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Fifa officials should pass integrity checks: Blatter

Fifa officials should pass integrity checks: Blatter

Liberian football association boss Bility to stand for presidency

By (Agencies)

Published: Sat 20 Jun 2015, 12:50 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:52 PM

London — Sepp Blatter believes Fifa’s top officials should be required to pass integrity checks as the governing body remains mired in scandal.  The 79-year-old Blatter used his column in Fifa’s weekly magazine to float reforms, but he did not address a recent report he could perform a U-turn and stand in the fresh presidential elections.

Four days after being elected for a fifth, four-year presidential term, Blatter abruptly announced plans on June 2 to stand down amid escalating criminal investigations into Fifa officials. Fifa said he stands by that statement. An executive committee meeting on July 20 will set the election date, and Blatter said “decisions on extensive changes to the Fifa structure” will also be taken in Zurich.

Blatter said he will back introducing “independent integrity checks for all members of the most important Fifa committees,” following a proposal by committee member Wolfgang Niersbach, the German Football Association president. Niersbach’s suggestion was used by Blatter as a chance to take another swipe at Uefa, whose president, Michel Platini, led opposition to Blatter’s re-election last month and is the favourite to succeed him.

Highlighting how Asia was the only regional body with an independent ethics body like Fifa, Blatter said other confederations “are lacking,” and must “acknowledge their responsibility in matters of ethics.”

“Niersbach has broached a subject that has so far been blocked by Uefa, of all associations. Better late than never,” Blatter said.

“The message he has thereby sent out must apply to everyone: Only together can we continue to drive the process of reform forward. That is something I will stand for until my final day in office.”

Blatter also believes Fifa’s 25-person ruling executive committee should be expanded to ensure Africa and Asia is better represented. There are only five African members and four from Asia.  “The future of Fifa has begun,” Blatter said. “The key is to strengthen democracy within the ‘Fifa government.’”

Liberia Football Association President Musa Bility on Thursday became the second person to declare his interest in the Fifa presidency after former Brazil star Zico. Candidates must be nominated by at least five of the 209 Fifa member associations and pass integrity checks to get on the ballot.

The 48-year-old has headed the Liberian FA since 2010 and becomes the second person after Brazilian legend Zico to announce his intention to succeed Sepp Blatter.

“Africa is the largest voting bloc in Fifa and we must take the lead to bring football together,” Bility told the BBC. “We all agree that football is facing a difficult moment and it is in difficult moments that great leaders emerge.”

“I have spoken to about half a dozen of the presidents of African football and I have their support — you can see the excitement,” Bility added. “If I have one reason to believe that Africa is not going to stand by me, I am not going to put up my candidacy.” Elections for the FIFA presidency are expected to be held between December 2015 and March 2016.

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