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Fifa setting standards for world sport

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PORT LOUIS — Fifa has emerged from one of the most troubled periods in its history and is now setting the highest standards for governance in world sport, Fifa president Sepp Blatter said yesterday.

Reuters

Making his presidential address to delegates from 208 of the world governing body’s 209 members at the 63rd Fifa Congress, Blatter said the wide-ranging reform process started two years had changed the organisation, but the modifications and fights against racism and the scourge of match-fixing went on.

“We have been through a difficult time, it has been a test for the world of football and for those who live in it,” the 77-year-old Swiss said.

“As the captain, I am pleased to say we have weathered the storm.

“We have emerged from the troubled waters stronger and now we can look forwards to the future and waters as calm as the beautiful sea around us in Mauritius and I think the boat can now go slowly into the harbour.”

Blatter, who initiated the reform process after the crises that enveloped the organisation in the wake of the joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and the scandal that surrounded the presidential election in 2011, said no matter what critics said, Fifa had reacted to those problems.

“Yes we had to change, we had to answer tough questions and we had to fight resistance even within our own community for the better of the game. It hurt, but like a football team, we persevered and it paid dividends,” he added.

“These sweeping and hard-hitting reforms will change our orgnisation for the better and places Fifa at the forefront of governance standards in the world of sport.

“There are those who have openly criticised what we are doing as if it would have been better to do nothing and leave things as they were. And there are those who say we have not gone far enough — that we have evaded the difficult decisions and buried our heads in the sand.

“There are a few finally, who criticise us no matter what we are doing. But we needed to change, to reinforce our defences and protect the future of the game. It would be a lie to say it was easy . . . it was not easy. But now we have the chance to make history by passing these reforms.”

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