Two-thirds of fans have no faith in FIFA - poll

Berlin (AFP) –


With FIFA scheduled to vote for a new president to replace disgraced Sepp Blatter on Friday, two-thirds of fans do not trust football's governing body, claims anti-corruption group Transparency International.

The Berlin-based body on Tuesday announced the results of a new poll of 25,000 fans in 28 countries which shows deep distrust of FIFA.

Of those polled, 69 percent even said they have no confidence in FIFA.

But there is some hope as 50 percent said that the governing body now has a chance to restore its battered reputation.

Worryingly for football's bosses, 43 percent said the scandals are affecting how they enjoy the sport.

With Blatter banned from all football for eight years, FIFA will vote for a new head -- Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa and Gianni Infantino are the favourites.

But 60 percent of those asked said they would not choose any of the five candidates standing for election, if they could vote.

"As fans we have a love affair with football. But when results –- whether of games, or rights for hosting events, elections, etc -- are driven not by fair competition, but by corruption, we feel betrayed," said Cobus de Swardt, managing director of Transparency International

"Sport should be a force for good in the world but the latest scandals, not only in football, but in athletics and tennis, have exposed just how vulnerable it is to corruption. This must stop now."

FIFA's 209 member associations are to vote for a new leader as the world body seeks to recover from multiple scandals that has seen 39 football officials and business executives charged with corruption by US authorities. Two companies also face charges.

Swiss prosecutors are investigating FIFA's management and the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini were suspended for eight years by FIFA over a 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment that Blatter approved for the French football legend.

Gareth Sweeney, editor of Transparency International's 'The Global Corruption Report: Sport', which was also released on Tuesday, said there must be large-scale reforms at FIFA, and other sports organisations, in 2016.

"Public trust will only be restored in FIFA, the IAAF and the world of sport if large-scale reforms are not only implemented, but are seen to be implemented transparently," said Sweeney.

"We expect real and irreversible change in 2016."