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.

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam