Ethics committee member calls for FIFA overhaul

Ethics committee member calls for FIFA overhaul

Published May. 31, 2011 4:44 a.m. ET

The only Australian member of the FIFA ethics committee says football's world governing body urgently needs ''complete structural'' reform.

Veteran football broadcaster Les Murray, one of 13 members of the committee, attended Sunday's hearing at which executive committee members Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner were provisionally suspended amid bribery allegations.

''I think the reform has to be very deep ... there probably has to be complete structural and also constitutional reform,'' Murray was quoted as saying in Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald. ''The structure of the organization at the moment is too political. Decisions are based on political motives, and that's not healthy for any organization. That simply has to change.''

Asian Football Confederation president bin Hammam, who withdrew from FIFA presidential race hours before the Ethics Committee meeting on Sunday, FIFA vice president Warner and two other Caribbean officials have been stood down pending an investigation.


Sepp Blatter, who also appeared before the ethics committee's meeting Sunday, was cleared of wrongdoing, allowing him to stay on as FIFA president. The 75-year-old Blatter is the only candidate for election in Wednesday's presidential vote.

Murray said Blatter must follow through with a promise of reform.

''The platform he is going to run or announce on Wednesday will tell us what his program is, but whether it's Sepp Blatter or somebody else, I hope the president of FIFA understands the massive image problem that FIFA has and has to go about pro-actively fixing it,'' Murray told the newspaper in an interview from Zurich.

The SBS TV presenter and football analyst said FIFA's ethics committee had a ''good track record'' in dealing with allegations of corruption.

''So far, four FIFA executive committee members have been provisionally suspended. These are not little junior officials either, these are some of football's most powerful men,'' Murray said. ''Nobody is taboo when it comes to being brought before the committee.''

A day after an Australian lawmarker urged the federarl government to seek a refund from FIFA for the $46 million it spent on bidding for the 2022 World Cup, Murray said FIFA had an image problem.

And Blatter has conceded that the latest bribery allegations had done ''great damage'' to football as the scandal spread to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

But during an impromptu news conference late Monday in Zurich, an intense Blatter denied FIFA was in crisis.

He was speaking a a day after bin Hammam and Warner were sidelined over allegations that Caribbean football leaders were paid $40,000 each to back bin Hammam's now-abandoned presidential bid.

''Crisis? What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis,'' Blatter said during a spirited and sometimes raucous news conference. ''We are not in a crisis, we are only in some difficulties and these difficulties will be solved - and they will be solved inside this family.''