FIFA corruption probe must move quickly, says IOC official

November 3, 2010

One of the International Olympic Committee’s most senior officials said soccer’s rulers must act quickly and decisively to avoid being tainted by corruption allegations surrounding the World Cup.

Craig Reedie, seek who last year became the first Briton on the IOC’s 15-member board in more than 60 years, said FIFA could learn from the way the Olympics organizer dealt with the Salt Lake City bribery scandal.

Two of the 24 men due to vote on where the World Cup, the most-watched sports event, will be staged in 2018 and 2022 have been suspended pending an inquiry after they allegedly told undercover reporters their votes could be bought.

The IOC, which has about 100 members, forced out 10 officials accused of accepting bribes during Salt Lake’s successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games. Ten others received reprimands.

“FIFA have to deal with it and deal with it quickly,” Reedie, who was on the IOC during the bribery probe, said in an interview yesterday.

He added: “It was without doubt the worst day I ever had in sport to actually go through the business of disciplining and expelling members. It was a hugely unpopular and difficult thing to do.”

IOC President Jacques Rogge said October 26 that FIFA President Sepp Blatter has asked for advice since the Sunday Times of London on October 17 accused FIFA board members Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti of offering to trade their votes for cash.

An investigation has also been opened into allegations of collusion between Qatar’s 2022 bid committee and a joint offer from Spain and Portugal for 2018.

FIFA’s ethics committee will announce its findings November 17. England, Russia and a joint bid from the Netherlands and Belgium are also in the running for 2018.

As well as expelling members, the IOC introduced reforms including a ban on member visits to bid cities, and tighter rules on potential conflicts of interest. It also created an ethics commission, which has a majority of officials who aren’t affiliated to the IOC.

Members include former United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and Thomas Buergenthal, an American judge who until September served on the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Reedie said: “I think if you’re going to have an ethics commission it’s proper that you should have an outside body looking at your affairs.”

FIFA’s ethics panel is led by former Swiss soccer player turned lawyer Claudio Sulser and includes officials from 13 other soccer federations.

Reedie said an undercover investigation by the British Broadcasting Corp in 2004 into IOC executives ahead of their vote was an “uncomfortable experience” for the team that won the right to stage the 2012 Summer Games in London.

He added he was “not comfortable” with entrapment by newspapers, “but it is not illegal in Britain and if there are accusations then FIFA have to deal with it, and deal with it firmly.”

Reedie, who’s also on the board of the 2012 organizing committee said: “One of the challenges we had in the London bidding situation was the international perception of the British media.”

Reedie, from Scotland, isn’t in England’s bid team.