Europeans tell FIFA to make reforms in 3 months
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — European soccer's governing body urged FIFA on Friday to make "concrete" changes within three months to deal with the sport's worst corruption crisis.
Bribery allegations during the presidential election led to the suspension of FIFA executive committee members Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner pending a full investigation.
Sepp Blatter this month began his fourth and final four-year term as FIFA president after running unopposed following bin Hammam's withdrawal. He pledged a "zero-tolerance" approach to corruption.
UEFA President Michel Platini wants Blatter's promises carried out promptly.
"The executive committee takes good note of the will of FIFA to take concrete and efficient measures with regards to good governance, expects to see results within the next three months and is following the situation closely," a top UEFA committee said in a statement.
UEFA's hard line was later underlined by executive committee member Jim Boyce, also a FIFA vice president.
"All of the UEFA executive committee are absolutely adamant that FIFA has to do something and has to be seen to be doing something," Boyce told The Associated Press.
Upon re-election, Blatter immediately sought to show his pledge for reform was genuine. Future World Cup hosts will be decided in a vote of all 208 federations instead of FIFA's 24 executive committee members.
Corruption claims during last year's contest to decide the 2018 and 2022 hosts led to bans for executive committee members Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii.
Blatter's toughest critics are at the English Football Association, which tried to get the June 1 presidential election suspended after bin Hammam's withdrawal.
The FA contends that demands for reform led directly to Blatter changing the World Cup voting system and now awaits more details on reform.
"We have exchanged correspondence with Blatter now," FA general secretary Alex Horne said. "We intend to meet him in the not-too distant future to understand his proposals for reform, to understand his independent committees for reform, what exactly he is trying to achieve to improve transparency and the things we really stood up for in congress."
The FA is yet to be convinced about the merits of Blatter appointing opera great Placido Domingo and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to a committee of "wise men" to help clean up FIFA.
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee is looking into corruption allegations leveled at former FIFA President Joao Havelange, who now serves as an honorary president of the soccer authority.
Though FIFA is not investigating a BBC report that Havelange received a $1 million kickback in 1997 when he was still FIFA president, the matter has been taken up by the IOC. The Brazilian is the committee's longest-serving member with 47 years of service.
The IOC's ethics commission asked the BBC for any evidence of wrongdoing last year and is assessing what it has received since.
AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in London contributed to this report.