FIFA backs revamp of corruption investigation body

GRAHAM DUNBAR AP Sports Writer Published:

ZURICH (AP) -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter promised Friday that soccer's governing body will change the way it investigates corruption.

Blatter posted on his Twitter account that his executive committee approved a "two-chamber Ethics Committee," with separate departments to investigate and prosecute cases.

FIFA's single-chamber ethics committee failed to gather enough evidence to prosecute some allegations of vote-rigging during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.

"Historic day for FIFA's reform process," Blatter tweeted of the proposed change, which must be voted in by FIFA's 208 member nations at their Congress on May 25 in Budapest, Hungary.

Revamping FIFA's investigations was recommended by anti-corruption adviser Mark Pieth, who was appointed by FIFA last November to suggest ways of improving its transparency and governance.

However, Pieth has said it's "crucial" that independent outsiders unconnected to Blatter's "football family" take key positions in FIFA's judicial bodies.

FIFA has previously said that members of the new ethics committee will be elected at the FIFA Congress.

Pieth met with Blatter's executive committee earlier Friday to present the interim recommendations of his 13-member expert panel.

The panel has examined how FIFA investigated past allegations including bribery and vote-rigging to help understand how the governing body functions.

Pieth told The Associated Press in an interview last week that his team was "not amused" by the rigor of FIFA's investigative work.

His report was scheduled to be published at 9 a.m. EDT as Blatter was scheduled to open a news conference focusing on his promised anti-corruption drive.