Wednesday, January 18, 2012

FIFA Inspires Effort to Change Swiss Law

One of the most direct mechanisms for holding FIFA accountable is under Swiss law where the association is incorporated. Switzerland is home to various multi-national organizations, including numerous sporting associations, because the Swiss government provides favorable treatment. But FIFA's various shenanigans have led lawmakers to initiate steps to tighten up some of that favorable treatment:
Carlo Sommaruga, a Geneva-based lawmaker and member of the Swiss Socialist Party, scheduled a proposal to make the bribery of individuals a criminal offense, he said today in a telephone interview from Geneva. . .

“I took FIFA as an example for my initiative to change the corruption laws after the corruption allegations centered around awarding the World Cup to Russia and Qatar,” Sommaruga said. . .

In a Dec. 12 session 14 of 25 members of the Swiss legislative commission that votes on law questions supported the Sommaruga’s initiative. To move the proposal forward, the same commission in the upper house of parliament will have to vote on whether the action is needed. . .

Currently there are no legal provisions for public prosecutors to investigate bribery at sports bodies like FIFA, which in Switzerland have the status of tax-privileged associations.
It is unclear what the prospects for passage of the proposal are in the Swiss legislature. The proposed action even if passed into law would be a small step -- if the Swiss government wanted to do something about FIFA, it has many tools at its disposal, waiting to be used.


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