FIFA approves ethics reform, delays other changes
FIFA, stung by a string of corruption cases, approved plans to give its ethics committee more bite on Friday although further reforms suggested by a independent governance expert were put on hold.
FIFA's executive approved plans to split the ethics committee, which looks into wrongdoing by officials, into separate divisions with one to investigate cases and one to judge them.
It also gave the thumbs-up to a proposal that candidates for certain positions within FIFA should be vetted.
However, FIFA said in a statement that other issues would be "further discussed according to the road map", possibly after this year's annual Congress in Budapest in May.
These included the composition of the executive committee, the extra representation given to British associations and the controversial bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
A decision on limiting the president's mandate to two four-year terms and the same for executive committee members will also have to wait.
Blatter hailed the two approved measures, which will be put to the FIFA Congress to be rubber-stamped, as "an historic day for FIFA's reform process".
"I can say that the executive committee unanimously agreed to this new approach in our efforts for more transparency, integrity and also how to fight against all the devils which are in our society, and also touches our games," he added.
Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International said the moves did not go far enough.
"FIFA... failed to push forward a comprehensive governance reform process today and send a strong signal they are committed to change," said the Berlin-based organisation in a statement.
"It delayed by a year the introduction of many of the recommendations put forward by its Independent Governance Committee, most of which had been outlined last year."
"We are disappointed. We had expected a more comprehensive introduction of new procedures," said Sylvia Schenk, Transparency's senior advisor for sport.
"Too much is still unclear and key issues, such as investigations into the past allegations of corruption, have not been properly addressed. It has already been nearly 10 months since FIFA promised to clean the house."
Blatter said reform of the ethics committee was one of the main points made by Mark Pieth, a professor from the Swiss-based Institute of Governance who heads a 13-member panel created last year to oversee changes in the way Swiss-based FIFA is run.
Pieth's report was strongly critical of how FIFA has handled past corruption cases, including former presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam being banned for life and two executive committee members being punished in cash for votes scandals.
"Clearly, the existing procedures are insufficient to meet the challenges of a major global sport governing body. This has led to unsatisfactory reactions to persistent allegations," the report said.
"In some instances, allegations were insufficiently investigated and where sanctions were imposed, they are at times insufficient and clearly unconvincing.
The report added: "It is fundamental that nominees for senior FIFA positions are vetted by an independent nominations committee, to be put in place as soon as possible, in order to ensure that candidates for the next elections fulfill the necessary substantive criteria and ethical requirements and that the selection process is fair and transparent."
Pieth also said FIFA needs to urgently streamline its procedures on the hosting of competitions, on marketing decisions and the way money is distributed for FIFA's development programmes.
"All requests for development funds and the relating decisions should be properly documented. The use of funds should be tightly controlled and publicly disclosed," the report said.