#NewFIFANow calls for integrity commission with amnesty period
July 27, 2016
FIFA should establish the equivalent of a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ overseen by an independent commissioner to help instill trust and confidence in world football.
#NewFIFANow co-founder, Damian Collins, says this should be extended to all areas of FIFA’s operations.
“Will FIFA allow its current and former employees to share information they have regarding allegations of corruption with independent investigators?
“Our view is that there is the potential for many more instances where people may be aware of something that is wrong, but they are too scared to speak out because of the potential ramifications for them.
“We saw it with the way FIFA singled out two women whistleblowers in the Eckert summary report – the first people from inside the game to come forward in a public way – and we continue to see it.”
Two senior managers within FIFA, Christoph Schmidt and Severin Podolak, recently had their employment terminated reportedly because of making what was supposed to be confidential contact with the independent FIFA Ethics Committee.
“I am also aware of other former FIFA staff who have been forced out of the organisation because they have raised concerns either internally or directly with authorities.
“That is not the response of an organisation that appears intent on reform. It sounds more like an organisation that intends to continue to ‘circle the wagons’ on its way of doing business.”
Mr Collins said that, in addition to FIFA staff, there are many others involved in the football community worldwide who are also keen to speak out.
“Prince Ali and others have said it previously: FIFA’s culture of silence and intimidation does nothing to encourage people to tell the truth.
“There are 211 football associations, six confederations, many thousands of people involved in the game at an administrative level and even more at a playing level.
“What we know so far about what has gone on within the football world is not simply confined to a few handfuls of people in Zurich, Port of Spain, Miami and Asuncion.”
#NewFIFANow believes that an integrity commission should be led by someone independent of FIFA, with an amnesty period to encourage people to come forward.
“This would help football come to terms with its past and do much to advance the comprehensive reform of the game that is needed,” Mr Collins said.
“An integrity commission need not be only in the area of the way business is conducted – for example, by way of marketing and ticketing arrangements, broadcast deals and development grants – but in some of the other big issues faced by football, such as match-fixing and potentially matters such as doping.”
Mr Collins said that by giving a period of amnesty it would allow those who have been caught up in the Byzantine web of FIFA corruption to ‘come clean’, express regret and help to right the wrongs they have either been part of or been witness to.
“Football fans, players and volunteers deserve to have a world governing body in which they can have trust and confidence.
“If FIFA is committed to reform and rebuilding its reputation and credibility, an independent integrity commission is an important step on the pathway to achieving genuine and lasting cultural change,” Mr Collins said.
Five years ago FIFA offered anonymity and reward to whistleblowers who were aware of match-fixing. A whistleblower hotline still exists for contact with the FIFA Ethics Committee but its confidentiality is not guaranteed and its scope is limited.