‘Sepp Blatter must go immediately, and whoever replaces him must re-run the Qatar and Russia World Cup bidding process’ – European Parliament Member on FIFA scandal
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    ‘Sepp Blatter must go immediately, and whoever replaces him must re-run the Qatar and Russia World Cup bidding process’ – European Parliament Member on FIFA scandal

    The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on EU countries and sporting organizations to work with the U.S. and Swiss authorities on the FIFA corruption scandal.
    It also welcomes the probe into how FIFA awarded the World Cup in 1998 to France, 2010 to South Africa, Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

    The motion demands that the international soccer organization appoint an “appropriate” interim leader rather than allow Sepp Blatter to stay in the job for several months.

    The resolution calls for FIFA’s Executive Committee to put in place wholesale reforms to improve transparency and root out corruption.

    It was adopted at the plenary in Strasbourg.

    UK member Julie Ward, who sits on the Culture and Education Committee, “I welcome the European Parliament resolution voted on today calling for a greater collaboration between all stakeholders, including public authorities, sports associations, athletes and supporters, to urgently and thoroughly address the issue of corruption. I particularly welcome the emphasis the resolution places on the need to promote education and strengthen preventative actions. I strongly agree that FIFA must implement structural reforms in order to bring about transparency and accountability.”

    She added, “The circumstances surrounding the preparation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are deeply regrettable. It is estimated that 4,000 people might die before the first ball is even kicked. Sport must remain a vehicle for promoting human rights, not a justification for breaching them. The S&D group recently held a hearing on the issue of Human Rights and Sport identifying a need to highlight the issues at all levels and condemn the abuses that have been taking place.”

    “Football plays a huge role in our society, linking communities across the world in a shared passion and promoting positive sporting values. The game has the potential to reach out to marginalised communities, improve health and wellbeing and bridge the gap between generations. Both men and women are attracted to the ‘beautiful game’ and many clubs are doingadmirable education and outreach work. Football also makes a big contribution to our economy, providing jobs in the service industries, lucrative careers for the top players and forming an important revenue stream for broadcasters.”

    Ward said it had been “deeply disconcerting2 to witness the FIFA corruption scandal unfold, adding,”  “Integrity is a vital component of the sport. This is why we must restore trust in sporting institutions and fight against all forms of corruption, re-establishing the values of solidarity, peace and social inclusion that the game can engender.”

    Elsewhere, British Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder called on all EU countries to withdraw their national teams from the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar unless the bids are re-run and allegations of corruption are properly dealt with.

    She urged countries around Europe to show a united front in boycotting the tournaments until the beleaguered organisation cleans up its act.

    “The endemic corruption in FIFA is tarnishing the whole sport with the same brush.

    “We need to send a strong message to FIFA that they cannot continue getting away with dragging the beautiful game through the mud.

    “I’m urging all EU countries to withdraw their national teams from both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments unless FIFA cleans up its act.

    “Sepp Blatter must go immediately, and whoever replaces him must re-run the Qatar and Russia World Cup bidding process in a fair and transparent way.”

    By Martin Banks