Fifa president Sepp Blatter has explained he is not fazed by personal criticisms leveled against him over corrupt practices within football governing circle, but reiterates he has “no responsibility” over the election of members of the organisation’s executive committee (ExCo).
In his column in the Fifa Weekly magazine, published on Friday, Blatter emphasised on a couple but imperative reforms needed to be enforced so as to redeem the future of FIFA, which he said “is at stake.”
The 79-year-old wants election of ExCo members to be handled and controlled by the Fifa congress and the adoption of “independent integrity checks” by all member nations. These changes he says would help place “structures above reproach”
Blatter wrote in the column: “Filling the office of the President is ultimately only a slideshow, albeit staged in a glaring spotlight. I hope the Congress is not blinded by this, because Fifa’s future is at stake, no more and no less.
Fifa has been faced with its biggest scandal ever after 14 persons involved with the football governing body, including sport marketing executives and high ranking football officials, were indicted by prosecutors from the United States in late May on matters ranging from bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud and racketeering practices.
Among those facing trial are Fifa vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Island and Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo, both of whom have been suspended by Fifa’s own independent Ethic Committee, and former vice-president Jack Warner.
Others are Costa Rican Ricardo Edoardo Li, who had been elected to the Fifa ExCo, Julio Rocha of Nicaragua, who had served as Fifa development officer, and former ExCo member Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay.
“The popular outrage concerning Fifa in recent weeks has mainly been directed at me personally. I have no problem with this. I can defend myself,” he wrote.
“However, I would appeal for fairness: I bear no responsibility for members of government (the FIFA Executive Committee) I have not myself elected.
“The FIFA President must work with the people allotted him by the confederations. I therefore also bear no responsibility whatsoever for the behavior of these ExCo members in their home turf.”
Blatter wants reform process to be, as well, among pertinent issues being talked about, adding: “In European circles there is only one topic: the presidential election.
“However, the reforms we have not yet been able to implement are in fact more important. This requires a clear statement of intent on the part of the Executive Committee and Congress.
“We need to change structures so they are above reproach,” he added, repeating his call for independent integrity checks, the election of the executive by congress and term limits.
“To this day, the UEFA has no ethics committee, and the German association has no ethics committee,” Blatter noted, in a probable shot at his critics in European football.