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Outgoing FIFA Chief Calls for Reform

  • VOA News

FILE - FIFA President Sepp Blatter kicks a ball during the inauguration of a football stadium in the village of Dura Al-Qari' near the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 20, 2015.

FILE - FIFA President Sepp Blatter kicks a ball during the inauguration of a football stadium in the village of Dura Al-Qari' near the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 20, 2015.

Outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter held talks Thursday with the head of the organization's compliance and audit committee on reforming football's world governing body.

In a statement Thursday, Blatter said he had a "constructive" meeting with Domenico Scala to establish a framework for action and a timetable. He said he wants a comprehensive reform program and is aware that only FIFA's congress can pass such reforms.

Blatter met with Scala two days after announcing his resignation as FIFA's president and admitting the embattled organization needs a "profound restructuring."

Blatter, who was elected to a fifth term last week, says he intends to stay on to lead FIFA until a new president is elected sometime between December 2015 and March 2016.

In other news, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner said he has proof of financial dealings involving the organization's governing body and the 2010 general elections in his home country, Trinidad and Tobago.

Warner, who has been charged in the FIFA corruption scandal, said in a televised address late Wednesday he has documents and checks that link FIFA with the Caribbean island-nation's 2010 election.

He said he will no longer keep secrets for people who seek to "actively destroy" Trinidad and Tobago's "hard-won international image," adding he fears for his life.

The U.S. Justice Department last week charged 14 people with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering in a scheme prosecutors say involved sports media executives paying or agreeing to pay more than $150 million in exchange for marketing rights to tournaments.

Warner, who faces extradition to the United States on charges issued against FIFA, is a former government minister in Trinidad and Tobago. He is free on bond after his arrest last week.

Meanwhile, a South African special crimes unit said Thursday it has opened a preliminary investigation into bribery allegations surrounding the country's 2010 World Cup bid.

South Africa's government and national football association have denied bribes were paid to secure the right to host the tournament.

U.S. court records unsealed Wednesday reveal a former executive committee member of FIFA admitted in 2013 to accepting bribes in connection with the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

Charles Blazer, a U.S. citizen who spent two decades as one of the world's most powerful sports officials, secretly pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in New York as part of an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, according to the partially redacted transcript of the hearing.

Blazer told a U.S. judge that he and others on FIFA's executive committee accepted bribes in conjunction with the choice of France as the host of the 1998 World Cup.

The American says he also accepted bribes related to the 2010 event awarded to South Africa.

Federation president Blatter is reportedly the target of probes by federal prosecutors and the FBI. He abruptly resigned his post during a news conference in Zurich Tuesday.

The 79-year-old Blatter, who was re-elected a week ago, acknowledged that he did not "have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA."

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