need to review its code of conduct, for example by ensuring officials disclose their potential conflicts of interest and developing guidelines on gift-giving.

"With this code, FIFA should make a statement that it intends to embody high standards of integrity and enforce a zero-tolerance approach to bribery of any nature," it said.

TI also recommended the federation of national football associations reform its governance, including the way officials are appointed, instituting term limits and increasing transparency in its financial transactions and the way key decisions are made.

"A new era for FIFA requires a review of its internal governance and the introduction of transparency and accountability into its decision-making processes and operations," TI said.

"Football's governing body must be an example of the fair play that it promotes on the pitch," it said.

In a statement, FIFA said it "welcomed" the recommendations, and that it was "committed to the task of continuing to improve its organisation .... and acting with zero tolerance against any form of corruption" and that many of the recommendations were already in place".

TI, however, was less sanguine.

Because of the current structure of the organisation, it is "unlikely that change will come either from within the organisation or from the grassroots of the football organisations", TI said.

"This challenge can only be undertaken if FIFA's leadership is clearly committed to reform," it concluded.


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