18th May 2017

Flight from FIFA sees two more protest resignations from governance roles

The self-inflicted damage of FIFA’s botched judicial clean sweep has been exacerbated by the resignations of two more members of the governance committeeBritain’s Ron Popper and South African Navi Pillay are the two latest departures of respected human rights specialists confirmed by the world football federation in the wake of last week’s congress.

It is understood their resignations were sparked by the removal, at the instigation of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, of highly-respected Miguel Maduro after only eight months at the head of the commission. Maduro is a former Advocate General of the European Court of Justice who has complained that he was placed under heavy interval pressure over decisions which went down badly with ruling hierarchy in Zurich. One such decision was the refusal to approve the FIFA Council candidacy of Russia’s long-serving Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, another the demand that Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah submnit his own candidacy to a renewed eligibility check.

The first resignation, in the wake of Maduro replacement in an Infantino-inspired clean sweep of the judicial committees, was that of American professor Joseph Weiler. Earlier last week FIFA sacked Ethics Committee chamber chairmen Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely.

Congress, again at Infantino’s instigation, had paved the way last year for the clear-out by removing the guarantee of independence for the judicial committees. That prompted the immediate, protest resignation of Swiss businessman Domenico Scala as chairman of the audit and compliance committee.

• This article was originally published on Keir Radnedge’s internet site on 17 May. To access the original, please click here.

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