Olympic chiefs fears lasting damage of FIFA scandal

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was suspended. Picture: AP
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was suspended. Picture: AP
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The International Olympic Committee has said it fears the criminal investigation into Fifa could overshadow the credibility of sport for the next five years.

Football’s world governing body is being investigated by Swiss authorities over the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and criminal proceedings have also been opened against suspended Fifa president Sepp Blatter. The US justice department has also indicted more than 30 football officials on corruption charges.

The recent IAAF doping scandal, which has seen Russia suspended from international athletics and former president Lamine Diack under investigation by French police on suspicion of taking money to cover up positive tests, has also focused attention on governance of big sporting organisations. The IOC admitted some sports bodies felt “tarnished” by the scandals and said in a statement: “The IOC EB (Executive Board) remains concerned with regard to the ongoing criminal procedures in the United States and Switzerland, which according to these authorities could last for another five years.

“Since this could continue to overshadow the credibility of Fifa and affect all sport organisations for such a long time, the IOC EB encourages Fifa to take all necessary measures to clarify and resolve all the pending issues as soon as possible by further engaging with the relevant authorities.”

IOC president Thomas Bach announced that the Olympic body would implement a new auditing system to track money which goes to Olympic committees and sports. He also said the IOC wants an independent organisation – set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency – which would be responsible for drugs testing, with sanctions announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He said: “Sports organisations should transfer their doping control operations to this new organisation and make the funding available initially at the level of the present investment in the fight against doping.”

The new organisation should also have a professional intelligence-gathering unit, Bach said.