Adviser to publish FIFA reforms proposals Friday

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GENEVA (AP) - Anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth plans to publish his FIFA reform proposals on Friday, hours after he meets with FIFA’s scandal-hit executive committee.

The Basel Institute on Governance said in a statement Thursday to The Associated Press that it will publish the first report by Pieth’s 13-member advisory panel at 4 p.m. Swiss time on its website.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was scheduled to open a news conference at least one hour later, and face questions about how far his executive committee has supported Pieth’s proposals. Later Thursday, FIFA issued a brief statement that its media event would start at 3 p.m.

Pieth has previously told the AP that the 15-page report will be “tough” on FIFA.

The former United Nations investigator said in an interview that his team has been unimpressed with how FIFA pursued some corruption allegations.

Pieth also expressed frustration at being denied access by FIFA to a Swiss court document detailing which officials were involved in a kickbacks scandal following the 2001 collapse of World Cup marketing agency ISL.

Blatter has said his promise last October to publish the document has been thwarted by unidentified officials appealing to Switzerland’s supreme court to keep its contents secret.

Blatter posted messages on his Twitter account Thursday backing the Swiss law professor’s work.

“Delighted to see my main ideas for reform in Mark Pieth’s report,” tweeted Blatter, who received a copy several days ago. “I stressed how to improve FIFA’s governance since the beginning of last year. Not just words but actions.”

FIFA later published an interview with its president on its website ahead to Pieth’s presentation.

“I am really looking forward to this,” Blatter said. “After the difficulties and challenges FIFA went through, I was convinced that we had to reform our organization and I stressed that publicly, including the need for good governance, transparency and zero tolerance against wrongdoing.”

Blatter appointed Pieth last November to lead an expert team which would advise on how to reform FIFA and world soccer.

The panel, known as the Independent Governance Committee (IGC), includes former Watergate investigator Michael Hershman, United States Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati, and former British attorney-general Peter Goldsmith.

Their initial work has included examining how FIFA probed a succession of bribery and World Cup vote-rigging scandals implicating several members of the 24-man ruling executive committee.

Pieth will present the IGC report to FIFA leaders Friday morning, and must win their support for a slate of changes.

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