Fifa chief vows reform, spreads power
Zurich, June 1, 2011
The power to award World Cup hosting rights will in future be taken away from an elite group of executives and entrusted instead to Fifa's full 208-member congress, the sport's governing body's president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday as he strove to stem criticism of his wounded organisation.
In an artful address to delegates, the 75-year-old Swiss also said Fifa's Ethics Committee would be reinforced and empowered to punish any wrong-doers with its members selected by the full Congress as well.
World soccer's governing body has been left bloodied by a series of bribery and corruption allegations over the last few months, and Blatter said "the evils" affecting Fifa had stemmed from last December's decision to award 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
He said the situation Fifa now found itself in was "undignified" and, to applause from the hall, said he would work to prevent Fifa from ever being in this position again.
In the space of the few days leading up to the 61st congress, Qatar was tainted by suggestions it had bought the 2022 World Cup; the head of Asian soccer, Mohamed bin Hammam, and Concacaf chief Warner were suspended over bribery allegations; and Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential race, leaving Blatter to run unopposed.
A proposal by England to delay Wednesday's presidential election was earlier defeated by 172-17 votes.
The most revealing part of a fairly low-key speech from the usually more upbeat Swiss regarded the designation of future World Cups -- although none are due to be awarded until around 2017 or 2018 when the hosts for the 2026 finals will be allocated. - Reuters