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Blatter announces anti-corruption initiatives

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Fifa president Sepp Blatter has announced a number of measures to combat corruption in football and help clean up the game’s image following the presidential election bribery scandal which rocked the governing body in June.

Blatter, who was re-elected unopposed as president in June, approved the creation of a new “good governance committee”, which will include figures from outside Fifa and three task forces to help rid the game of corruption.

The good governance committee will consist of representatives from clubs, leagues, players, referees and women’s football, among others. The three task forces will have powers to look into Fifa statutes, the ethics committee and they would also help to make Fifa more transparent.

Blatter’s proposals were accepted by the executive committee during its meeting in Zurich on Friday. However, there were changes to plans which would have seen the involvement of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on one of the committees.

“I have to apologise because I did mention some big names at the Congress, but the former Secretary of State will not be in this governance committee, because we want to have someone who is active in politics now — a member of parliament or a minister, involved in the day-to-day work,” Blatter told the Press.

“I think we have been rather ambitious in our roadmap, it’s a Formula One model, but we need to move forward. I feel very fulfilled, very happy that the executive committee is completely in step with what we want to achieve with the national associations.

“We are moving forward with a Fifa, thanks to the good governance committee, which is a bit of a watchdog and will allow us in 2013, maybe even before, to present an image slightly better than the one we have currently.

“We want a fair image, which shows the will of the Fifa leadership to not dwell on the past, to face up to its problems and find solutions. Tackling problems isn’t enough, we need to find solutions. When Fifa is attacked, the president is attacked and I have to defend the institution and myself, I hope this transparency will help us put our past concerns behind us.”

Blatter’s action plan of making Fifa more transparent was welcomed by Transparency International (TI), the anti-corruption organisation that has pushed Fifa into making reforms.

“Transparency International was optimistic that Fifa would deliver on its promise to investigate the past and introduce reforms. This is a very important first step,” said Sylvia Schenk, senior adviser for sport at TI.

“But it is just the beginning. They have addressed several key issues, but there is still a lot of work to do to restore credibility and we will have to wait until December to see how far and how quickly they act.

“It will be a big challenge to implement the reforms and it will require a change of culture in the whole world of football.”

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