Football-Malaysian Olympic official calls for more transparency

Football-Malaysian Olympic official calls for more transparency

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Olympic officials want the country's national sporting federations to open their books and publicly declare all their assets to demonstrate greater transparency in the wake of FIFA's latest corruption scandal.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi also wants FIFA delegates to force change in football's world governing body by voting against Sepp Blatter in Friday's FIFA presidential election. "FIFA affiliates, including FA of Malaysia can take the power away from Blatter by the virtue of votes," he told the Malay Mail on Friday.

FIFA has been plagued by allegations of corruption for decades but their activities are under intense scrutiny at the moment after more than a dozen officials were arrested earlier this week.

Sieh wants all sports associations in Malaysia to publicly declare their assets, a gesture he hoped would not only expose any possible wrongdoing but would also help restore faith in sporting organisations that were clean. "This will frighten a lot of people, but if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn't be afraid," he told the newspaper. "The declaration of assets and financial dealings will be a good deterrent to curb corruption among sports associations." Sieh said the OCM would voluntarily declare their assets but it was up to local government officials to force all sporting bodies to do the same. "The Sports Commissioner's Office should enforce a public declaration of assets, as this is the best way to ensure transparency," he said. "We are prepared to declare our assets. We have nothing to hide." Sieh's comments came hours before FIFA meets in Zurich to vote on who should lead football's world governing body.

Blatter is expected to retain the presidency despite being challenged by Jordan's Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, who is campaigning on a platform to reform FIFA.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which is based in Malaysia, has pledged its unanimous support to Blatter although one member, Australia, has since broken ranks and switched its allegiance to Prince Ali.

Sieh said all countries needed to think before long and hard before casting their votes. "The members should also determine conditions such as how much money can the president and other high ranking officials oversee because sometimes when one is elected to a big position, the power rush can get to them," he said.

Earlier this month, the AFC suspended its general secretary, Malaysian Alex Soosay, following allegations he asked another official to hide some documents during a corruption probe.

Soosay was accused of ordering some documents to be hidden during a review of AFC practices under former president Mohamed bin Hammam, who was later banned for life by FIFA for corruption.

Soosay has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges.

A former player, Soosay has held the position of AFC general secretary since 2008.

His role meant he worked closely with Qatari Bin Hammam, who was initially banned for bribery ahead of the 2011 FIFA presidential elections in which he was standing against Blatter.

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