Watchdog tells FIFA to bring FAs into line

FIFA needs to bring its member associations into line as well as cleaning up its own act, the man called in to head its new independent watchdog said on Wednesday.

Football's governing body has been plagued by allegations of corruption involving officials elected from their own regions over the last 18 months.

Mark Pieth, a professor in criminal law working for the independent Basel Institute of Governance, said FIFA could not be directly answerable for everything that went on in its member associations.

But he reckoned FIFA could use its development programmes as a financial carrot to bring federations into line.

"FIFA doesn't have the authority to tell them that 'you need to do this or that', but it distributes money and can motivate people saying 'you will get your money because you are following the rules,'" he said.

"Federations can't just take money like that, you have to account for it," he told Reuters after presenting a report outlining measures that FIFA should take to fight corruption and improve transparency.

Pieth added that FIFA should also ensure its own rules were enforced around the world such as in cases where African teams were suspected of fielding foreign-players who were not qualified to play for them.

"Many of these things seem to be a case of not following their own rules," he said.

However, he added it was impossible to completely stamp out corruption in a multinational organisation.

"It's like the United Nations, you have to live with the world you have," he said.

His report said that $794 million were spent on development programmes by FIFA such as the so-called Goal and "Win in" projects.

"The challenge is that FIFA has a responsibility for the proper use of these funds," said the report.

"Democracy on the level of a global governing body does not necessarily imply democracy at grass roots level in the individual member associations.

"One of the key challenges will be what influence FIFA can have in fostering good governance and democracy also in its member associations."

Recommended measures would include avoiding cash payments, only allow payments to bank accounts which are defined in formal agreements and ban payments to banks in a third country or to personal accounts.

"It is fundamental that - in particular in corruption-prone areas of the world - achievers in sports develop into role models as an alternative to corrupt politicians and businessmen," said the report.

"For that reason, it is crucial to keep the world of sports and sports officials clean."


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