Transparency Expert Says Sepp Blatter Must Go To Restore FIFA's Credibility


BBC Sport Report

Release Date

Friday, October 10, 2014


Fifa's credibility cannot be salvaged until Sepp Blatter leaves his role as president, according to a former member of the world governing body's independent governance committee.

Michael Hershman, an expert in transparency, told the BBC: "For the good of the sport Sepp Blatter should leave and let new blood come in.

"It needs a change of leadership. Any time an organisation has gone through years and years of scandal and it has a credibility problem, it's always best for the leaders to change."
Blatter, 78, has been president since 1998, and last month declared his intention to run for re-election, despite promises his current fourth term would be his last, something Hershman described as "unfortunate".

Speaking at the Qatar-backed International Sport Security conference, Hershman also called for commercial sponsors of Fifa to make a stand.

"I'm very disappointed about the lack of intervention from external stakeholders, in particular sponsors who from time to time issued press releases saying they expect Fifa to conduct itself with integrity.

"But in very few cases have they said 'unless you make the following changes we're going to walk away', and until they do that there's not going to be the kind of change that really needs to happen."

"In general we're reaching a point where people are getting so angry, so frustrated. We're very close to the tipping point, almost past the tipping point."

The IGC - a panel introduced by Blatter in 2011 - advises the organisation on reforms after a series of financial and vote-buying allegations.

"Fifa was the most difficult assignment of my career and probably the most unsatisfactory", Hershman added.

Fifa has no plans at present to publish a report by former US attorney Michael Garcia into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. Hershman called for it to be made public, with the names of some witnesses redacted to protect them.

"I would like to see Fifa release the report with appropriate protection for people's privacy," Hershman added.

"Without the release of a report, Fifa is going to continue to be ridiculed for lack of a commitment to transparency.

Hershman was surprised that, after a number of Fifa's executive committee spoke of the need to make the report public, a statement followed a recent meeting to declare there had been no such demands made.

"That gives you some idea of the internal pressures people face within Fifa to tow the line," Hershman added.

"Assuming you can redact the report to prevent privacy violations and to protect the innocent I would like to see the report published."


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