Sceptical Europe tells Fifa to dig into Blatter election

A Council of Europe committee on Wednesday called for Fifa president Sepp Blatter to be investigated over his uncontested victory in last year’s Fifa presidential election.

A committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) says further light should be shone on Blatter’s election success, which came after his sole rival, Mohamed bin Hammam, dropped out of the race due to bribery allegations.

Bin Hammam was later banned from the sport for life, after being found guilty of trying to buy votes from Caribbean football officials by Fifa’s ethics committee.

“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,” read a draft resolution released by the PACE Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.

The resolution called for Fifa to “cast full light on the facts underlying the various scandals which, in recent years, have tarnished its image and that of international football”.

There was also a recommendation that the “investigative powers of the ethics committee … should be significantly increased”.

The committee went on to call for Fifa to “publish in full any judicial and other documents relating to the case of Swiss sports promoter ISL [International Sports and Leisure], whose collapse in 2001 gave rise to allegations of kickbacks to Fifa officials in return for television rights”.

ISL acquired exclusive broadcasting rights at a succession of World Cups but in 2010 the BBC accused the company of giving payments to a number of Fifa officials, including Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Issa Hayatou.

In December, Blatter said he intended to publish files that named officials implicated in the ISL affair but revealed that legal measures were being taken “by one of the parties involved”.

The PACE committee was meeting in Paris to approve a report entitled Good governance and ethics in sport written by French politician Francois Rochebloine. — Sapa-AFP

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