FIFA, please explain
May 10, 2017
FIFA needs to provide a satisfactory explanation for the ousting of key officials from regulatory-style committees, according to campaign group #NewFIFANow.
The chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of five FIFA committees were recommended for change by the FIFA Council at their meeting in Bahrain on Tuesday for ratification by the FIFA Congress later in the week. The committees are the Appeal, Audit and Compliance, Disciplinary and Governance committees, and the two chambers of the Ethics committee.
“It is unclear why these twelve individuals have changed over all at once,” said #NewFIFANow co-founder Jaimie Fuller.
“The concern is that it is a purge for reasons of self-interest from the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.”
Mr Fuller said #NewFIFANow was not questioning the background and credentials of the new appointees.
“The fact is, however, that the existing holders of the positions have built-up expertise and knowledge which are now lost across five committees at the same time.
“When it comes to the ethics committee, we are the first to acknowledge that both men have made mistakes previously. But that is now more than two years ago and they have since shown themselves to be more rigorous.”
The outgoing investigatory chairman, Cornel Borbely, accepted the claim of the Russia 2018 bid team that they had ‘thrown out’ their computers when questioned. The outgoing adjudicatory chairman, Judge Eckert, delivered a summary report of a 21-month investigation by Michael J Garcia that resulted in Garcia’s resignation, and all-but-named two women whistleblowers who had been promised confidentiality.
Since the May 2015 arrests, Borbely and Eckert have banned the likes of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, former UEFA President Michel Platini and former FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke.
“Are these sackings payback for Blatter and Platini?”
Mr Fuller also dismissed FIFA sources that suggested the changes were due to budget overruns.
“The last thing FIFA should be worried about when it comes to ethics is a budget overrun.
“If there were not so many people and issues to investigate, there wouldn’t be overruns!” Mr Fuller said.
“If the budget is reduced, then that means the investigations will be also. This is not a move that gives anyone any confidence in FIFA administration.”
Mr Fuller also dismissed the suggestion that this is a necessary changeover because of time-served by the incumbents.
“If that’s the case, a better risk mitigation factor would be to transition progressively, not twelve key officials all at once.”
Mr Fuller said none of the measures recommended by the FIFA Council help build trust and confidence in FIFA.
“The decisions of the Council and so many actions of Mr Infantino’s administration are no more trustworthy than his predecessors.”
Check-out our Scorecard of Gianni Infantino’s first 12 months in office