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FIFA aims at sexual offences in updated ethics code

FIFA has toughened its disciplinary proceedings for cases of sexual assault or harassment in a revised Code of Ethics that was announced and came into force on Wednesday. 

The code, said the governing body of world football in a press release, is intended “to enhance protection of football integrity.”

It also targets match fixing and clubs that fail to pay transfer fees.

“The changes are aimed at improving the protection of certain parties to proceedings before FIFA’s judicial bodies, while providing FIFA with further instruments against illegal, immoral or unethical methods and practices,” said the release.  

The revised code removes the 10-year limitation period on prosecuting sexual offences.

The changes make the possible victims “parties to the relevant proceedings, who enjoy all procedural rights, such as that of being notified of the relevant decision and being entitled to appeal it.”

The code also obliges “member associations and confederations to notify FIFA of any decisions rendered on sexual abuse and match-fixing.”

A series of sexual assault scandals in recent years, notably in Gabon, Haiti, the United States and Afghanistan, forced FIFA into disciplinary proceedings, particularly in cases where the local authorities refused to act.

FIFA said it would appoint an independent integrity expert to investigate match fixing and coordinate with the public authorities in assessing potential offences, and  propose “appropriate disciplinary measures”.  

FIFA said it was extending transfer bans on debtor clubs that do not comply with decisions by its Football Tribunal and could charge 18% interest on unpaid debts.  

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