Switzerland tightens financial controls on international sporting bodies

FIFA President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Dec 2, 2010. Swiss lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to increase the financial s
FIFA President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Dec 2, 2010. Swiss lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to increase the financial scrutiny of around 60 international sports bodies based in the country, including football's world governing body FIFA. -- PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - Swiss lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to increase the financial scrutiny of around 60 international sports bodies based in the country, including football's world governing body FIFA.

Under the proposal, the heads of these organisations will be considered "politically exposed persons", making it easier to bring charges in any case in which they are suspected of money laundering or corruption.

The law proposal is part of a package of measures known as "Lex FIFA", put forward in response to years of allegations of corruption surrounding international sporting bodies.

The bill, based on recommendations drawn up by the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, would still however allow the groups to maintain their favourable tax status.

It will now go to the government to be written into law.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, said he "fully supports" the changes that will apply to his organisation.

"The Swiss decision is in line with our current practice and we wholeheartedly welcome it," he said.

FIFA has been at the centre of claims of corruption over its decision to grant Qatar the 2022 World Cup.