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PACE committee seeks to throw light on scandals at ‘tarnished’ FIFA

Strasbourg, 07.03.2012 – Football’s governing body FIFA should open an internal investigation into whether the candidates in its recent election for President – and particularly the successful candidate – exploited their institutional positions to obtain “unfair advantages for themselves or for potential voters”, according to a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

PACE’s Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, meeting yesterday in Paris to approve a report on “Good governance and ethics in sport” by François Rochebloine (France, EPP/CD), also insisted that FIFA publish in full any judicial and other documents relating to the case of Swiss sports promoter ISL, whose collapse in 2001 gave rise to allegations of kickbacks to FIFA officials in return for television rights. Thomas Hildbrand, the Swiss special prosecutor dealing with the case, attended the meeting and briefed the committee in depth on the latest developments.

In a draft resolution adopted unanimously, the committee said FIFA should “cast full light on the facts underlying the various scandals which, in recent years, have tarnished its image and that of international football”. The investigative powers of its Ethics Committee, in particular, should be significantly increased, the parliamentarians said.

The committee’s text will now go forward for debate by the full Assembly, which brings together 318 parliamentarians from the 47 Council of Europe member states, provisionally on 25 April, during its spring plenary session in Strasbourg.

In the same report, the committee also proposed a comprehensive set of guidelines on good governance and ethics in sport, including on combating corruption, for international and national sports bodies as well as governments to apply.