ZURICH: Les Murray, a former member of FIFA’s ethic committee, has said that the departure of Sepp Blatter from the presidency is essential is the world football federation is to rebuild its reputation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Murray, also an Australian television commentator, was writing a personal comment on the SBS TV website in the wake of Wednesday’s dramatic day of police raids and detentions in Switzerland and corruption revelations in the United States.
He said: “Despite the long-running innuendo and the stench of corruption hovering over FIFA’s highest offices there has never been any hard evidence put forward that Blatter himself is corrupt or that he ever took a bribe.
“But his era represented a period when FIFA lost much credibility and trust and Blatter will forever carry that label. The stigma that FIFA is a corrupt body has to be erased once and for all. One fears that will not happen until Sepp Blatter goes.”
One of FIFA’s promotional slogans is For The Good of The Game.
The manner in which FIFA’s executive committee dismissed Australia’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup finals still rankles, in particular the channelling of ‘development support’ funds to Warner, notionally for a stadium in Trinidad and Tobago.
Jack Warner, Trinidad’s former head of the Caribbean Football Union and regional authority CONCACAF, is the subject of an extradition application from the United States. He is among 14 FIFA-linked officials and marketing executives named by the US Justice Department in relation to the FBI’s investigation into systemic and long-term corruption concerning up to $150m.
The Warner connection was raised by the South Australian senator Nick Xenophon who urged Football Federation Australia to formally report to US authorities the payment it made to Warner.
Xenophon said: “The beautiful game has been turned into an incredibly ugly business. There needs to be action taken but the first step is that we need to say that this is just outrageous.”