Blatter surprised at reform advisers' criticism

Updated: February 10, 2013, 2:58 PM ET
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter expressed his surprise Sunday at public criticism of soccer's governing body by its own anti-corruption advisers and said they were sometimes working outside their mandate.

Blatter said the independent advisers, who Blatter invited in to help FIFA reform in 2011, were on occasion making demands and not recommendations.

"From time to time I realized that it is a deviation of the original objective and they are not coming with solutions, not recommendations, they are coming with decisions that we have (to take) ... and we must," Blatter said. "But that is not what we have asked for. We have asked to give us solutions and we bring these solutions to the (FIFA) Congress.

The panel of advisers, chaired by Mark Pieth, said in a report last week that the Union of European Football Associations was resisting reform and called on FIFA to "demonstrate leadership" and not undermine efforts to reform the body.

Some of the advisers' proposals include term limits for the FIFA president and executive committee members. They suggested all FIFA committee members should be vetted for integrity by an independent group at its Zurich headquarters.

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