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FIFA issues clarification on reported changes to its Code of Ethics, including addition of defamation as an offense

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Item
16 August 2018

Clarification concerning the revised FIFA Code of Ethics

[A]n in-depth revision of the Code of Ethics issued in 2012 took place over the last year. The revised version was approved by the FIFA Council and came into force on 12 August 2018, and includes landmark changes to the existing model to ensure more transparency, legal security and the most efficient procedure.

In general, the new code has introduced additional rules prohibiting unethical conduct by officials. Here, the previous articles relating to rules of conduct were kept and/or clarified and additional infringements added...[With regards to] defamation (the act of communicating false information that harms the reputation of an individual or a group)...[t]he Ethics Committee considered that such a prohibition, which exists in most legal systems and which was not contained in the previous code, needed to be included in the Code of Ethics. The world of football is not immune to conduct that aims to tarnish the reputations of others, and such conduct, like any other unethical conduct mentioned in the Code of Ethics, must be sanctioned accordingly. The article concerning defamation is not only there to protect FIFA, but also to protect any other person covered by the code who may be subjected to discriminatory or defamatory statements in the context of FIFA events.

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Article
14 August 2018

Keep bribes quiet for 10 years, FIFA won’t punish you

Author: ABC News (USA)

Soccer officials and players will find the word "corruption" missing from the latest version of the code of ethics governing their conduct...It will be now be even easier for FIFA to banish critics...A new offence has been introduced in the ethics code — defamation. There are no specific examples, providing flexibility for the ethics committee to decide on the burden of proof..."Persons bound by this code are forbidden from making any public statements of a defamatory nature towards FIFA and/or towards any other person bound by this code in the context of FIFA events"...the new code states. Those found to have defamed FIFA will be banned from any football-related activities for up to two years and they can be booted out for five years for repeated “serious cases.”

“This will tamp down criticism of all kinds..."former FIFA governance committee member Alexandra Wrage, an expert in anti-bribery compliance, told The Associated Press on Monday...“Defamation requires a false statement and FIFA would have to prove that any criticism was false, but the real value to FIFA is the chilling effect this will have on critics.”

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