PtG Article 09.06.2006

Framework for FIFA's new Ethics Committee unclear

FIFA’s Congress decided this week to create a new Ethics Committee which shall act independently of FIFA’s Executive Committee. The setup of the committee and guidelines for its work will be determined later by FIFA’s Executive Committee.

The idea for a new Ethics Committee appeared in public for the first time just before the FIFA Congress this week. At a press conference on 5 June, FIFA president Sepp Blatter presented the proposal as a means to combat problems such as match-fixing, illegal betting and bribery.

But the exact parameters of the new committee’s work are still to be decided. According to FIFA’s website (link disabled), the new Ethics Committee will work in accordance with a new Code of Ethics that the Executive Committee will develop.

According to articles in the British newspapers, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, the new Ethics Committee in part is a response to the problems that arose when FIFA vice president Jack Warner became the subject of investigation by FIFA’s internal Committee on Ethics and Fair Play.

The committee found Warner guilty of a conflict of interest as he owned a travel agency in Trinidad and Tobago that held the exclusive rights to sell World Cup tickets in the country. The case was referred to FIFA’s Executive Committee of which Jack Warner is a member for a final ruling.  Here Warner was cleared because he said he had sold all his shares in the travel agency.

But the case had exposed major flaws in FIFA’s ethical system. Whether they will be resolved by the new Committee will only be clear when the new Code of Ethics is made public.

FIFA keeps its internal Ethics Committee which the Congress agreed to rename the Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility.