World football boss Sepp Blatter must come clean on mounting concerns about the administration of the sport, according to Parliamentary Assembly expert François Rochebloine.
Rochebloine, the author of an assembly report published earlier this year on good governance and ethics in sport, is worried by the damage caused to the reputation of FIFA by new allegations of financial impropriety against FIFA.
In a statement published today, 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.
“Not only that, but FIFA itself – despite its claims to the contrary – appears to have done its utmost to prevent this dirty secret from seeing the light of day. This is an insult to the Beautiful Game and its legions of loyal fans around the world.
“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.
“FIFA President, Joseph Blatter, must now provide clear answers about this 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?
“I can suggest a good start: in a recent resolution, PACE adopted a comprehensive set of guidelines on good governance and ethics in sport. FIFA’s coming reforms should take full account of these to give the world body the greater transparency and accountability it sorely needs.
“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.”
Interview with François Rochebloine [fr]