ZURICH: Mark Pieth, the governance guru who led the first FIFA reform attempt, has welcomed the ethics committee decision to banish Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini from football for eight years each writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Basel anti-corruption professor Pieth was commissioned in 2011 after scandals over the conduct of the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process and the subsequent presidential election.

Pieth complained at the end of his two-year mission that many of his proposals had been blocked. However the most important was the creation of the independent, twin-chamber ethics committee.

Hence his satisfaction at its clear independence of action in bringing down the two most important men in world football government in the presidents of world federation FIFA and European governing body UEFA.

Pieth said: “To take out the president of FIFA and the most hopeful candidate for next president is definitely a big step.

“The reason it has taken so long is because they had to go to the national judicial authorities in the United States and Switzerland which started proceedings against these people which allowed the ethics committee in the end to debar them.

“People thought the ethics committee was a paper tiger at first but they have debarred close to 40 officials of FIFA altogether so it’s quite a tough institution.”