Blatter faces test of his resolve to clean up Fifa

Executive meeting could reveal which officials received kickbacks dating back to 1990s

Sepp Blatter is preparing to deliver long-awaited reforms to try to repair football's battered reputation, and the Fifa president may start by finally naming the senior officials accused of taking kickbacks in the 1990s.

Blatter promised zero tolerance of corruption after winning a fourth – and final – four-year term of office in June in an election that was rocked by the worst bribery scandal in the governing body's history.

That scandal in the Caribbean, which Blatter was accused of helping orchestrate to ensure victory, removed continental presidents Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner from the governing body Fifa's high command, and added to allegations of vote-rigging, secret payments, ticket scams and unethical favours that have long shrouded Fifa.

Now, the case of Fifa's former marketing agency, which collapsed in 2001, has come under renewed scrutiny in Switzerland and Brazil. The issue threatens to cast harsh light on Blatter's predecessor, Joao Havelange; the head of Brazil's 2014 World Cup organisers, Ricardo Teixeira; and two more continental bosses, Nicolas Leoz and Issa Hayatou.

Blatter will present his plans at a two-day executive committee meeting starting today, which will also weigh whether to reveal which football officials received millions of dollars in kickbacks from the ISL agency.

Fifa is currently stopping a Swiss court from releasing documents which confirm who took payments, but that legal battle has been complicated by Brazilian investigators seeking details as they probe Teixeira over possible money-laundering offenses.

Blatter's challenge to lead Fifa toward a more credible future therefore involves confronting an often murky past. Still, 208 football nations entrusted him with the clean-up task, after having had effective executive control of Fifa for 30 years in which its wealth, political influence and notoriety has surged.

"I am the captain of the ship," Blatter told his Congress in June, pledging to put Fifa "back on the right course in clear transparent waters."

FIFA has sought help from Transparency International (TI), a global watchdog which advises governments and corporations how to lead honestly. "I am very optimistic," TI's sports adviser Sylvia Schenk told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I think there will be some good proposals and we will see what those proposals are on Friday."

In August, TI presented a wish list of reforms and asked Fifa to order independent probes of past allegations to overcome a "crisis of trust." Topping the list was ISL, which could yet define Blatter's presidential era. Fifa "could help to end, or at least accelerate," the release of court documents, the report said.

Although commercial bribery was not a crime in Switzerland during ISL's time, six agency staff stood trial in 2008 for financial misdeeds and the Paraguayan Leoz was named in court.

Two senior football officials repaid kickbacks worth 5.5 million Swiss francs (£5m) last year but Fifa has blocked a court in Zug from identifying them although the BBC has reported that the documents name Havelange and his former son-in-law Teixeira.

Africa's football president Hayatou, of Cameroon, also was identified as taking ISL payments, which he said were for his confederation. Havelange and Hayatou, both IOC members, are being investigated by the Olympic body's ethics commission using BBC evidence.

Schenk's team wants Fifa to improve democracy by including all football's stakeholders – clubs, leagues, players, match officials, fans, sponsors and media – in making decisions.

TI believes Fifa should modernise how it investigates wrongdoing, with a revamped ethics committee given independence to launch and prosecute cases.

Financial transparency should include clearer annual reports that detail salaries and bonuses, which should be set by an independent panel, the reform report said.

Fifa also should open big decisions on awarding World Cup hosting rights and broadcast deals to more external scrutiny, TI suggested. Yet Blatter's mandate in June included a request from his members, who saw their Fifa funding increase on his 13-year watch, to find solutions within the family.

The willingness of 75-year-old Blatter to reshape the organisation he has served for almost half his life, and his own legacy, will be tested tomorrow.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on