Blatter Wants to Release Controversial FIFA Documents

October 19, 2011

FIFA president, Sepp Blatter is set to release documents that could show proof that senior officials took bribes in a bid to convince the public that the organisation is willing to submit to reforms.

Blatter is preparing for a important executive committee meeting in Zurich on Thursday at which he will advance a “zero tolerance” agenda that he hopes will convince FIFA’s many critics that he is serious about reform.

One plan under consideration is to deal with the past by allowing Swiss courts to release the controversial documents according to the BBC. FIFA has contained the details of this document from being made public.

But there is a growing acceptance in Zurich that Blatter’s only hope of survival is to acknowledge the mistakes of the past, even at the risk of enraging those who remain on the executive committee who may possibly be implicated.

Last November, days before the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the BBC’s Panorama programme alleged that $100m had been paid between 1991 and 2001 by International Sports and Leisure (ISL) in kickbacks to officials in return for TV and marketing contracts. It alleged that the Fifa executive committee members Nicolás Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Issa Hayatou were among the recipients. All three denied the claims.

Teixeira, who is under renewed investigation from Brazilian police over money‑laundering claims related to the payments, was alleged to have received £6m ($9.5m) in bribes via a company called Sanud that was registered in Liechtenstein, although he denies the allegations.

ISL was declared bankrupt in May 2001 but the fallout continued until June last year, when the second of two Swiss court cases ended with an agreement by lawyers acting for Fifa and the officials in question to pay 5.5m Swiss francs to settle the case.

The prosecutor in the canton of Zug said last year: “In the course of the proceedings, the accused did not deny the receipt of the monies, although they denied criminal liability.” Corporate bribery was not a crime in Switzerland before 2001. At the time Fifa said: “It is important to recall that the decision was made on matters which took place prior to the year 2000 and that there has been no court conviction against Fifa. In addition the Fifa president has been cleared of any wrongdoing in this matter.”

Blatter will go to the executive committee to release the papers as he believes it willshow he is serious about his reform agenda. Other plans include making the ethics committee more independent, introducing a “solutions committee” to oversee reform and reform of the executive committee itself.

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