KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has extolled the world federation’s three-year-old independent ethics set-up.

Blatter was addressing a conference on ethics in sport against a troubled FIFA background with successive scandals over ISL bribes, 2018-2022 World Cup awards and cash-for-votes in a presidential election.

Only on Thursday ethics committee leaders Michael Garcia and Domenico Scala had to administer a slap on the wrist to senior directors and associations over two World Cup sponsor gifts episodes.

Blatter’s opening address to the conference, being hosted by FIFA at its headquarters in Zurich, acknowledged that running matches was less complicated that keeping an eye on activities in the corporate and commercial sphere.

He said: “We have challenges because we have 300m active participants around the world and, with their families, 1.2bn directly or indirectly involved in our sport.

“It is easy to control football on the pitch because there are boundaries and time limits and a referee but outside the field of play there are no boundaries no referees and no time limit so how shall we maintain discipline, respect and fair play? We have to create bodies to help us control the participants in our game.”

FIFA created its first ethics panel in 2004, upgraded it under the chairmanship of Lord Sebastian Coe in 2006 and then introduced the independent twin-chamber system under the reform process launched in 2011.

** The 1st World Summit on Ethics in Sports was organised by the World Forum for Ethics in Business.