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FIFA hits back at financial criticism

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Nov 2015

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FIFA has promised to strengthen its member associations’ financial governance and management following criticisms in a damning report by anti-corruption group Transparency International.

The report slammed the lack of availability of financial records from FIFA’s 209 member associations, which it claims received more than $1million each in 2014.

According to Transparency International, 81 per cent of FAs have no financial records publicly available, and 85 per cent publish no activity accounts of what they do.

Cobus de Swardt, managing director of Transparency International, said: “The risk of corruption at too many football associations around the world is high. This problem is made worse by the lack of information such as audited financial statements by many associations.

“FIFA needs to enforce better governance on its members as well as on itself. The good that football can do is tarnished when corruption is allowed to flourish.

“Any incoming president of FIFA must make it a priority to create more accountable governance throughout the organisations from the bottom, as well as from the top.”

But a statement from FIFA said an obligation to publish statutory annual reports will be introduced.

The statement said: “FIFA is committed to reform, and to instituting best-practice standards of accountability, transparency and good governance. It also encourages member associations to work towards those same standards.

“Additional measures to strengthen the member associations’ financial governance and management will be discussed at the upcoming FIFA Executive Committee meeting on 2-3 December 2015, including the obligation for the associations to publish their statutory annual reports and activity reports.”

FIFA, which remains in a state of crisis following the bans given to president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini over a “disloyal payment” made to the Frenchman in 2011, also questioned Transparency International’s methodology.

The statement continued: “We note that Transparency International’s methodology for its report, which appears to consist of a search of internet pages, does not reflect the significant reporting that already exists at member association level and between member associations and FIFA.”

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