19 Oct 2011

Blatter set for U-turn

3:07 pm on 19 October 2011

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is preparing to perform a U-turn by calling for the release of court documents which could reveal that senior officials at the world governing body took bribes.

FIFA has repeatedly blocked attempts by journalists to have the documents released.

The BBC has learned that Blatter is to push for the publication of the papers at a two-day meeting of the committee in Zurich, which starts on Thursday.

It says the documents relate to a criminal investigation into the collapse of FIFA's former marketing partner International Sport and Leisure and are believed to show that senior FIFA officials were paid kickbacks in return for granting World Cup television and sponsorship rights to ISL during the 1990s.

Last year, lawyers acting for FIFA and the officials paid 5.5 million Swiss francs (£3.9 million) to settle the case and keep their identities secret.

As part of a promise to clean up FIFA, Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke have been working closely with Transparency International.

They produced a damning report on FIFA in August which called for Blatter to introduce greater transparency and to make sweeping reforms to the governing body.

But the BBC reports many of the reforms will need the support of a majority of the 23 members of the executive committee, which is far from certain.