Ethics Committee vows to defend integrity of football at inaugural meeting

At its inaugural meeting in Zurich today (23 October 2006) under the chairmanship of Lord Sebastian Coe (England), the new, independent Ethics Committee stressed its objective of protecting and promoting the integrity and transparency of world football.

"Association football is the most popular sport in the world, with over 250 million active participants and over one billion people involved in some way. It is a game which serves as a school of life for young people, which provides hope and emotion, entertainment and passion. But its popularity has also attracted some of the dangers and vices of our modern society, including corruption, doping, racism, illegal betting and other forms of cheating. We at FIFA identified the need for an independent body to deal with these matters, which go against the spirit of the game and, for this reason, this is a historic day," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who welcomed the committee members to the new Home of FIFA.

"We are more than aware that the world that we live in is a changing one. Whether it be in the area of finance, of politics, or of sport, an ever-greater transparency and integrity is expected. Fans and young people want to know that what they see not only on the field of play, but in the organisation of football, is legitimate sport. We thank FIFA for the confidence you have placed in my colleagues and me, but with confidence comes responsibility. We will need to be eternally vigilant. Thoughtful deliberation will be necessary to reach supportable conclusions. Working together, we will be able to perform this important task," said Lord Coe.

At its meeting on 9 June 2006 in Munich, the FIFA Congress voted in favour of creating a new, independent Ethics Committee as FIFA's third judicial body, in addition to the Disciplinary Committee and Appeal Committee. As an independent judicial body, the Committee will have decision-making power and the option to establish any sanctions they deem appropriate, acting in accordance with the revised FIFA Code of Ethics, which came into force on 15 September 2006 following its approval by the FIFA Executive Committee in Zurich.

The following members were present today at the Ethics Committee meeting: Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe (England), Luis Bedoya Giraldo (Colombia), Juan Pedro Damiani (Uruguay), Burton K. Haimes (USA), Guenter Hirsch (Germany), Les Murray (Australia), Dominique Rocheteau (France), Giangiorgio Spiess (Switzerland), Roosje Suwae (Papua New Guinea) and Robert Torres (Guam).