Thursday, June 02, 2011

FIFA Ethics C'tee member says Blatter "has nothing to lose"

Australian television commentator, Les Murray, has expressed grave concerns about the integrity of FIFA, saying re-elected president Mr Sepp Blatter must "clean the place up" amid widespread corruption fears.

Mr Murray, who is a member of the FIFA ethics committee, labelled as "very, very serious" the turmoil within FIFA as Mr Blatter was re-elected unopposed following the suspension of rival candidate, Mr Mohamed bin Hammam, a FIFA Exco member and president of the Asian Football Confederation.

"There's certainly a justification for fearing that there is corruption at high levels because already, in the past six months, four members of the executive committee, the ultimate governing body of the sport, have gone down either banned or suspended and others are being investigated," he said.

"People are saying 'what the hell is going on?' It's very, very serious when that happens, and it's a worrying sign for everybody and I don't blame people for thinking that."

Interviewed by ABC Grandstand Sport, he said the organisation, under Mr Blatter, cannot continue operating as it has been.

"If it doesn't change it's going to go to pieces really, it can't sustain itself unless it undergoes, in my opinion, structural and constitutional change," he said.

"By structural I mean there has to be a freshening up of the people that are running the game, younger people coming in with clean hands and there has to be greater transparency, there has to be greater accountability and less of an opportunity for people to be corrupted.

"The question is ... 'is Sepp Blatter the man to do that?' and well, I don't know, but he's the one who's been elected with a very good majority."

At his post-election victory speech, Blatter vowed to steer the FIFA ship through this storm and deliver it safely into clearer waters.

"Fine words; let's see what the deeds are," Murray said. "The reality is Blatter has never been forced into a position where he had to say such words and admit to there being a crisis, even though he won't use that word, there is a crisis so he has to get FIFA out of this crisis.

"This last term of his presidency gives him a great opportunity to provide the leadership to make the reforms and to clean up the organisation because he no longer needs political allies to keep him in power at the next election.

"He doesn't need to work with people who may have dirty hands, so he's got nothing to lose and he can leave a fine legacy by cleaning the place up."

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