BERN: The Swiss National Council has approved a series of laws intended to tighten financial scrutiny of FIFA and other major international sports federations headquartered locally.
The new law, labelled Lex FIFA, means sports federations will be responsible for all employees or directors or senior members considered “politically exposed persons.”
They would be liable for investigation and prosecution by the Financial Action Task Force if suspected of fraud, money-laundering or corruption.
The House of Representatives approved the measure on Friday by 128-62 within a larger package of money laundering legislation still under parliamentary scrunity.
Pressure has been building up among Swiss politicians for action ever since the allegations concerning first the ISL collapse then FIFA’s 2018-2022 bid vote scandal in December 2010.
FIFA has said it “supports government measures for protecting the integrity of the sport and tackling corruption,” while Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, has given the measures “full-hearted support.”
He added: “The IOC fully supports and welcomes this important initiative by Swiss legislators. It is in line with what the IOC does already. We are fully audited by independent external hearings and our accounts are prepared and audited according to international standards Financial Reporting.”
Around 60 Swiss-based international sports organisations benefit from tax-friendly status available to non-profit-making associations. UEFA, being ‘only’ a European sports federation, is not covered by the laws.
Roland Büchel, a Swiss People’s Party MP who has pressed for the measures, said: “I wanted to get [UEFA] into the law but failed but that’s not so bad because many of the top people at UEFA are on the committees of FIFA anyway. This is not perfect but it’s law now.”
Explaining the reach of the law Büchel added: “It’s not only [FIFA president Sepp Blatter], his secretary and directors who are affected but also their families and other people close to them as well.
“This legislation would make it difficult for all these people just to have a normal bank account.”
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