Coe accepts new Fifa role as ethics watchdog

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The Independent Football

Sebastian Coe is to be the first chairman of Fifa's new independent watchdog in a surprise appointment by football's world governing body. Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Olympics, has agreed to head Fifa's new ethics commission that will judge all cases alleging conflicts of interest and breaches of Fifa rules.

The former double Olympic 1500 metres champion will, however, not be dealing with the World Cup ticket scandal that has engulfed Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, a supporter of president, Sepp Blatter, as the ethics commission will only rule on new cases. Warner's case will be investigated instead by Fifa's disciplinary committee.

"We have found an outstanding personality in the world of sport, a great personality in the Olympic movement," Blatter said.

"Sebastian Coe will be the chairman of this committee. He has total integrity and will have total independence. To have someone from outside of football means he has no links with the football family and he has an ethical approach to sport. It is perhaps a surprise but it has been very well received."

Coe said: "I am delighted to have been selected to this important role. Inspiring young people into sport is a personal passion of mine. To do this, we must protect and promote the ethics and morals of sport for future generations.

"My role as chairman of London 2012, as IAAF [International Association of Athletic Federations] Council member, as a member of UK Athletics Council and as chair of Fifa's ethics committee, will involve me in this area at the very highest level of sport."

The announcement that Coe and the new ethics commission will not deal with the Warner case may come as something of a relief. Warner, a Fifa vice-president from Trinidad and Tobago, was revealed this week to have been identified by Fifa's auditors as being involved in the sale of World Cup tickets for several times their face value - a breach of Fifa rules. Fifa's general secretary, Urs Linsi, said: "Certain numbers of tickets have been sold for a value four times higher, but that's what has to be investigated and found out by looking at the books of the stakeholders."

At home, Middlesbrough insist they have nothing to fear from the Panorama investigation into 'bungs' in the game. The Teessiders moved to dismiss suggestions that they had been asked about their transfer dealings as part of the BBC investigation, and their denial has been backed by the programme makers.

Boro's head of communications, Dave Allan, said: "It is totally untrue to suggest that Middlesbrough FC officials have anything to worry about from the allegations, as the BBC investigation is not, and never has been, about Boro."

Alex Millar, who worked on the programme, added: "There is no suggestion of any allegations against Middlesbrough FC. No allegations against Middlesbrough will be in the BBC Panorama programme on football agents."

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