Published On: Mon, Dec 15th, 2014

Fifa And Olympic Leaders Face New Financial Checks

Swiss politicians have passed a law that aims to strengthen the oversight of some 60 sports bodies based there, including Fifa and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Fifa And Olympic Leaders Face

The move is part of a revision to a wider bill combating money laundering.

The bill says Fifa boss Sepp Blatter and other sports chiefs, such as IOC boss Thomas Bach, should be treated as “politically exposed persons”.

The term defines those in roles that could be abused to launder money.

‘Private societies’

The broadening of the law – based on guidelines set up by the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (Fatf) – has become known as “Lex Fifa (Fifa law)”.

Now the bill will go to the Swiss government for putting on the statute books.

The Dailyreleased Geneva correspondent Imogen Foulkes said: “Up to now sporting associations in Switzerland have been run as private societies, enjoying favourable tax breaks, largely exempt from Swiss laws against corruption.”

That favoured status put Fifa, which generated close to $1.4bn (£890m) in revenue last year, on the same footing as small community bodies.

Our correspondent added that the law, which is a part of wider package of measures aimed at tackling money laundering, will allow the Swiss authorities much tighter control of the financial affairs of sporting bodies and their officials.

She added that it comes in the wake of serious criticism of Fifa amid suspicions of corruption and bribery related to the World Cup bidding process.

Fifa report vote

In September, Michael Garcia, Fifa’s independent ethics investigator, produced a 430-page report following a two-year investigation into alleged corruption around the bidding process that awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups .

Fifa ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert said Mr Garcia’s report could not be made public for legal reasons and released his own report, based on Mr Garcia’s work, which cleared World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing.

Mr Garcia has already appealed against Fifa’s summary of his report, believing the conclusions and some of the facts to be “erroneous”.

Next week world football’s governing body will note in Marrakesh, Morocco on whether to allow a redacted version of Mr Garcia’s report to be published.

Bad publicity

The broader money-laundering guidelines aim to keep Switzerland off Faft blacklists.

In May, the country said it would do away with banking secrecy by joining the growing number of nations ready to share tax information,

The drive to increase oversight of sports bodies has been led over the past four years by politician Roland Buechel.

He has been concerned that negative headlines about major sports organisations have been hitting Switzerland’s reputation overseas.