Blatter: FIFA reforms must apply worldwide


ZURICH (AP) -- Cleaning up world football depends on all 209 member countries and six continental confederations following FIFA's example, Sepp Blatter said Friday.

The FIFA president challenged football leaders worldwide to create their own anti-corruption courts and financial oversight panels as a necessary step to making his reforms drive a success, following a series of corruption scandals in recent years.

"This will only work if these two committees (ethics and compliance) also will be installed in all national associations and in the confederations," Blatter said in a video interview broadcast on FIFA's website.

"FIFA alone cannot be the tribunal" for everyone in world football, he said.

Blatter's comments come before a Feb. 26 meeting in Zurich where leaders of the continental confederations will present feedback from their member nations about which reforms should be voted on at FIFA's annual congress in Mauritius in May.

Several FIFA executive committee members were implicated in bribery and vote-buying allegations, before Blatter pledged at his re-election in 2011 to strengthen ethics investigations and financial compliance rules.

FIFA appointed leaders of its ethics court last July, weeks after creating a compliance panel which will vet football officials for integrity.

Lead ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia was given an unlimited budget to pursue investigations. He is examining allegations about how Russia and Qatar won hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, respectively.

While FIFA has $1 billion in cash reserves to finance reforms, many of its 209 member nations could struggle to fund anti-corruption measures of their own.

"I am convinced that in Mauritius we will bring an end to this reform program," Blatter said Friday.