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FIFA delays appointing anti-corruption officials, chooses Nsekera as 1st woman executive
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) ' FIFA President Sepp Blatter's anti-corruption drive hit another delay on Tuesday, even as soccer's world governing body appointed the first woman to its inner circle.
FIFA pushed back plans until July to select independent outsiders who will spearhead a new investigations unit. Critics want these officials to probe past allegations of wrongdoing in their new jobs leading prosecution and judging chambers of a revamped ethics court.
However, FIFA said one candidate to chair the judging division declined on Monday for health reasons.
"In view of this, the executive committee decided to hold an extraordinary meeting to designate both chairmen together," FIFA said in a statement.
A previous promise by Blatter to identify officials who took million-dollar kickbacks from World Cup marketing deals in the 1990s has stalled since October.
FIFA's 24-man ruling committee did manage to propose Lydia Nsekera of Burundi as the first female delegate to join their ranks. She would accept an initial one-year tenure before an open election for the dedicated women's post next year.
Swiss industrialist Domenico Scala was suggested by the executive body to chair a new audit committee, which will monitor FIFA's billion-dollar annual spending.
FIFA's 208 member countries must finalize those appointments at their annual Congress on Friday. The congress will not approve leaders of a modernized ethics investigation team, which was hailed by Blatter as a "historic" move in March.
FIFA's existing ethics committee, composed of officials from inside the "football family," suspended seven serving and former members of FIFA's high command in the past 20 months.
Still, it struggled to cope with a spate of allegations of wrongdoing during bidding contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The two-chamber court was requested by an expert panel led by former United Nations investigator Mark Pieth, who was picked by FIFA to advise on improving transparency and anti-corruption measures.
Pieth's 13-member group then submitted its list of candidates for lead roles which Blatter's executive committee was scheduled to present to Congress delegates.
They are expected to be leading figures from politics and civil society.
FIFA said the approved candidates and an updated code of ethics will be announced after its executive committee meets in the first week of July.
Nsekera can join that session in Zurich. She is the only female president of a national soccer federation, and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
She also serves on Pieth's reform advisory panel.
Scala brings years of experience working for Swiss biotech, pharmaceutical and food industry giants including Roche, Nestle and Syngenta.
He is also a member of the Board of Overseers of Tufts University in Boston, FIFA said.
In other decisions, FIFA will apply an insurance policy covering the salaries of players injured on national team duty to the London Olympics, instead of starting with 2014 World Cup qualifiers in September.
Uncertainty over host cities being ready for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil has prompted FIFA and local organizers to prepare match schedules for four to six venues.
FIFA said it will "adapt smoothly to the actual situation in due time, at the latest in mid-November."