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FIFA plans new ethics committee to fight corruption

Written by: Staff
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MUNICH, June 5 (Reuters) FIFA plans a new independent ethics committee and the introduction of professional referees in a bid to fight widespread corruption.

Sepp Blatter, president of soccer's world governing body, said on Monday that the creation of the committee would be proposed at the 56th FIFA Congress in Munich on June 7 and 8.

''This will be our main proposal,'' he said.

FIFA already has an ethics committee but the new independent body will have a far wider brief to include investigations into serious off-field transgressions such as illegal betting and bribery.

It will also act independently of the all-powerful FIFA executive committee, which largely runs the game in most other areas.

Blatter mentioned several scandals that had affected the game, including those involving a German referee found guilty of match-fixing last year and others in Brazil, Belgium, one in the Balkans and most recently Italy.

''Every time, where you see circles drawn, you know that the referee is at the heart of it,'' he said.

Blatter added that it was imperative for professional referees to be introduced for all of the leading leagues.

''A man who is professional is more difficult to intimidate,'' said Blatter.

Every player, referee and official at the World Cup has been asked to sign a pledge against racism and ''insider'' betting and to ensure taht no-one in their families places any bets.

The FIFA president said the Task Force created to raise standards and increase transparency in the game had put forward several further proposals.

REUTERS AY PM2121

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