Asuncion: South America`s soccer confederation, CONMEBOL, announced a raft of reforms on Wednesday designed to root out corruption and clean up the organisation`s image after the biggest graft scandal to hit the world`s favourite sport.
Former CONMEBOL presidents Nicolas Leoz and Eugenio Figueredo face U.S. extradition orders after they and other former or current officials of governing body FIFA and sports media and marketing executives were charged in New York in May with bribery and corruption.
In a four-page document, CONMEBOL`s Director General Gorka Villar said all commercial ties with bodies linked to criminal activities would be reviewed and that contracts would not be made with individuals facing legal charges, among other changes.
CONMEBOL`s audited accounts and the salaries of the confederation`s president and executive committee members will be posted on the body`s website, the statement said.
The reforms were approved by directors last weekend at a meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, where FIFA gathered for the qualifying draw for the 2018 World Cup finals to be hosted by Russia.
The U.S. Department of Justice allegations included one that three Argentine businessmen formed a company that entered into a $317.5 million contract with CONMEBOL to obtain exclusive worldwide commercial rights to the 2015, 2019 and 2023 Copa America tournaments, as well as a centenary cup next year.
Bribes of up to $110 million were promised to CONMEBOL officials, of which $40 million have already been paid, according to the U.S. indictment.
For years, CONMEBOL`s sprawling headquarters outside the Paraguay capital, Asuncion, enjoyed legal immunity.
Paraguayan lawmakers last month stripped the confederation of its legal privilege as soccer fans across the continent digested the vast amounts of cash that U.S. justice officials said were involved in a criminal enterprise that spanned the Americas.