Two weeks after FIFA’s chief investigator delivers his report on alleged ethical violations in the corruption-tainted World Cup bidding process, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is to open the first World Summit on Ethics at the governing body’s headquarters.
Former US attorney Michael Garcia is set to submit his report on possible ethics breaches and vote trading in the bid race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee in the first week of September. Garcia and FIFA’s ethics judge Hans Joachim-Eckert will also attend the ethics summit on September 19.
The parallel bidding process was widely considered farcical, opening the door to the potential for collusion between the nine bidding nations and bribery. Even Blatter, who faced allegations of buying votes to see off the challenge of Issa Hayatou in the 2002 FIFA presidential election, later admitted that running the 2018 and 2022 bidding races together was a big mistake.
As he seeks another four years at the helm of world football, Blatter is likely to use the World Summit on Ethics to polish his credentials as a moderniser and reformer following the bribery and corruption scandals that tainted the World Cup bidding vote and, months later, the FIFA presidential election.
“Ethics and integrity are essential in the world of sport and are topics that have continued to gain importance for FIFA and the football community in recent years,” said Blatter in a statement released Wednesday.
FIFA’s reputation it is known has been battered over the past four years with the series of bribery and corruption allegations levelled against a handful of FIFA ExCo officials which brought down several of them.
FIFA has put in place better governance structures since 2010, and Blatter will be keen to tell the world that FIFA has changed at the September conference that is organised by the Belgium-based public interest foundation “World Forum for Ethics in Business”.
The event will see leading figures from sport, politics, business, academia and NGOs convening in Zurich talk about ethics issues and highlight examples of best practice.
“The summit will elaborate on what business and politics can learn from sports, showcase successful CSR activities in the sports arena and assess and address current challenges in sports ethics,” the FIFA statement said
“It will also feature a mix of inspiring keynote addresses from world-class speakers and dedicated breakout sessions to enrich participants overall knowledge and experience and propose a substantial agenda for action.
The World Summit on Ethics in Sports will also see the launch of the 2014 Ethics in Sports Awards, which will recognise an outstanding individual and organisation “that have demonstrated the importance of human values and ethics in life and in the sporting arena”.
PREPARED BY: Rey Davis