Australia: Blatter must be keep word on reform

SYDNEY - FIFA president Sepp Blatter must be held to account on his promise to reform football's world governing body after his re-election in the midst of a major corruption scandal, Australia's sports minister said on Thursday.

Australia is still smarting after its A$45 million ($47.7m) bid to host the 2022 World Cup garnered just one solitary vote in last December's ballot of the 22-man FIFA executive committee.

Blatter was re-elected unopposed on Wednesday for a fourth four-year term as FIFA president and immediately pushed through changes designed to make the choice of World Cup hosts more democratic and beef up the fight against corruption.

The European Club Association (ECA) led calls for Blatter to implement further reforms and Mark Arbib added his voice to the chorus on Thursday, saying FIFA needed to follow the example of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"Reform is necessary," he told ABC radio. "What FIFA requires is action that took place in the IOC after Salt Lake City when the IOC cleaned up its game and that is exactly what FIFA now requires.

"And of course the voting members of FIFA need to ensure that president Blatter is held to his word.

"He has said he will reform the organisation and it's time for that to take place."

The IOC made major changes to its bidding process after the 1998 corruption scandal surrounding the selection of Salt Lake City to host the 2002 Winter Games.

The scandal which has hit FIFA over the last month centres on Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Mohamed Bin Hammam's ultimately aborted campaign to take on Blatter in the presidential election.

It has also, however, re-ignited the debate over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup finals to Bin Hammam's home country Qatar.


The head of the influential German Football Association, Theo Zwanziger, said FIFA could not afford to ignore any suspicions of corruption in the process. Qatar's bid team strongly deny any wrongdoing.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley confirmed Australia had voted against the English FA's motion to delay Blatter's re-election and said he was confident the Swiss would implement reforms.

"Well certainly the language coming from the president and the rest of the FIFA executives today was positive in that it would look to reform the decision-making process, particularly around the World Cup," he told ABC.

"There's a strong willingness for FIFA to look at the governance practices and that's a good step in the right direction."

Bin Hammam had been due to stand against Blatter on Wednesday but withdrew his candidacy before facing an ethics committee hearing into the bribery allegations.

The Qatari and Jack Warner, his counterpart in the North, Central American and Caribbean governing body CONCACAF, were accused of arranging to pay delegates of the Caribbean Football Union $40,000 in cash to vote for Bin Hammam.

Both were suspended over the allegations but FIFA's Ethics Committee cleared Blatter. The case against Trinidadian Warner and Bin Hammam, who have denied any wrongdoing, will be heard in July.